Small-business owners are cautious when it comes to spending money. When your family's savings is tied up in your business, you're not going to invest in new equipment or hire additional workers unless you're confident the economy is strong and heading in the right direction.
That's why a new survey by NFIB, the nation's leading small-business association, is such a big deal. It says a record number of small-business owners believe now is a good time to expand.
According to NFIB, small-business owners are optimistic because Congress and the administration have shown a real a commitment reducing expensive, burdensome regulations and implementing tax reforms that are allow employers of all sizes to keep more the money they earn, so they can reinvest it in their businesses and their employees.
Since the historic tax-reform legislation was signed into law over the holidays, there's been a flurry of news stories about big companies using savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to give workers a bonus or even a raise, but many small businesses are doing the same thing.
In fact, tax reform means more to a small business than it does a major corporation. Small businesses operate on tight margins. They don't have a lot of wiggle room. Without the savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a small business might not have the money to buy a new delivery truck, hire additional help, or open a new location.
Tax reform means a lot to Missouri, too. Small business is the thing that drives the state's economy. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.4 percent of all employers in the state and employ nearly half of the state's private-sector workforce.
NFIB's latest Small Business Optimism Index survey, conducted shortly after tax reform passed, shows that plans to make capital outlays were up 2 points, while plans to increase inventors were up 4 points.
On behalf of our members, I want to thank the members of the Missouri congressional delegation who supported small businesses and working families by voting "yes" on this historic legislation.
The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act builds on the momentum we gained in 2017. NFIB's Small Business Optimism Index reached record levels last year and remain strong so far in 2018 because our leaders in Washington have laid the groundwork to help employers grow. They understand when we help small businesses, we help everyone.
Brad Jones is NFIB state director for Missouri.