What small business owners care about

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Since the mayor's office still insists that any business-tax reform ought to be revenue-neutral, and since he and other continue to talk about the myth that a payroll tax hurts job growth, I found the latest Bank of America survey of local small business owners fascinating.

Here's what the survey found: Small business owners are concerned about (1) the cost of healthcare (2) access to credit and (3) finding qualified employees. Local taxes aren't even on the list.

Now, if you ask almost any business operator whether he or she would like to pay lower taxes, most will probably say, sure. And I agree that a gross receipts tax is a better way of spreading the burden around. But the notion that slightly raising business taxes would hinder job growth in any significant way isn't supported by reality.

In fact, if you used higher taxes to improve the schools (and thus the education of the future workforce) it would do more to keep employers from leaving San Francisco than cutting taxes. If the state of California went to a single-payer health-care system -- dramatically reducing the cost to employers -- it would do more to attract jobs to this state than all the tax cuts in a Republican's wet dreams.

And if Bank of America and Wells Fargo would start loaning money to small businesess, you'd see almost immediate job growth.

How's that for a Small Business Week agenda?

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