Survey Supports Spending Cuts

January 13, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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LANSING — The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) Barometer Survey recently reported that Michigan small business owners overwhelmingly favor spending cuts to address Michigan’s state budget deficit.

Eighty-one percent of the 200 small business owners interviewed in November 2002 want the state to cut spending versus only 9 percent who favor tax and fee increases. Ten percent of respondents suggested a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes.

Survey participants were read a list of eight major state government expenses, including K-12 education, higher education, health care, mental health services, public assistance, roads, public safety and corrections and general government operations.

For each area, respondents were asked if they would support “major cuts” or “minor cuts” in general costs.

Most small business owners would also make “major” or “minor” cuts to a second tier of programs including public assistance, economic development, revenue sharing and employment services.

For these programs, support for some level of budget cutting ranged between 68 percent and 76 percent. Public assistance led the group with a total of 76 percent of small business owners supporting some budget reductions, including 28 percent who supported “major cuts” and 48 percent who supported “minor cuts.”

Support for cuts in other program areas was weaker. A slim majority — between 50 percent and 55 percent — supported “major” or “minor” spending reductions for public safety and corrections, higher education, mental health service, and roads. Support for major cuts in these areas was limited, ranging from 7 percent for mental health services to 14 percent for public safety and higher education.

The least amount of support reported for any kind of cuts was for K-12 education, where only 9 percent of small business owners supported “major cuts” and only 32 percent supported any level of budget cutting. A majority also opposed Medicaid cuts, although by a slim margin.

The quarterly Small Business Barometer survey, now in its 10th year, is sponsored by SBAM with the participation and support for the Center of Urban Studies of Wayne State University. Public Policy Associates of Lansing conducted the survey.

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