The air of pre-presidential election uncertainty many Gulf Coast business leaders speak of is duplicated nationwide, according to the Summer 2012 Sage Small Business Sentiment survey.
For starters, nearly half the survey respondents, 46%, say they have put off business decisions until after the election. Three-fourths of those respondents say one of those delayed decisions involves new hires.
Sage North America is a unit of the Sage Group plc, a London-based business management and software firm. It conducted the survey of 300 U.S. small business owners last month.
Past uncertainty, there is confusion, the Sage survey shows. A bulk of the respondents, for instance, aren't clear about the impact of the federal health care reform bill — yet 71% believe Congress should repeal it. Nearly half the respondents, 48%, are unsure if their business qualifies for the health care bill tax credit. One-third think they don't qualify.
The perceived impact of the Affordable Care Act on the cost of doing business is likewise ambiguous, though it leans negative. On that front, 51% of the respondents believe the bill will cause an increase in costs, while 46% believe there will be no impact on costs or are indifferent, the survey states. (One-fourth say there will be no impact, while 21% are indifferent.)
Still, there's a glimmer of conviction among the survey's mound of uncertainty. That is, 21% of the small business owner-respondents have already discontinued health insurance, or plan to in response to the law. On the flip side, according to the survey, a brave 3% have begun to offer, or will begin to offer, employees health insurance because of the law.