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Small Businesses, Big Issues: Paychex Survey Reveals Election Insights from America's Small Business Owners

October 31, 2016

paychex research election 2016

Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services, today announced the results of a survey of small business owners, exploring policy issues at play in the 2016 presidential election. The research found that the three most important issues to small business owners in this election include healthcare, government regulation and complexity, and tax reform.

More than half of the respondents, at 55%, believe government regulation and complexity is hurting their company’s profitability. Regarding health care reform, 38% percent of those surveyed would like to see the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repealed, while 27% want the ACA expanded. In terms of tax reform and which change to the U.S. tax structure would benefit their business most, respondents were split between closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy (53%) and reducing the number of tax brackets and lowering the highest tax rate to individuals and businesses (47%).

Small business owners also voiced their opinions on minimum wage, immigration, and current state of U.S. infrastructure. A majority of those surveyed, 64%, favor increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to a higher level. The highest federal minimum wage hourly rate to not negatively impact business was $10 per hour with 26 percent, followed closely by $12 per hour (25%) and $15 per hour (23%). Fifty percent of those surveyed believe the current U.S. immigration policy has no impact on their companies’ profitability and/or ability to grow, while 47 percent believe the current condition of U.S. infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, broadband access) is not affecting their business’ profitability and/or ability to grow.

“Our latest survey tracks with what we’ve heard from small business owners in recent months: healthcare, taxes, and government regulation are key issues that business owners want to see addressed,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO.

When it comes to which candidate small business owners believe will win the presidential election, 39% of respondents say Hillary Clinton will win. However, when the question shifts to which candidate they will vote for, 51% of survey respondents say they will vote for Donald Trump and 25% say they will vote for Hillary Clinton, which appears to correlate with the fact that 50% of respondents believe that Donald Trump is the candidate who best represents the interests of small business, while 23% say Hillary Clinton, and 16% don’t know.

For more information on the survey results, visit for the Small Businesses, Big Issues Election infographic.

Small Businesses, Big Issues from Paychex

About the Paychex Election 2016 Small Business Survey The Paychex Election 2016 Small Business Survey was conducted by the research firm Bredin and was administered online between September 21, 2016 and September 26, 2016 and polled 318 principals of U.S. companies with fewer than 500 employees. Of those surveyed, 40% noted their party affiliation as Republican, 36% said they were Independent and 21% indicated they were a Democrat.