Saturday, May 3, 2008

Poll - Most Small Businesses Not Affected by Employer Sanctions; Want Spending Cuts; Do Not Favor Toll Roads

Inaugural Silver State Bank / ASBA / O'Neil Associates Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor:

Most Small Businesses Not Affected by Employer Sanctions; Want Spending Cuts; Do Not Favor Toll Roads

Silver State Bank, the Arizona Small Business Association and O'Neil Associates have just released the first in what will be a quarterly series intended to become a major gauge of economic health and vitality in the state of Arizona - as well as the opinion of small businesses when it comes to hot-button political issues.

The Silver State Bank/ASBA/O'Neil Associates Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor is made possible by Silver State Bank, with cooperation of the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA). O'Neil Associates, one of Arizona's most renowned public opinion research firms, sent surveys to ASBA's entire membership of 3,000 small businesses in late March.

"Silver State Bank is Nevada's largest small business lender. As we now expand throughout Arizona we could think of no better way to keep our finger and that of the public's on the pulse of the Arizona economy than to partner with the Arizona Small Business Association and O'Neil Associates," Silver State Bank President Mike Thorell said. "Each quarter the Silver State/ASBA/O'Neil Associates will be providing insights for people to make key economic decisions as well as small business attitudes on the big political issues of the day."

Employer Sanctions Law

The majority of Arizona small businesses (65%) say that the new employer sanctions law has had no impact on their business. Among those who have noted an impact, however, that impact is more negative than positive. A total of 22% indicate a negative impact compared to only 13% who indicated a positive impact. Furthermore, when we look only at the extreme cases, the proportion who cite a "very" negative impact (8%) is nearly twice the proportion who indicate a "very" positive impact (5%).

State Budget Deficits

Preference for cutting spending as a means of reducing the State Budget Deficit was nearly universal (93%).

There were also substantial majorities for bonding road construction (77%) and bonding for schools (75%).

Raising taxes (31%), raiding various state controlled funds (30%) and borrowing money (23%) were only supported by minorities of Arizona small businesses.

Dr. O'Neil observed, "When cutting spending is expressed in the abstract, it is always a popular proposition. Near universal support for 'cutting spending' however, does not translate to majority support for cutting any specific program.

"Clearly, however, these figures indicate support for taking a very hard look at items in the state budget that could be successfully cut."

The other clear finding of this survey is that the Arizona small business community strongly supports using bonding as a mechanism of state funding. There were substantial (about 3/4ths) majorities for this and approximately equal majorities supported bonding for both road construction and school construction. Road construction and education have historically been among the highest of the public's priorities. We believe that these figures reflect agreement between the small business community and the public on the priority of these issues.

Toll Roads

The Arizona small business community is almost equally divided on the subject of toll roads. A bare majority (53%) opposes, but an almost equally large proportion (47%) is in favor of toll roads.

Mike O'Neil
O'Neil Associates
480-967-4441 ext 221

Contact: Jason Rose
Rose and Allyn Public Relations

Jason Rose
Rose & Allyn Public Relations

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