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"What we have seen from our customer base is they see the real threat of layoffs with the re-election of President Obama," Geier said. "We have the same fear. We are going to implement a hiring freeze and wait and see what happens. If the Bush tax cuts don't go through, you are going to see layoffs. We are going into a real holding pattern until we see what happens with our customer base. Customers are going to cut back. They are all afraid right now."
Geier sees the U.S. business climate deteriorating with four more years of Obama. "It's very bad for business," he said. "Romney is pro-business. And Obama is anti-business. I see higher health-care costs. What is going to happen to small businesses that have to pay for health care and can't afford it?" Sixty-seven percent of solution providers surveyed by CRN said the Obama victory will lead to higher health-care costs for businesses.
Businesses are especially frustrated by the health-care reform law championed by Obama, said Joe Balsarotti, president of Software To Go, a St. Peters, Mo.-based solution provider preparing to celebrate its 30th year in business. "Nothing is free," he said, noting that most of the major changes in the legislation were set to go into effect in 2014. "Someone has to pay for it."
Balsarotti said he has six small-business customers planning to close up shop with Obama's re-election. "They have had it," he said. "They are way past retirement age and they are planning to wind down the business and retire now. It's not worth it for them to go through four more years of Obama.
"These are people who have built up businesses that employ people and have worked in them for 30, 40 or 50 years," Balsarotti added. "They see higher taxes and health-care costs and are sick of business being demonized. It starts with Obama and makes its way through government agencies like OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]."
Tim Shea, founder and CEO of Alpha NetSolutions, a 10-year-old managed services/cloud computing provider with $1.2 million in annual sales, said he feels the concerns of small business have not been addressed by either Obama or Romney. "The small-business owner and the middle class tend to be overlooked by everybody," he said. "The Democrats are looking out for the little guys and the Republicans are looking out for the big guys. No one is looking out for those of us in the middle, which is most of us.
"I hear people talking about the really poor and the really wealthy," he said. "I don't hear anybody talking about the rest of us who are paying taxes and can't take advantage of tax loopholes. I don't see anyone doing anything for small businesses. We are the unheard masses in the middle, too busy working and trying to make ends meet and we don't have lobbyists in Washington working for us."
PUBLISHED NOV. 6, 2012