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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Apr. 7, 2017 3 years ago

Higher and higher (expectations)

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Business outlook continues to be bright and sunny in area.

Findings of a national SunTrust Banks survey — high expectations of improved business conditions, a better U.S. economy and a better global economy — are in line with business leaders' expectations in the Tampa Bay area, says Chairman, President and CEO of SunTrust Banks' West Division Allen Brinkman II.

“These are consistent themes among most, if not all, of the companies I talk to on a regular basis,” Brinkman tells Coffee Talk.

He says the Tampa Bay business community is a microcosm of the companies surveyed from Jan. 4 to Jan. 16 in the annual Business Pulse Survey by SunTrust Banks and Radius Global Market Research. Decision-makers at more than 500 small businesses ($2 million to $10 million in annual revenue) and middle-market businesses ($10 million to $150 million in annual revenue) participated in the report.

Survey results showed 75% of small business leaders and 74% of mid-market business leaders expect improved business conditions in the next six months. The numbers were lower for the national economy — 62% of small business leaders and 68% of mid-market business leaders expect a better U.S. economy. And 60% of small business leaders and 64% of mid-market business leaders expect a better global economy.

The results also include a ranking of the “top government actions that could unleash growth,” the report states. Health care reform ranked the highest, with 48% of small business leaders and 44% of mid-market business leaders naming that action as a potential impetus for growth. Corporate tax reform is next, with 41% of small business leaders and 48% of mid-market business leaders selecting it. Rounding out the top three is reductions in regulations, with 31% of small business leaders and 39% of mid-market business leaders choosing the action.

And despite recent developments in national health care reform, Brinkman says the confidence in that area displayed in the survey results wouldn't be affected. “It was perceived to be a setback, but it doesn't necessarily mean the issue is going to stay away or stay stagnant,” he says.

Brinkman says a lot of issues — health care reform, tax reform, infrastructure spending — are being looked at with great scrutiny now. “There's optimism that things can change,” he says.

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