Connecticut small businesses want more consistency and predictability from state lawmakers according to a new survey released today.

CBIA’s 2016 Survey of Connecticut Small Businesses shows widespread concerns over threats to profitability and growth, with over 40% listing state government regulations, mandates, taxes, and costs as major issues.

2016 Survey of Connecticut Small Businesses
Source: 2016 Survey of Connecticut Small Businesses

Nine out of 10 surveyed companies said state government policies do not help Connecticut small businesses.

And 69% said they were not confident Connecticut state lawmakers would act consistently and predictably on legislation affecting businesses over the next three to five years.

Connecticut small businesses are trying to positively influence policy at both the state and federal levels.

Almost two-thirds (64%) report that over the past year they or their employees communicated to state lawmakers regarding their business challenges or needs.

Though they primarily correspond with their legislators by email, more than 25% had a one-on-one meeting with a lawmaker.

Business owners and their employees also communicate with their elected officials by phone and in writing, and many have attended public hearings or hosted legislators at their place of business.

Ninety-nine percent of respondents are registered to vote, and 95% plan to cast their ballots in legislative elections this fall.
Ninety-nine percent of respondents are registered to vote, and 95% plan to cast their ballots in legislative elections this fall.

Small businesses say the state’s taxes (particularly the personal income tax), regulatory burdens, an anti-business attitude among policymakers, and the high cost of doing business are among their biggest challenges.

The survey found that the state’s personal income tax is the single biggest tax challenge for small firms, followed by the corporate tax and property taxes.

Many small businesses noted, however, that the problem isn’t any one tax but, in one respondent’s words, “a swarm of them,” including unemployment and workers’ compensation.

Among state laws and regulations that businesses find most onerous, those governing labor and employment—in particular what respondents view as an unemployment compensation system that unfairly punishes businesses—were cited most often.

Several business owners indicated that it wasn’t any one particular regulation or set of regulations but the sheer number of them—or as one respondent put it, “death by a thousand cuts.”