- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Main Street continues to flourish under the Trump administration. The National Federation of Independent Business reports that optimism is at a 45-year high among America’s small businesses. The “Small Business Optimism Index” — a monthly gauge of sentiment among the owners — has broken the record for the measurement, established 45 years ago.

“Main Street is roaring,” said Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the group, which represents 325,000 small business concerns in all 50 states. “Small business owners are not only reporting better profits, but they’re also ready to grow and expand. The record level of enthusiasm for expansion follows a year of record-breaking optimism.”

Among the findings: 41 percent of the members reported they expect the economy to improve, a third say it’s an ideal time to expand; another third report an increase in job openings; while 31 percent reported “higher worker compensation” for their employees.

“The historically high index readings over the last year tell us small business owners have never been more positive about the economy. This is in large response to the new management in Washington tackling the biggest concerns of small business owners — high taxes and regulations,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the organization.

In the meantime, businesses large and small continue to offer employees bonuses, raises, or 401(k) hikes because of the President Trump’s tax reform law.

They now number 346 — over 3.5 million workers — this according to the office of Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Americans for Tax Reform, which continue to track the trends — as well as the ongoing, reassuring narratives which accompany these gains. Many businesses share their rationale for tending to their employees in public press releases or with local news media — and in any cases, they are revealing and heartfelt.

One sheet music supplier in Madison, Wisconsin, offers some insight.

“We’re genuinely appreciative of our loyal and gifted team at Musicnotes,” said Tim Reiland, executive chairman of the company, which employs 55 people and reports it plans to increase hiring and new technology projects in the digital realm.

“We are thrilled to share the benefit of lower corporate taxes with them. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s also smart business,” Mr. Reiland said.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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