We have looked at the state of small business in our union, and it is not good.
Our Small Business Economic Trends monthly report, which has tracked small business conditions for more than 35 years, shows that small business owners nationwide are struggling to keep their doors open. Optimism among small business owners declined in the latest report as small business owners experienced weak sales and negative earnings.
By Riley Johnson
Virtually every elected official from Helena to Washington, D.C. expresses deep concern about the loss of jobs and the need to jumpstart our economy. After all, the national unemployment rate sits at around 10 percent (the highest in a quarter century), and here in Montana, it stands at a lower but still troubling 6.4 percent. And lots of job creation and economic proposals—some good, others bad—will appear on state and federal legislative agendas in coming months.
Most policymakers agree that we need an energy policy that creates sustainable economic growth, benefits all Americans and protects the environment. If that’s truly the case, they should go back to the drawing board to find alternatives to the burdensome, big-government energy policies currently popular in Washington.
Proposals known as “cap-and-trade,” intended to combat global warming and revamp America’s energy policy, are deeply unpopular with both the voting public and the entrepreneurs who create most of the nation’s new jobs.
Recent polls that my organization released are clear: An overwhelming majority of small business owners oppose cap-and-trade legislation that has passed the House of Representatives. More than 70 percent of the business owners we surveyed think that the legislation will raise energy costs, and similarly large majorities don’t buy supporters’ claim that it will create new jobs or improve economic growth. And virtually none said that regulating greenhouse gas emissions should rank as a top national priority.
Small Business Champion of the Year
They started with a small salvage yard and one garage, never borrowed money to finance the business, and today run one of the most sophisticated automobile dismantling and recycling firms in all of North America. For the can-do example they set and for helping advance the small business agenda in the Montana Legislature, Loretta and Ron Miller are this year’s Solveras/NFIB Small Business Champion of the Year.
The honor was conferred upon the Millers, who own Green Meadow Auto Salvage, Inc., in Helena, by the Montana Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Business and Solveras Payment Solutions, one of the nation’s leading payment processing companies for small business. Each year, NFIB and Solveras single out a small business owner in all 50 states for special recognition and honor him or her with the prestigious Small Business Champion of the Year award. This is the sixth year America’s leading small business association has recognized small business owners who go the extra mile for their fellow entrepreneurs.
“The biggest contribution to building our business was that we never borrowed money,” said Loretta Miller. “We bought the business on a contract with the previous owner, but back then banks wouldn’t loan operating capital on an auto salvage yard. So we built it up from cash flow day by day. A second factor was that Ron could take anything mechanical and make it do whatever you wanted it to do. And, finally, getting the business totally computerized to meet today’s technological world was critical. You can now go online and visually see any part or car in our inventory.”
“There is much more to this award than the Millers’ success in establishing a cutting-edge business,” said Riley Johnson, state director for NFIB/Montana. “Loretta Miller has answered the call to testify before the Legislature on issues critical to small business solvency. Her persuasion helped the passage of Senate Bill 371 (even though it was later vetoed by the governor), which set the course and scope of workers’ compensation benefits. Her assistance was instrument on passage of House Bill 204, which established Montana’s first safe-employer pool for workers’ compensation, and the defeat of Senate Bill 506, which would have imposed a burdensome local-options tax. She also assisted me in discussions with Sen. Max Baucus in his drafting of a national healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate. All small business owners in Montana owe her a big debt of gratitude.”
The Millers can be reached at 406 458-9204.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103