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Survey shows small businesses don’t support repealing Right to Work, reinstating prevailing wage laws

February 7, 2023

86% of small business owners believe all forms of retirement income should be treated equally

LANSING – As small businesses continue to deal with inflation, a talent shortage and supply chain issues, they made it clear they don’t support reinstating policies that would make it even harder to do business, according to a new survey by the Small Business Association of Michigan.

“Michigan’s small businesses are still facing challenges as they continue to invest and grow in Michigan,” said SBAM President and CEO Brian Calley. “Small businesses made it clear that they do not support returning to policies that served Michigan so poorly in the past.”

Key takeaways from the survey were that more than 74% of survey respondents oppose repealing Michigan’s Right to Work laws and 64% oppose reinstating prevailing wage laws in the state. Notably, 86% of respondents believe that all retirement income should be treated equally. Eighty-two percent also support exempting a portion of the sale from a business from income taxes to create some parity with more traditional retirement assets. Additionally, 50% of respondents support increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low to moderate income workers.

The survey, conducted Jan. 18-27, 2023 of nearly 500 small business owners also revealed that:

  • 67% of small business owners are having a harder time attracting and maintaining employees than in the previous year.
  • 77% of small businesses say employee compensation has increased in the past year.
  • 40% of small businesses have experienced health care costs increasing more than 10% over the past year.
  • 70% of small business owners say that supply chain shortages are still having a negative impact on their operations.
  • 91% of small businesses say they are experiencing higher cost increases compared to normal times.
  • 65% of respondents said that inflation remained the top problem hurting their business. 

As a result of this survey, SBAM released a proposed changes to Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 4001 to establish exemptions for the private sector that include the middle class. The proposal called for:

  • Increasing exemptions to $65,000 and $130,000 for single and joint filers respectively to encompass the middle class. Index the amounts to inflation (consumer price index).
  • Expanding eligibility of the exemption to seniors who remain in the workforce.
  • Allowing working seniors to start claiming this exemption upon attainment of the age of 59.5 which is the age that typical private sector retirement accounts are eligible for withdrawal without penalty.   

The full survey and details on the middle class and working senior retiree exemption amendment are available at

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