Jurate Akstakalnyte, the manager at Chicago-based Ashland Glass Co., says she liked what President Obama had to say during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
“I thought he made some pretty good points,” says Akstakalnyte. “It wasn’t really anything new.”
The nationally televised annual speech highlighted a number of hot-button issues that are extremely pertinent to small businesses all over, including glass companies. Chief among them were a proposed minimum federal wage increase, comprehensive tax reform and immigration reform. Other topics included energy efficiency and making sure college remains an option financially for everyone.
John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of the Small Business Majority, a small business advocacy organization, lauded the president’s promises to the American people.
“The president’s State of the Union address touched on many of small business owners’ key concerns, particularly increasing consumer demand by strengthening the middle class, fixing our broken immigration system and continuing to grow the economy through innovation and investments in clean energy,” Arensmeyer says.
Small businesses have long been valued as the backbone of the economy because they employ nearly half the private sector workforce and are responsible for the creation of two out of three new jobs in the U.S.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) says it welcomes all measures designed to improve the economy and better facilitate the rebuilding from a devastating recession.
“The president’s focus on economic mobility is timely, considering that the architecture profession is struggling to recover from the Great Recession,” says Robert Ivy, the AIA’s CEO. “That’s why we are encouraged to hear the president talk about energy and college affordability in such an explicit way.”
Not everybody feels the same, however, with what the government has planned. Susan Kraus, the owner of Liberty Glass Co. in Perryville, Mo., says she was in a meeting and missed most of the speech, but didn’t seem thrilled about the details that got back to her, especially the increase of minimum wages.
She probably spoke for a lot of small business owners when she opined that running a small business is hard enough without added expense.
“It’s going to hurt,” she predicts. “It’ll just be another of those things you’ll have to add to the overall costs.”