Chamber Members Speak Out

Dec 31, 2008

Fay Hobbs-Carter stopped offering health care insurance to her employees because of the expense.

Taxes, Health Care Rank High Among Priorities

U.S. Chamber members cite taxes, health care, legal reform, and intellectual property as their top policy priorities, according to the results of the U.S. Chamber's biennial National Business Agenda survey.

Making permanent the reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividend income received the most favorable response. Seventy-eight percent rated that issue as an extremely high or very high priority. Opposing increases in individual marginal income tax rates and supporting repeal of the corporate and individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) received similarly high ratings, at 74% and 72%, respectively.

Opposing new employee benefit mandates and supporting initiatives to make health care more affordable received the second most favorable response overall, with 76% of respondents rating it an extremely high or very high priority.

Fay Hobbs-Carter, co-owner of the Christmas Attic in Alexandria, Virginia, stopped providing health insurance for her 20 employees because the few plans that were available were cost prohibitive. "We've paid for plans entirely, we've shared the costs with employees, we've done all kinds of things, but it's just too expensive," says Hobbs-Carter. She hopes to be able to offer her employees health care again one day. 

Legal reform also got high marks on the survey. Stopping excessive punitive damages and reforming product and service liability laws so that parties are only responsible for the harm they actually caused were cited as extremely or very high priorities by 75% and 73%, respectively.

Seventy-five percent of respondents gave high priority to protecting American ideas, brands, inventions, and creative works overseas.

    The following round out the respondents' top priorities:
  • Allow small business owners to recover their attorneys fees and other costs from the government when successfully contesting an alleged violation (75%).
  • Oppose proposals to abolish secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns (74%).
  • Support efforts to reform K-12 education so that high school graduates are ready for postsecondary education and the workforce (73%).
  • Encourage Congress to lift moratoria on oil and gas exploration on both onshore and
    offshore federal lands (73%).


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