NSBA Releases Year-End Economic Report

SBAM’s national affiliate the National Small Business Association (NSBA) released its 2009 survey of small businesses last week.  Not surprisingly, economic uncertainty remains a key concern for small business owners across the country.

Highlights of the report yield some of the following results:

  • 64 percent reported a decrease in revenues (the highest since 1993).
  • 39 percent indicate that they are unable to get adequate financing for their business.
  • While 12 percent increased the number of employees during the year, 44 percent saw a decrease in the number of employees.
  • 52 percent expect growth opportunities in the coming year.
  • 24 percent expect to hire more employees, while 18 percent expect a decrease in their number of employees.

To access the full report please click here.

Election 2010

The shake-up on the Democratic side of who will run for governor this year has continued throughout the month.  Recall earlier this month, the presumed front runner for the Democratic nomination, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, decided not to run this year.

That created a whirlwind of activity and rumors regarding potential candidates that would run for governor.

State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith remains the only announced candidate for the nomination.

Two others who announced have since withdrawn.  State Senator Hansen Clarke declared as a candidate and then eleven days later withdrew.  Former State Representative John Freeman who was an announced candidate also withdrew. 

House Speaker Andy Dillon and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero formed exploratory committees and are both likely to get into the race.

Congressman Bart Stupak, who had been considering entering the race decided to remain in Congress.  Joe Dumars decided to end the rumors circulating about him and reported that he would not be running.

There are still at least three others who are considering entering the race.  Denise Ilitch, a business executive involved with the Ilitch family holdings (Little Ceasars, the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings,) is still mulling over the decision.

Dan Kildee, the nephew of Congressman Dale Kildee and a former Genesee County Treasurer, is weighing his options.

One other potential candidate has surfaced this month..  Bob Bowman, who served as State Treasurer under former Gov. Blanchard in the 1980s, and is now a successful business executive with Major League Baseball’s, is also considering getting into the race.

We would expect that the potential candidates will announce their intentions in the next month, so we will keep you posted.

State Senate Begins Hearings on Reform Proposals

SBAM came out in support of the first installment of the State Senate’s $2 billion in government reforms.  The bills (SB 1072) would amend the binding arbitration procedures for police and firefighters, and SBs 1085 and 1086 would ease the process for local governments to merge and consolidate local services.

The estimated savings from these measures is somewhere between $70 million and $118 million per year.  Both items are part of the list of reforms that our coalition of business groups has been discussing with legislators over the past few weeks.

Concerns were brought up from municipal officials that the bills still needed more work to provide more savings.  The committee intends to meet again next week to vote on the bills.

(Audio) Federal Health Insurance Reform Update on SBAM's Small Business Champion Podcast

In this week’s Small Business Champion podcast, Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s health insurance expert Scott Lyon about President Obama’s state of the union address and the near-term prospects for federal health insurance reform.


Like this podcast? Share it with your friends and colleagues by using the social media links at the bottom of this story. And get engaged in the health insurance reform discussion in our member forum!


Exclusive New Feature of SBAM Web Site: Columns From One of the Nation’s Leading Small Business Experts

SBAM is offering its members an informative and helpful weekly column by Steven D. Strauss, often called “the country’s leading small business expert.” A new column can be found every Thursday.

Columns are only available for view by members of SBAM. Membership information is available here.

Strauss is a lawyer, author, and USA TODAY columnist. His latest book is the Small Business Bible. Steven is also a speaker in high demand who has spoken around the world about entrepreneurship, including at the United Nations. He has been seen on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, The O’Reilly Factor, and many other shows. His Web site is, where you can also read his blog, Business as UNusual.

Recent Strauss columns have covered Top 10 Trends in Small Business in 2010, Running A Family Business Is Tricky, But You Can Do It; Low-ball Your Employees, And You Do The Same To Customers; Diligence Pays When Looking for New Workers, Don't Let Customer Disservice Creep Into Your Daily Routine, and Expansion: Nice And Easy, That's The Way To Do It.


We encourage you to share this news with your friends and business colleagues! See the email and social networking sharing tools below.



Legislators Brief Legislative Action Council

Last week at our quarterly Legislative Action Council (LAC) meeting, the members of the committee were provided a legislative update by two Grand Rapids area lawmakers.

SBAM was pleased to have two special guests attend our LAC meeting for January.  State Representatives Roy Schmidt (D-Grand Rapids) and Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) met with the members of the committee for about 45 minutes. 

Each provided a brief preview of the important issues that will be facing the legislature in the upcoming year.  They each agreed that dealing with the state’s budget will again be an important issue in the coming year.  Both also discussed the need for structural reforms in government operations to make Michigan a more business friendly state.

The topic of tax reform and repealing the MBT surcharge was also part of the discussion.

After their presentations, they answered questions from committee members.  It was a very productive session that gave our members a preview of the legislative issues that will make up the majority of this year’s legislative agenda.

SBAM extends our thanks to both Representative Schmidt and Hildenbrand.

The LAC is the committee that discusses and debates the legislative issues that SBAM takes positions on.  Their recommendations then go to the SBAM’s Board of Directors for approval.

Senate Republicans Announce Reform Agenda

Earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and the Senate Republican caucus announced a package of government reform bills that could result in potential savings of more than $2 billion.

Senator Bishop called 2010 the “Year of Reform”.  We at SBAM welcome the package.  This fits in with what we have been working to achieve for most of the past 6 months.  The Senate’s reform package encompasses many of the reforms that we have been calling for.

The state faces a $1.8 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year.  Passage of these reforms will help achieve our goals of reforming government and passing a budget that does not include tax hikes.

The 10 Senate Republican initiatives cover six key reform areas for an estimated total savings of $2.24-2.6 billion:
  • Public employee health care ($615 million in savings);
  • Local police and fire ($70-118 million); 
  • K-12 school spending ($363-663 million); 
  • Medicaid spending ($160-500 million); 
  • Government efficiency (indeterminate); and 
  • Public employee compensation ($1.2 billion).
SBAM looks forward to working with both the House and Senate to see these proposals become law.