The group, which represented real estate, banking and retail services industries among others, expressed concerns over government regulations, including the President’s federal health care tax law. Many said the regulations have substantially limited their businesses.
“This year, we did cut back,” said Adnan Hamidi, owner of Alexandria Cupcake on King Street. “And what we cut back on was advertising. … The uncertainty of the economy is scaring a lot of small business owners.”
Hamidi, who also owns a kitchen cabinet business, said increased insurance premiums and tough mandates have made President Barack Obama's health care reforms a grave concern for entrepreneurs.
Allen, who operates his own small business out of a Princess Street office, laid out his goals of simplifying the tax code with an aim on “a hassle-free government” with more freedom to invest and create jobs.
“It should not be adversarial,” he said. “The senate is not listening to job-creating men and women.”
Allen also said he wanted to promote health savings accounts as a counter to Obamacare, which he said he hoped to repeal. He said the accounts could be taken from job-to-job without concerns over pre-existing conditions. He added the accounts would also allow small businesses to align across state lines for insurance and give states increased flexibility to manage Medicaid.
Several business owners participating in Monday’s roundtable also expressed concerns over the estate tax.
“Each generation, the estate tax takes a chunk,” said Hunt Burke, the CEO and chairman at Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust, Virginia’s oldest bank dating back to 1852. “And we become less and less of a family business.”
The former Virginia governor responded saying he believed “death should not be a taxable event” and that doing so “just seems wrong” and that it was tough on small business owners.
Allen, who is trailing Democrat Tim Kaine according to a recent Washington Post poll, said his race was one of four this fall (counting contests in Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota) that would determine if there’s a change in leadership in the Senate.
It’s a Senate, he said, that hasn’t passed a budget in a span of time that has produced three generations of iPads.
“If Kaine wins, there’s no change,” he said.