For small business owners in New York’s Financial District, today’s vote is a toss-up between Romney’s business experience and Obama’s empathy.
New York — Down in the Financial District of New York City, small business owners have very different opinions on who they hope to see win today’s presidential election. Some believe Romney is out of touch with the small business community’s needs, while others think Obama has done little to show that he is.
Max Cleaners, a family-owned dry-cleaning store, has been in business in Manhattan’s financial district for seven years.
Julia Yoon, a recent college graduate, works at Max Cleaners to help her family with their business, until she is able to find another job. She hopes to see Obama win the election. “Romney doesn’t know what it feels like to actually run a small business,” said Yoon.
David Rakhminov, owner of Alex Tailor Shop, said Romney knows how to help small businesses, and would like to see him win. “Romney would be better for me. He is a businessman,” said Rakhminov, who has been tailoring clothes and designing custom-made garments in the heart of the Financial District since 1995.
Both the Romney and Obama campaigns largely show their support for small business growth. While Obama plans to broaden small business tax cuts, Romney wants to change the tight regulations presently in place for businesses to get off the ground in the first place.
One economic indicator, the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard (which has been tracking the economic effects of small businesses since 2004), showed that in October small businesses had a 68 percent optimistic outlook on the economy helping their business.
Although Yoon wants to see Obama win, she doesn’t support his current tax policies, which have placed a strain on her family’s business. “We get taxed away like crazy, all of the small businesses do. We are all struggling to make a living and this is making it worse,” said Yoon.
The shaky economy under Obama has made it difficult for small businesses to feel confident enough to invest—despite Obama’s efforts to accelerate expensing for capital investments. Yoon said it’s too risky for Max Cleaners to make any capital investments, adding that the company should just stick with what it has for now.
“I feel like Obama didn’t do as much as he could have during his presidency, but Romney won’t be any better. I feel like it would be better to stick with Obama right now,” said Yoon.
Rakhminov agrees that Obama did not accomplish as much as he could have. Obama didn’t do much during the recession when people were losing their jobs and their homes, he said.
Yoon admitted that her family’s business greatly struggled during the recession, and still thinks times are tough. “It’s still pretty bad right now. I feel like if Romney comes in, he won’t know our situation as well as Obama does,” said Yoon.
However, Rakhminov’s business is back on its feet, as the economy has slowly been picking back up. “There was definitely a drop in business, but this year has actually been a lot better,” said Rakhminov.