Small Business on Governor’s Budget Proposal: Reopen the Economy
The state’s leading small business advocate, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), ranked the governor’s budget proposal a third-place contender to the budgets already released by both the House and Senate. The governor’s Fiscal Year 2022 and 2023 budget recommendations were the subject of a presentation before a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee this morning.
“If the governor is serious about ‘helping small businesses recover from the pandemic’ and ‘economic reengagement that drives everything’, then the most important move she could make is to relax the shutdowns and restrictions and open Michigan’s economy,” said Owens. “Federal and state efforts to assist small business are not practical nor sustainable over the long run. Removing the obstacles for small business will boost our economy sooner and longer than any government program or plan.”
The governor’s budget presentation was delivered against a backdrop of more bad economic news as the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped further below the historical index average in January with a net percent of owners expecting better business conditions falling 55 points in 4 months, the lowest level since November 2013. Owens suggested that these are national numbers and Michigan is likely worse off as one of the few states with the most restrictions and shutdown orders on small business.
“While we are appreciative of any effort to help small businesses struggling from the pandemic, the governor’s proposal, after unrelated projects are subtracted, leaves only $107 million for direct assistance to small business,” said NFIB Michigan State Director, Charlie Owens. “This is in contrast to the House Republican recovery proposal that includes $680.5 million in assistance to businesses and the Senate Republican plan that budgets $339 million in property tax relief and other direct assistance.”
Owens also pointed out that both the House and Senate plans include a transfer of $150 million to reimburse the Unemployment Trust Fund for monies that were lost due to fraud. “Employers should not have to pay additional payroll taxes for benefits paid out that were not related to jobless claims”, said Owens.