As the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Federation of Independent Business celebrates its 70th anniversary today, a spokesman for the group’s New Jersey operation said it’s never been tougher to run a small company, particularly in the Garden State.
“Most of our members will tell you that it is much more difficult to run a small business in New Jersey than it could have possibly been 70 years ago,” said spokesman Jack Mozloom. “The taxes are among the highest in the nation and there is more government per capita than any other state. Every little authority that has power will try to tax and regulate you.”
One of the New Jersey chapter’s top priorities in the coming months is educating the public about the November ballot question on the minimum wage, part of an effort to amend the state constitution to immediately raise the state’s minimum wage by $1 and index future increases to inflation. Business owners don’t like the idea of tying the minimum wage to inflation, and prefer Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to raise the minimum wage by $1 gradually over three years.
“Governor Christie has all the right instincts, and has been very attentive to small business,” Mozloom said.
NFIB has about 350,000 member companies nationwide, with some 6,000 in New Jersey. The organization was founded in San Mateo, Calif., in 1943, and moved its headquarters to Nashville, Tenn. in 1992. Eighty-eight percent of its members have fewer than 20 employees, which may seem low, but Mozloom said the federal Small Business Administration’s office of advocacy estimates annual the cost of complying with federal regulations for a typical small business is $10,500 per employee.
“That is a massive expense, and New Jersey has thousands of its own regulations on top of the federal regulations,” Mozloom said. “Every dollar the government forces businesses to spend on regulatory compliance is a dollar not spent on growing their business. Unlike their corporate cousins, small business owners don’t have in-house attorneys to help them navigate the rules.”