Business & Economy
New Study on Impediments to Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Cynthia Magnuson   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:24

New Study Finds Economic and Political Uncertainty Top Impediments to Small-Business Growth

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 22, 2011 — A new study examining impediments to growth in the small-business sector reveals that 72 percent of small-business owners would like to expand by adding employees within the next five years, but various impediments are currently standing in their way.

According to Growth – External Factors, a report prepared by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Foundation, uncertainty and weak sales are the two primary impediments to small-business growth.

“There is no question that small businesses are responsible for a significant portion of the job creation in our economy,” said William J. Dennis, report author and senior fellow at the NFIB Research Foundation. “Their growth and success is often contingent upon a litany of factors beyond their control – but within the purview of policy-makers in Washington. Impediments to growth may not be easily overcome, but if we are ever to bridge the gap between desired and actual growth, government officials must look at the problems small businesses face. Understanding the challenges should help with the formulation of policies that would help them to thrive.”

The study found that business uncertainty and weak sales—identified as the two primary impediments to small-business growth— are currently limiting the ability of many owners to expand. While economic concerns rank high in the minds of owners, a large number of small businesses also report that uncertainty is a significant factor in making business decisions. Not surprisingly, the single most important indicator that would renew small-business owner confidence in business conditions is increased sales in their businesses. This is a fact supported by NFIB’s monthly Small-Business Optimism Index report, which has identified poor sales as the top business concern for small firms for 16 quarters running.

Other notable survey findings include:

  • Uncertainty is a growth impediment impacting 61 percent of small employers; only 25 percent say uncertainty does not impact them. However, owners of the smallest firms and owners of the young firms were more likely to identify uncertainty as a concern than owners of larger small firms and more established firms. And while the majority of small employers who believe that uncertainty is a hurdle think of it as economic in nature (83 percent), a comparatively large number term their uncertainty as related to political questions. An extraordinary 51 percent who think uncertainty is an impediment to growth (38 percent of the small-employer population) blame the current political situation at least in part as obstructing their growth.
  • While the adverse impact of regulation is often challenging to identify, 40 percent of small employers say that regulatory or legal issues are an impediment to growth. The complex labyrinth of regulations as opposed to a specific regulation or set of regulations was more often cited as an obstacle, with 63 percent of this group (31 percent of the population) reporting that a current investment or project was impacted by a regulatory matter. One-quarter of those who find regulations to be a burden either cancelled a project scheduled for the next six months or abandoned investment and/or project plans.
  • Forty-one (41) percent reported the lack of finance as an impediment to growth and 19 percent ranked it a serious matter. Though 15 percent of small employers asserted that the lack of finance was their biggest obstacle to growth, 49 percent termed it a minor or no obstacle. More than half (53 percent) of small firm owners surveyed think that internally generated cash flows will be their most important source of financing desired investment over the next five years. Bank loans will be the second most common source. However, 33 percent of those identifying lack of finance as an impediment to growth say that existing financial obligations are “seriously constraining” their ability to finance desired business investment and another 44 percent say that it is constraining.
  • With the unemployment rate near 10 percent, finding skilled workers is still a struggle for small-businesses. Sixty-one (61) percent of those surveyed (24 percent of the total population) said the lack of skilled employees is an impediment to growth and indicated that they would hire at least one additional employee at the current market wage rate in the next six months if they could find people with appropriate skills. Over 37 percent (9% of the population) would employ more than one.
  • Just 15 percent of small-business owners cite the lack of a strong management or advisory team as an impediment to growth. Of the group currently possessing a management team, 47 percent are highly confident their current team can provide the necessary assistance to reach the firm’s growth objectives in the next five years. Most citing this impediment want to add management employees rather than to change the ones they have.

The latest NFIB Small Business Poll, Growth – External Impediments, is available at


Governor Quinn Encourages Consumers to Support Illinois’ Small Businesses this Holiday Season PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:23

Proclaims November 26 “Small Business Saturday”

CHICAGO – November 22, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed Saturday, Nov. 26 as "Small Business Saturday" in Illinois to encourage shoppers to support the more than 500,000 small businesses in our state. Consumers are encouraged to use the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, between "Black Friday" and “Cyber Monday” – traditionally two of the busiest shopping days of the year – to shop at small businesses around the state.

“Thanksgiving weekend traditionally serves as the kick-off for the holiday shopping season, and we want all Illinois businesses to have a strong showing,” Governor Quinn said. “I encourage people throughout Illinois to use this time to show their support for local merchants that contribute to our local economies, putting people to work and keeping our economy moving forward.”

Small business success is critical to Illinois’ and the nation's overall economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are approximately 28 million small businesses in the United States, which have created 65 percent of new jobs over the past two decades. For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to the 3/50 Project, a small business advocacy group.

“If every Illinois small business was able to create one new job, we'd lower the unemployment rate five points," DCEO Director Warren Ribley said. "'Small Business Saturday' continues our efforts to boost locally-owned businesses throughout Illinois by giving them the tools and support they need to succeed and grow.”

