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Survey: 70 percent of small businesses give government programs grade of 'C' or below

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Alex Gonzalez

(Utah News Connection) A Goldman Sachs survey finds that 70 percent of small business owners give the federal government a grade of "C or below" for the effectiveness of programs, services and tax credits available to them. 

An overwhelming majority say it is important for Congress to modernize the Small Business Administration. The SBA is the government agency tasked with ensuring the health and vitality of the nation's entrepreneurial community. 

Uinta Mattress was one of almost two thousand small businesses that participated in the survey. It's been around for nearly 40 years in Salt Lake City. 

President and CEO Schuyler Northstrom said one has to admire an entrepreneur who is confident in a time of uncertainty. Sixty-eight percent of those who participated say they feel optimistic in 2023, even as many business owners expect a recession.

"It's not good, but it's not so bad that we are not excited, right?" said Northstrom. "There is a little bit of passion that starts to replace the fear in entrepreneurs."

Northstrom said the mattress business isn't the easiest one to be in and adds he believes the industry is already in a recession because of shortage and high costs of raw materials, transportation issues and low consumer demand. 

Given the challenges, many exacerbated by the pandemic, Northstrom said they've fared well.

The survey shows that small-business owners not only want to see more effective directives from the government in areas such as access to capital programs and entrepreneurial development, but also do a better job to communicate about the resources and services that are available. 

Northstrom said he would like elected officials in Washington to prioritize small businesses because he said they're the ones making a real difference in local communities.

"We really need the federal government to step up, reauthorize the SBA," said Northstrom. "Those are the resources that small businesses need access to and we need that modernized so that access is quicker, more timely."

Goldman Sachs calls small businesses the "backbone" of the U.S. economy, which employ nearly half of the country's workforce.

Congress has not reauthorized the SBA since 2000. Small-business owners say things have changed a lot in the last 23 years and time is up.