15 Tough Questions to Ask Candidates Wanting Your Vote
By Oregon NFIB,
What a remarkable time campaign season is. From now until Nov. 6, every candidate running for office will make the claim to be for small business, pro-Main Street, it’s mom-and-pop enterprises not big corporations for them—yes siree, Bob.
But come arm-twisting time in Salem next year, watch how many buckle and cave to the well-financed agenda of trial lawyers, labor unions, and advocates for bigger and bigger government. Although NFIB/Oregon has a mechanism that allows us to make campaign contributions and political endorsements, NFIB members should also ask candidates some tough questions. Don’t underestimate the power and influence you have.
In April 2010, the Pew Research Center released a study on the negative and positive views people hold on various American institutions. Small business came out first, 39 percentage points higher than labor unions, 46 points higher than large corporations, and 49 points higher than banks and financial institutions.
Small business owners comprise 15 percent of all registered voters in the U.S., by comparison union voters make up 11.9 percent. When small business employees are added, the small business voting bloc swells to 43 percent.
The most common public affairs and political activities in which small employers engage, according to the NFIB Research Foundation, include initiating discussions with employees regarding the impact of a policy issue on the firm.
Voters prefer candidates supported by small business by a margin of 3 to 1 over those supported by organized labor, according to the Winston Group
Here are three general questions you can ask candidates seeking the small-business vote:
What are your top three priorities for small business if you are elected?
Why should small-business owners support your campaign?
Which small-business owners are supporting your campaign?
Smooth candidates and seasoned politicians, however, can easily bluff their way through those questions. Here are some more specific ones that will give you a much better indication of who is really up on the issues and what his or her true beliefs on them are:
Tax and Fiscal Policy:
1. Do you support or oppose the repeal of Oregon’s Estate Tax?
2. Should Oregon eliminate the Corporate Kicker to fund higher education?
3. Do you support Oregon repealing the gross revenue tax provision in Measure 67?
4. Should Oregon leave an ending balance (reserve fund) in Oregon’s biennium budget?
Employment and Labor:
5. Should employers be required to provide paid sick leave?
6. Do you oppose or support Oregon becoming a right-to-work state?
7. Do you favor or oppose requiring employers to provide health insurance for their workers?
8. Should medical providers be required to post their fees for services?
9. Do you support health insurance premiums being tax deductible for small business owners and individuals?
10. Is it time to increase timber harvest on state land based on a percentage of new growth?
11. Do you support an increase in withdrawal and storage of water from the Columbia River during months of peak water flow?
12. Should Oregon limit agency-fee increases on businesses by a certain and reasonable percentage rate?
13. Should Oregon enforce ORS 183.336 which requires determination of the cost of compliance of new regulations upon small businesses?
14. Would you support legislation giving limited liability companies (LLCs) the same liability protection in workers’ compensation claims as all other employer entities?
15. Should small businesses be awarded attorneys’ fees when they prevail in lawsuits against the government?
Every candidate will tell you they support small business, but the questions above will help you determine where they’ll be when the rubber meets the road.