In October, Governor Quinn launched Advantage Illinois, a new program for small businesses to access capital, thanks to more than $78 million from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Advantage Illinois consists of three programs to spur institutional lending to small businesses and one program to leverage private venture capital in start-ups and high-growth businesses. Illinois expects to leverage at least $10 in new private lending for every $1 of federal funding, generating more than $800 million in private investments in Illinois' small businesses.

For more information on the state’s small business resources, visit A copy of the Governor’s proclamation is attached.


Don’t Let Black Friday Deals Leave You in the Dark PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Chris Coleman   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:28
BBB Tips Help You Shop Smart, Online or at the Mall 

These days Black Friday deals seem to be out before the Thanksgiving turkey even gets cold; leaving many consumers overwhelmed with the pressure to buy, buy, buy.  The BBB recommends you do your research before shopping to ensure advertised deals are all they’re cracked up to be.

“Some Black Friday deals may look good on the surface, but quantities may be extremely limited or the size of the discount greatly exaggerated.  Check prices at several retailers and read advertisements carefully to make an educated decision on whether it’s worthwhile to stand in line or miss a good night’s sleep,” said Chris Coleman, BBB President/CEO. Shopping online can be a way to avoid crowded stores, but shoppers need to use extra caution when shopping on the web.

Whether you choose to buy online or at the store, be sure to:


  • ·  Protect your personal information. Stick to well known and trusted websites. When shopping at stores, keep your card out of sight and safe.
  • ·  If the site is secure, its address should start with https://. You also may see a picture of a small closed lock in address bar.
  • ·  Know the company’s refund and return policies. Are there restocking fees? Do you have to pay shipping costs on returns?
  • ·  Do not rely on pictures of a product. Read the description and check model numbers, if applicable.
  • ·  Be cautious of free offers. Free offers are often followed by an open-ended enrollment in a program that automatically bills your credit card account. Before ordering anything online, make sure you click on and read all terms and conditions.
  • ·  Pay with a credit card rather than a debit card. If you suspect fraud or don’t receive your order, credit cards afford the best protection in the event of a dispute.
  • ·  Obtain a tracking number for all shipments.
  • ·  Print out the orders and keep receipts.
  • ·  Be aware of phishing. Don’t respond to emails that ask for your credit card or bank account number or other personal information. Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming there is a problem with an order or account.  Call the company or find the customer service form on the company website to confirm any problem.
Check a company’s BBB Business Review before you do business with a company or charity by going to or by calling 800-222-1600. For more advice you can trust from your BBB, visit

Braley to Discuss Vets Hiring Tax Credit in Cedar Rapids PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:25

For months, Braley has pushed veterans hiring tax credit; bill sitting on President Obama’s desk


Washington, DC – This morning, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will hold an event at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Cedar Rapids to discuss the Wounded Warrior and Returning Heroes tax credits passed by the US House last week.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law as early as this week.

Braley will be joined at the event by veterans and officials with Alliant Energy.

In response to high unemployment rates for veterans, in August, Braley introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, a precursor to the House-passed bill that provides a payroll tax break for businesses who hire a current member of the National Guard or Reserve or any unemployed veteran who has returned from deployment within the last 18 months.

In October, Braley hosted a House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity field hearing in Waterloo to focus on veterans’ unemployment.  Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on that subcommittee.

TODAY, Monday, November 21st, 2011


10:00am in the Lobby of the Veterans Memorial Building, 50 - 2nd  Ave., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Braley Lauds House Passage of Veterans Hiring Tax Credits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 21 November 2011 16:18

For months, Braley has pushed for tax credits for employers hiring veterans; House passes unanimously 


Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) applauded the House passage this afternoon of the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits, which passed the House with a unanimous vote minutes ago.  These provisions would create new tax credit programs to spur the hiring of unemployed veterans and directly help hundreds of Iowa National Guard members who have returned home from overseas deployments. In August, Braley introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, a precursor to the tax credit programs that passed today.

“The best way to thank our veterans and tell them ‘good job’ is to help them find a good job when they return home,” Braley said.  “I’ve been working for months to promote the idea of tax credits for businesses that hire returning veterans, and today’s bipartisan vote shows that this issue has big support on both sides of the aisle.


“The tax credits passed by the House today will boost the hiring of veterans.  Other provisions will improve resources available for vets to translate their military skills into the civilian workforce and provide veterans with new tools to help them search for a job.  Unemployment among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is three times the national average.  The bill passed today will help bring those numbers down.”


Late this summer, 3,500 members of the Iowa National Guard returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.  More than 600 of these men and women reported being out of work when they returned home – equivalent to an unemployment rate of over 17 percent.  Iowa’s unemployment rate in September was 6.0 percent; the national unemployment rate last month was 9.0 percent.

In response to high unemployment rates for veterans, in August, Braley introduced the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, a bill that provides a payroll tax break for businesses who hire a current member of the National Guard or Reserve or any unemployed veteran who has returned from deployment within the last 18 months.

The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits build on Braley’s bill, providing tax credits for employers that hire unemployed veterans and long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.  The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have all endorsed the bill.

Yesterday, Braley released a letter sent to Republican and Democratic House leaders urging them to allow the House to vote on the tax credits immediately.

The bill will now be sent to the President for his signature.

Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

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