On Thursday, U.S. Chamber Vice President of Small Business Policy Tom Sullivan, Kentucky Chamber Center for Policy and Research Executive Director Dr. Charles Aull, and Chamber Director of Public Affairs John Cox testified in front of the Interim Joint Committee on Tourism, Small Business, and Information Technology on challenges and opportunities for small businesses in Kentucky.
Cox began the discussion by sharing the importance of small businesses to the economy and that the majority of the Kentucky Chamber’s membership is comprised of small businesses.
Sullivan, who previously served as chief counsel for advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush, provided an overview of the U.S. Chamber’s Small Business Index and the data the Index has gathered from business owners across the nation about the state of the national economy as well as business.
The Index currently shows that 52 percent of U.S. small business owners rank inflation as their biggest challenge and that 43 percent of small business owners are negative about the national economy, compared to 33% who are positive.
However, the Index also shows that 66% of U.S. small business owners are confident in their businesses’ health, 72% of small businesses are comfortable with their cash flow, and 71% of small business owners anticipate higher revenues in the next 12 months.
Additionally, Sullivan shared there has been record growth for small business applications in the past three years, which is a key result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ability of small businesses to adapt and solve problems. Going forward, Sullivan stressed the need for certainty in policy and regulations to help small businesses grow and thrive.
Sullivan also spoke on how the U.S. Chamber, as well as many other chambers, have expanded services to support and provide key information for small businesses following the pandemic. He touted the strong leadership of the Kentucky Chamber, and how their work has helped to advance the business community and other chambers of commerce across Kentucky and the nation.
Looking at Kentucky-specific data, Aull shared information from a recent survey of more than 300 employers across the Commonwealth which focused on employers’ views of current and future economic conditions, their attitudes towards state and federal policymakers, top challenges, and public policy interests.
The survey found that the top challenges facing Kentucky employers include economic conditions, regulations, health care costs, taxes, and more.
In terms of workforce, 80 percent of employers say there is not an ample supply of workers in their local area, while only 5 percent anticipate decreasing the size of their workforce. Furthermore, 79 percent of employers have increased wages to retain workers and 62 percent of employers have increased starting wages to attract workers.
Additionally, 79 percent of Kentucky employers anticipate still being in the state 10 years from now, and if they could “do it all over again,” 77 percent would still start their business in Kentucky.
Learn about the key results from that survey here.