Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges spoke with the National Federation of Independent Business President and CEO Dan Danner about the organization with 350,000 members across the U.S. and 8,000 members in the state. Danners edited comments are below.
What should small business owners know about the NFIB?
The mission of the NFIB is to promote and protect the rights of members to own and operate their business. Its primarily an organization that addresses policies in the states and in Washington that have an impact on starting and expanding a business.
We are member driven. Unlike a lot of big organizations, we take votes and poll our members on issues.
What are NFIBs top priorities?
Health care has been a priority for probably 25 years. Small business owners are concerned about where to buy it and how to afford it. Taxes are always a big issue, and probably the third is regulations. There is data that indicates that regulations have a disproportionate impact on small businesses. A lot of regulations seem to be written with large corporations in mind and without a lot of thought as to how it will work for a company with four or five employees.
There are also issues that come and go. At the moment, they are just starting the immigration debate is starting, and that is a significant issue for many a lot of small businesses. Probably the second one is the internet sales tax issue, which is also at the starting line.
What are you doing in Washington to address concerns that taxes are more favorable to big corporations than small businesses?
There has been a debate about overall tax reform in Washington and how to handle it. Our biggest concern in that debate would be rates versus different kinds of tax deductions.
During this past election, small business owners were often mentioned as politicians made campaign promises that would make it easier for them to do business.
However, there have not been a lot of changes in Washington yet. The places where changes have been more helpful to small businesses are in the states.
How can small business owners be better at expressing their concerns about state and national issues?
Be willing to express their concerns. Organizations such as NFIB give small-business owners the opportunity and platform to do that. Owners can be overwhelmed at the state level, but in Washington, they dont know how to tell their story. Small business owners should group together and find an organization that can provide the opportunity and platform to express their concerns.
What else should small business owners know?
We want to encourage small business owners to get involved. Owners often think that they dont matter because they are just one, but together they can make a loud noise. Join up with others. Theres great power in numbers and people do care about Main Street America. Get involved, speak out, join others and help change the environment for small businesses.