Small business owners split on bailout


Only half think federal government should intervene with $700 billion rescue plan.

The Wall Street crisis hasn't yet hit Main Street, but small business owners know the hurricane is about to land, according to online payroll service SurePayroll, which regularly surveys small business owners. "Is it a Category 2 or a Category 4? That's the key question," says company President Michael Alter.

On Monday of this week, SurePayroll surveyed 262 small business owners on what they think of the bailout. When asked if they believed a federal-government Wall Street bailout was the right thing to do, participants were exactly split in their response: 50 percent said yes; 50 percent said no.

Responses were almost as equally divided on whether the bailout was good or bad for small business owners, with 48.5 percent saying it was good and 51.5 percent who thought it was bad. Gloom about the current climate seems to have edged out hopefulness, at least for now: 56 percent of respondents said they were pessimistic about the small business economy, while 44 percent said they were optimistic.

Here are some verbatim comments regarding the bailout from small business owners on both sides of the issue:

• "If it can stabilize the financial markets it will be good for small business owners. I'm just not sure it can stabilize those markets."

• "It could free up revenue for loans, which helps small business grow."

• "It provides a stamp of approval for failure."

• "It's a necessary evil."

• "Good short term fix, bad in the long run."

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