Issue #10 JANUARY 2009

The Top 9 from

The economy remains the principal topic of interest for small business owners.  Credit is one topic of concern.  Small business credit demand is down due to lack of investment opportunities and deteriorating balance sheets.  Complaints about banks refusing to lend to presumably credit-worthy customers have also appeared.  The chart below, drawn from the Foundation’s Small Business Economic Trends, presents an historical perspective on the relative difficulty small business owners have obtaining credit.

Availability of Loans Compared to Three Months Ago (Regular Borrowers Only)
Net Percent (“Easier” Minus “Harder”)
January 1974 to December 2008

The so-called stimulus bill, winding its way through Congress, contains virtually nothing to help small business directly.  The major exception is an increase in the expensing limit to $250,000.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates $40 million of lost revenue from the expensing increase in a bill that contains $300 to $400 billion in tax cuts (depending on the day).  Smaller firms theoretically could also benefit from other business tax cuts, but few small businesses can benefit from a 5-year loss carry-back, etc.  Many owners will benefit as individuals under the bill, such as from another extension of the so-called AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) patch without which up to 34 million taxpayers would pay penalties for taking (being eligible for) excessive exemptions and deductions (in the Senate version).

Health care is another small business interest.  Two recently pieces of Foundation generated research have been posted on the NFIB Web site (, Small Business Effects of a National Employer Healthcare Mandate by Michael Chow and Bruce Phillips of the Foundation staff and The Case Against Employer-Provided Employee Health Insurance:  A Practical Small Business Perspective.  Within two to three weeks another two pieces of Foundation generated health-oriented research will also be posted, including Rising Costs for Health Care:   Implications for Public Policy by Lou Rossiter from the Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy at William and Mary, and Health Insurance Reform in an Experimental Market by Stephen Rassenti of Chapman University and Carl Johnston of George Mason University.    


The NFIB Research Foundation

The TOP 9 Questions for January 2009
9. LOCATIONS – Not counting work sites, such as a construction site, how many small businesses have multiple locations and how many do they have?  (Vol. 4, Iss. 7, Q#6.)