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WIPP Releases 2009 Member Survey - "What Business Women Want" & Shares Results with Key Policymakers

Monday, April 20, 2009  
Posted by: Oriana Camacho
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Yearly, WIPP surveys its membership to gain insight to their priorities and identify key economic issues affecting them. The survey provides guidance on the important policy issues relative to their businesses, and insights into the current economic environment that should be addressed by Congress and the Administration.
Legislative and regulatory changes that support a small business friendly tax code, secure retirement savings and provide access to capital are at the top of the policy issues identified in the survey. The top seven issues ranked by survey participants are: the economy, taxes on small businesses, healthcare, access to capital, energy, procurement and telecommunications.
Not surprisingly, concerns about the economy lead as the top issue on the forefront of business owners' concerns. Thirty-two percent of participants expect to see a reduction in their company’s revenues and 18% expect to have additional layoffs. On a more optimistic note 72% of respondents do not anticipate downsizing their company as result of the current economic situation. 46% expect their revenues to increase in 2009, a reduction from 67% in 2008.
Two key components of economic concern are tax reform and retirement security. When asked what effect the business tax measures included in the recently passed economic stimulus bill would have on them, 60% believe they will have little to no effect on profitability in 2009. Tax code revisions treating business deductions and credits equally regardless of legal structure are once again supported by almost half of the respondents, consistent with 2008 results. Choosing between reducing the federal deficit and additional tax breaks resulted in a split (36%; 40%) result.
In one of the most striking results, 85% of those surveyed indicate their retirement’s security is of great concern. Two-thirds believe tax credits could stimulate retirement savings, with over half supporting tax incentives to encourage small business owners to secure retirement through annuities. In a significant shift from past surveys, only 47% of respondents support Congressional changes to the social security system a dramatic drop from the 79% in 2008.
Healthcare remains high on the list of important issues on the survey with over 72% indicating they believe comprehensive healthcare reform is necessary. Pooling of small businesses for health insurance purposes, through establishment of a National health exchange is strongly supported (70%) by small business owners. Once again tax credits for small businesses providing health insurance is endorsed by 64% of respondents.

Other policy initiatives mentioned by WIPP members are the adoption of a standards-based electronic health information system, although fully half of surveyed have privacy concerns with such a system. Despite the economic challenges faced by small business owners over two-thirds (60%, 65%; 64%) offer their employees healthcare coverage. In another positive indicator 49% of those surveyed continue to seek outside capital and financing to grow their businesses, principally through bank financing backed by home equity loans, credit cards and family and friends. SBA loans (15%), angel investors (10%) and SBA the Micro loan program (6%) account for a very small percentage of capital needs of survey respondents. Congressional action to provide tax incentives to stimulate private equity financing was strongly supported by 65%.
Issues related to opportunities through federal procurement contracts indicated no movement in the percentage of federal contactors among women small business owners, despite 46% registering on the CCR. On a long standing WIPP policy priority, the women owned procurement rule, 60% would like to see Congress rewrite the rule to strengthen the program and avoid the pitfalls in the rule promulgated by the Bush Administration.

Once again, we thank ALLPoints Research, Inc. and WIPP National Partners Tara Olson and Sherrie Aycock  for the study design and analysis support. 

Click here to read WIPP's 2009 Member Survey "What Business Women Want"

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