Archived: Get Serious About Small Business


It seems that every election year, several key phrases start to emanate from the Capitol—”small business” and “job creation”. A note to press secretaries and communications directors everywhere: just because a press release claims that a particular legislator is “small business” friendly or favors “job creation”, doesn’t make it so.

It’s time for our state leaders to get serious about small business and pay attention to what job creators genuinely need from Sacramento.

First, legislators must ask themselves, “Who is responsible for creating jobs?” The answer should be obvious when you learn that small business creates approximately three quarters of all new jobs. They also create 14 times more patents per employee than large businesses and include more than 98 percent of business establishments.

Recently, the Assembly Democrats released a Jobs Budget proposal that allots 90 percent of a one-year $10.1 billion in Wall Street borrowing to backfill government coffers for education and other services. That leaves $1.1 billion in one-time money for the very businesses responsible for job creation and economic vitality. Can anyone explain how exactly this helps small business? The private sector employs more than 80 percent of working Californians while government employs about 18 percent. A true “jobs budget” would align any funds in such a manner.

So what direction would be helpful for the millions of struggling small businesses in California?

Regulatory reform would have to be first on the list of small business owners. Contrary to popular belief, small business owners want clean air, clean water, and a beautiful California for their children as much as anyone else. Knowing the true costs and benefits of a new regulation and having an independent review allows the mutual goals of protecting the environment and creating jobs to be met.

Next, a long-term strategy for economic development is critical. California needs a focused effort on economic development and job creation. Governor Schwarzenegger took the first step with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GoED), and we strongly encourage the Legislature to take the next important step and make it permanent.

Finally, meal and rest period and overtime reform has got to be a priority.   Many labor laws restrict the ability of small business owners to meet the changing needs of their business, and some of those laws create a confusing situation ripe for lawsuits and penalties that are unnecessary and kill jobs. Flexibility is not a four-letter word as some special interest groups contend.

It is time for legislators to put their money where their mouth is and stand up and be counted as true supporters of small business. Small businesses need help NOW with real change that frees these job creators to lead California out this recession. Green, blue, and white-collar jobs will all play a part in our economic growth and success, but it is small business that leads the way to making California whole.

John Kabateck is with the California branch of NFIB, a small business association that represents members in Washington, D.C. and all 50 states. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at

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