Small business owners dissatisfied with Washington leaders

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Small business owners are not pleased with the inaction of the federal government, according to a poll released last week by small business organization American Management Services. The poll was conducted by Suffolk University. Poll results showed that 63 percent of respondents said the federal government is "doing nothing" to help small businesses while 23 percent said it is doing "little." Over three-quarters of those polled, 78 percent, said this summer's economic stimulus checks did nothing to help their business. In addition, 81 percent of small business owners feel the country is in an economic recession. Finally 72 percent believe that the federal government is bailing out Wall Street and big business.

"The results are clear. Our country's 23 million small business owners are disappointed with the lack of action on their behalf. While Wall Street and big businesses get bailed out, small businesses receive no assistance in these difficult times," said George Cloutier, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of American Management Services, a 21-year-old company offering implementation-based profit program and turnaround services to privately held small and mid-sized businesses across the country.

Cloutier is cochairman of Partner America, a public/private partnership between American Management Services and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Cloutier is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. "With rising gas prices and an economy in recession, the poll shows us that it's time the federal government and congressional leadership implement concrete emergency programs to help small businesses. Tens of thousands of small businesses will fail this year due to government inaction. Wall Street firms can borrow billions at 2.28 percent but average small businesses are having their credit cut off. They create 60 percent of the nation's jobs; the small business industry is clearly an economic engine and it's stalling. It's time to get it re-started."

In terms of presidential politics, the poll revealed small business owners favor U.S. Senator John McCain in the upcoming presidential election over Senator Barack Obama by a margin of 38 percent to 21 percent, with 32 percent of the respondents undecided. Nearly half of all respondents, 49 percent, admitted they did not know which major presidential candidate had the best program for small businesses, while substantially more, 80 percent, did not know where McCain and Obama stand on the issue. In terms of vice presidential choices, respondents from both sides of the aisle favored candidates with strong economic backgrounds, with Sen. Hillary Clinton receiving 49 percent of support from Democrats and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney receiving 43 percent of support from Republicans.

Poll results showed that 81 percent percent of respondents said the country is in an economic recession. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the credit crunch has directly affected their small business. Exactly half believe the economy will worsen.

The study showed 72 percent of those surveyed believe the federal government bails out Wall Street and big business. Nine of out ten small business owners sampled did not participate in national small business week.

Additional poll results revealed 49 percent of respondents feel gas and energy costs are the most pressing business issue facing small businesses today. The poll also found that labor costs and inflation are the other leading concerns, not healthcare as had been the conventional wisdom. Also 77 percent of respondents believe the U.S. should open up the restricted oil reserves in "Alaska and off-shore in Florida and California."

Of the 400 people who took part in the poll, 33 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 22 percent as Democrats and 37 percent as Independents.

The Suffolk University poll was conducted from June 23 to July 3, 2008. The margin of error is +/- 4.90% at a 95% level of confidence. The 400 small business owners were drawn from a nationally-recognized data base and included small business owners from across the country, per Department of Commerce/Census Regional and Gender Quotas.

Suffolk University has released marginals, charts, and pages of cross-tabulation data on its Web site. For more information, please contact Suffolk adjunct professor David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

About American Management Services, Inc.

American Management Services is a provider of complete turnaround services to small and mid-sized businesses. Founded in 1986 by George Cloutier, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, American Management has worked directly with more than 6,000 business owners across 400 industries to implement the changes necessary to achieve profitability. American Management Services has helped turn around hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses. American Management Services is a founding and active member of Partner America, a public/private partnership created in 2001 with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. American Management Services has offices in Orlando and Palm Beach, FL, Boston, MA, and Washington D.C.

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