NEW YORK—Last Tuesday, President Obama made a speech which said that the United States needs to place emphasis on granting aid to small businesses in order to stimulate economic growth. The Epoch Times went to various small businesses across New York City to ask owners what they think.
The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 would provide income tax deductions to owners of small businesses. However, some of the small business owners we spoke to did not receive any benefits.
Small business owner Ira Salomon says times are tough. “They are tougher than they have ever been. There isn’t a small businessman that I speak to that is happy,” said Salomon who manufactures novelty gift and souvenirs.
Salomon is pessimistic of Obama’s initiative. He says that so far any help given has not been relevant to the business he runs.
In his speech last Tuesday, Pres. Obama said 65 percent of all new jobs in America have been created by small businesses. He called for emergency assistance for seniors, more funding toward areas experiencing layoffs, and long term unemployment insurance.
Obama said that small businesses will get more tax breaks in order to create more jobs. He feels that this would stimulate the economy by allowing these businesses to hire more people or keep people from being laid off.
Estelle Stanger owns Estelle Stanger Antiques and said that business has been going sour over the past year. The new plan will not affect her, she said and has not received any assistance. In her area, several businesses have closed down but new ones often open in their place. “Hopefully things will get better,” said Stanger.
Bryan Gonzalez owns a small book store on the Upper West Side. He employs six people and says that he hasn’t had to lay anybody off. “Last year has been pretty slow, but the holiday season is picking up,” said Gonzalez. He doesn’t expect the Obama plan to effect anything but is waiting to see whether the health care bill could change things.
Ira Davidson, director of the Pace Small Business Development Center says Pres. Obama’s new health bill has some business owners worried about the new benefits they will have to provide, such as mandatory vacation time, which adds extra expenses to the cost of doing business.
“I know of a businessman who is interested in hiring people but doesn’t want to do anything until he knows what the health care plan is,” said Davidson.
One small business owner of a hardware store on West 26th Street in Manhattan said business has been slow this year. “It’s definitely down—definitely down,” he said, although he isn’t familiar with the new initiatives proposed to help small businesses. He says he has never received any assistance.