Small businesses struggle in slow economy

February 13, 2009 7:39:27 PM PST
It is a tough time for the nation's small businesses, which are said to be the economic backbone of America. In San Francisco, where new taxes are being considered, there is concern about the impact.

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The head of the national federation of independent business California calls the taxes and regulations painful.

"Especially painful in San Francisco, a small business owner who might want to do business here would have real concerns and second thoughts," John Kabateck said.

Greg Spry's construction and landscaping company has been around for 20 years, but he is worried about the future.

"With this economy and everything else and more taxes coming down the pike, I don't know," spry said. "I don't want to lose my business."

Right now, new taxes are just a possibility city supervisors are debating, but San Francisco is already considered one of the most expensive places in the country to do business and city economists are predicting increases could drive companies away.

Compare San Francisco costs to nearby Burlingame:

  • San Francisco's sales tax is 8.5 percent. Burlingame's is 8.25 percent.

  • San Francisco's minimum wage is $9.79 per hour. Burlingame's is $8. Add on other employer mandates in San Francisco, including paid sick leave and health care for workers, and the difference is clear.

    Burlingame city officials say they try to stay out of the way of their businesses.

    Bella Luna is the smallest small business in town; according to the owner, city regulations are not a burden.

    "Especially now, with the economy, a lot of cities want new business and want new energy," Linda Bullis said.

    Of course, there is nothing like the allure of San Francisco, but some small business owners say that is beginning to wear thin.

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