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Small businesses aren’t hiring because the economy is sluggish, sales are weak and they lack access to capital. They don’t want —or need—legislators spending their time drafting bills on regulations. They want them to find ways to get them the credit they need to hire more workers, which will circulate more cash into the economy and pad small business offers.

Our poll sheds even more light on how small business owners view standards specific to the clean energy sector: 76 percent support the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon emissions. Even in states with large manufacturing sectors support was high. In Ohio, 73 percent of respondents supported the EPA regulating carbon emissions and 75 percent did so in Michigan. When asked about fuel efficiency standards, 87 percent said it’s important to adopt stronger mileage standards now, and 80 percent support a 60 mile per gallon requirement by 2025. Small businesses support these types of policies because they believe they lead to innovation, which will help them save money in their own businesses and create new market opportunities. In fact, 87 percent said improving innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small business.


These statistics taken as a whole tell an important story: small business owners support strong clean energy standards because they see the economic importance of these policies. They’re looking to Washington to pursue strong policies that promote innovation and energy efficiency because they believe they’re precursors for entrepreneurial innovation and keys to a stronger economy.

The practical needs and unique perspectives of employers on the ground—whose top priorities are their bottom lines, not political allegiances—also came through loud and clear. Respondents’ political affiliation was varied, with 41 percent identifying as independent, 34 percent as Republican and 25 percent as Democrat.

The facts are plain. Small business owners support strong energy standards they know will help them innovate and create new opportunities that will spur economic growth. Regulations have been a scapegoat for our economic crisis long enough—it’s time to listen to what small business owners are really saying.

John Arensmeyer is the founder and CEO of Small Business Majority.