“Postal reform is not as big a factor. We are full service mailers and have good production equipment. The smaller guys have more issues with the costs to meet the new rules.”
• Cathy Lindemann of Evolution Creative Solutions in Cincinnati, OH, sees healthcare reform as the single biggest issue affecting her business. “As a small company, my biggest concern is healthcare reform. From what I hear from my insurance agent, I will not be able to afford to offer healthcare to my employees. I am concerned as to how that will affect the employee pool I have to choose from.”
Some printers were concerned about more than single issues such as healthcare and postal reform.
• Paula Smith of Curry Printing & Copying in Baltimore, MD, minced no words about how she feels the government negatively affects her business. “I believe that the way the federal government operates now is the complete antithesis of what a printing company needs to operate successfully and profitably. The federal government’s rules and costs enter into every single business decision I make as a printing company owner, starting with the onerous tax burden and double taxation on working owners, the complicated tax code, the Draconian rules and regulations that dictate practically every interaction an owner has with his staff, unnecessarily burdensome environmental regulations, piggy-backed unemployment taxes on an already bloated and broken state unemployment scheme, the totally market-skewing and harmful Obamacare rules and regulations, invasive reporting requirements (i.e.: census and other intrusive information demands), and finishing with the ever-present threat of asset seizure, legal action, and business closing.”
• Gary Olbrich, vice president at Stinger Digital Print & Graphics in Fort Myers, FL, also was concerned about broader issues such as fair trade policy. “In all honesty, I get the feeling that our government has a different business plan than what we have made for ourselves. I have spoken about keeping work in the USA in past discussions with others. Whether you realize this or not, our industry has been forced to compete with China's pricing structure. Americans are being brainwashed into thinking it is OK to send work out of the country to get lower pricing because it could mean higher profits on their end. In reality, what this is doing is driving our values lower.
“Personally, I can't make it on the income level being used overseas. Our pricing structure was established on how our country is run. We must pay many commitments to stay in the game. The government seems to be setting up a situation that cannot be fixed. You cannot pay off high debt by going further into debt. We must take a stand on this problem before it consumes us all. How can any business set up a budget if your costs continue to skyrocket? There need to be regulations put in place to tax the other guys to bring their costs equal to our market, and not penalize us for having a dream and building our own businesses—which, by the way, we did build our own business.”
• While agreeing that government regulations and policies do have a major impact on small businesses, Eugene Montanez, partner at Allegra Marketing-Print-Mail in Corona, CA, does not see this as a doom and gloom scenario. “Printers in California have had to deal with the most regulations on numerous fronts for many years. The hardest, in my opinion, was the conversion to low VOC chemicals a couple years ago. The transition was painful, to say the least, and probably led to more digital conversions, at a faster rate, than any single factor. We literally mothballed our four- color press for a year, only recently reactivating it for longer color runs. Since we have always provided healthcare, through PIA's great program, the transition there has not been as stressful, except I thought costs were supposed to go down.
“The one thing that has confused me over the years is the national trade associations have never done a survey of printers who were also elected officials, and had them participate in the state or federal government ‘lobbying’ process. I regularly travel to Sacramento and know and meet with senators and assembly members of both parties, as well as spending a day or so a month with our congressman.