The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) announced the launch of its national “Vote for Main Street” campaign on Tuesday, which is designed to promote the legislative priorities of small businesses during the 2014 elections.
Through a combination of paid media, voter education and grassroots mobilization efforts, the campaign will seek to secure specific commitments from candidates to support “five common-sense solutions that will help small businesses thrive and create more jobs,” according to a press release put out by the NFIB.
NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner said, “The NFIB’s 350,000 members are experiencing a crisis in confidence with their elected representatives in Washington.” In a conference call on Tuesday morning, he told reporters that members are “sick of hearing candidates say they are in favor of small business, but then do nothing to support them.” (RELATED: Study: Small Business Optimism Falls)
Among the solutions the group proposes, all of which are based on bills that have been proposed in Congress, are curbing EPA overreach, repealing Obamacare’s health insurance tax and passing a balanced budget amendment.
In addition, candidates are asked to support a requirement that the federal government “certify that Obamacare is not having a negative economic impact on small businesses,” and to restore the definition of a full-time workweek to 40 hours, instead of 30 hours.
During a conference call with reporters, two NFIB members discussed how EPA regulations and Obamacare have negatively affected their businesses, and argued that the solutions advanced by the Vote for Main Street campaign would not only benefit small businesses, but also the overall economy.
Claudia Kovach, vice president of City Machine Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio, claimed EPA regulations are forcing coal-fired power plants to shut down. Manufacturers, she said, “live and die by cheap energy; and when regulations go up, costs also go up.” She added that businesses care about the health and safety of their employees, and by extension, “we care about clean water and clean air, too.” (RELATED: McConnell to Force Showdown on EPA Anti-Coal Regulations)
Zach Hoffman, president and co-owner of Wiley Office Furniture in Springfield, Illinois, said his company’s main priority is eliminating provisions of Obamacare that raise the cost of health insurance for small businesses. For decades, his company has been “providing a gold-level plan for our employees, and would like to maintain that plan going forward.” Unfortunately, that plan is not Obamacare-compliant, and switching to a plan that is compliant, “would mean well over a 70% increase [in cost], which is unsustainable.” (RELATED: Report: Two-Thirds of Small Business Employees to See Obamacare Premium Hikes)
Danner said the proposals highlighted by the Vote for Main Street campaign are critical to small business owners, and “candidates who cannot align themselves with these commonsense and bipartisan policies should not expect to receive Main Street America’s vote this November.”
Danner expects that candidates will take notice of the campaign, because “small businesses are listened to; they have credibility, and their opinion matters.” Also significant, he said, is the fact that “our members vote at a much higher level than the population as a whole,” with about 84 percent casting ballots regularly.
So far, the NFIB has issued endorsements in five Senate races, and is looking seriously at a number of others.
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