Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


October 01, 2018


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud to represent Main Street’s millions of small businesses – the engines of our economy. America’s 28 million small businesses represent more than 99% of all employers, account for nearly half of all private sector workers, and produce more than 60% of new jobs.

This week small business leaders from around the country will join us in Washington, D.C., for the Chamber’s 14th annual Small Business Summit. We’ll hear from business leaders across industries and arm them with tools and best practices to bring home to their companies and communities.

One thing we expect to hear a lot about at the summit – as the economy finally gets back on track – is optimism.

MetLife and the Chamber have teamed up to track attitudes across the small business landscape through a quarterly survey of employers. We recently released our third-quarter index, which reveals that almost 70% of small business owners have a positive outlook about their companies and today’s business environment. And this is the sixth consecutive quarter where optimism has increased.

There’s no denying that small businesses have much to feel upbeat about. Congress and the White House achieved comprehensive tax reform this year for the first time in three decades. The administration has rolled back dozens of burdensome regulations that stifle innovation and economic growth.

Remarkably, members of our small business community report feeling appreciated by lawmakers in Washington. Chamber member David Mahoney, CEO of Noble Gas Solutions in Upstate New York, speaks for many small business owners when he says, “I might start to feel the love, like somebody else actually cares about me.”

Beginning next year, Mahoney and Noble Gas will be able to write off business investments. This will enable his company to expense the $600,000 cost of a new automated cylinder filing island and reinvest that money back into salaries and business expansion. And this is just one example – tax reform is lifting businesses of all sizes.

Even as we celebrate pro-growth victories on tax reform and regulatory relief, there’s still work to be done. At the summit, we will also discuss looming concerns on trade, health care, cybersecurity, and workforce preparedness. Together we will explore solutions to the problems left to solve.

Advocating for small business is one of the most important things we do at the Chamber – and it’s also one of the most inspiring. The enduring optimism and enthusiasm of our nation’s small businesses embody the very best of our free enterprise system. There’s nothing small about that.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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