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Survey Says…

December 18, 2023

Every quarter we come to you, our membership, to see what is keeping you up at night. With new legislative priorities forming over the summer, it’s imperative to get your feedback so we can effectively communicate your realities to sitting legislators and the governor in Lansing.

Michigan’s small businesses a0lready facing continually rising costs and a major talent shortage have a new threat to contend with: mandatory paid family leave up to four months per year for all employees—a mandate that could decimate thousands of small businesses. Paid family leave policies, while good in theory, are not viable for businesses that employ a very small number of people. Those small employers are very worried about the financial and operational implications of the bills percolating in Lansing, according to our recent survey results.

More than 80 percent of survey respondents reported they cannot support a proposal to mandate paid leave of up to 15 weeks per year for all employees through a new tax. Seventy percent of those respondents said if enacted, this paid leave policy would be extremely detrimental to their operations, with 20 percent indicating somewhat detrimental. Seventy-five percent of
respondents indicated they already voluntarily offer some paid leave for their employees.

These results point directly to one of our core policy principles at SBAM—we are in complete opposition to government getting between the employer and employee relationship because it in no way leads to positive results for the small business climate.

The survey conducted September 13-18, of nearly 500 small businesses, also revealed that 77 percent oppose proposed bills in Lansing to increase the weekly cash benefit for unemployment benefits and 80 percent oppose increasing the duration of unemployment, from five months to six.

In terms of other policy priorities, surveyed members were asked: What areas should state government prioritize to make Michigan a better place to operate a small business? The number one answer was tied between lowering taxes and improving the
educational system.

We hear you loud and clear. These policies don’t set the stage for growth—they inhibit it and create obstacles. Your SBAM
Advocacy Team will continue to share these sentiments with legislators in Lansing on your behalf as we seek to partner in ways
that puts Michigan’s small business climate on a path to success.

By Kelli Saunders, originally published in SBAM’s November/December 2023 issue of Focus magazine


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