Municipal Elections and Their Impact on Small Businesses
Although they don’t typically make national nightly news headlines, the municipal elections perhaps have the most significant impact on small businesses.
The policies and priorities of local government leaders influence everything from tax rates and regulations to zoning decisions and infrastructure spending.
Some small business owners may be hesitant to get involved in the political process, but it’s vital to understand how these decisions can affect your business.
Five Ways Municipal Elections Can Truly Impact a Business
Here are a few ways municipal elections can impact small businesses:
1. Local government leaders can set regulations and rates that impact your business in many ways.
For example, they may enact new regulations that are difficult or costly to comply with. They may also repeal existing regulations that provide some protection for your business. Local governments also have jurisdiction over property tax and utility rates. These have a direct impact on businesses’ commercial rent rates.
2. Zoning decisions made by local government leaders can have a significant effect on small businesses.
They may change your area’s zoning regulations, making it difficult or impossible for you to operate your business. They may also approve new development projects that could compete with your business. Or, if you’re a retailer, you’ll want to make sure that the candidates you support are in favor of zoning decisions that will allow you to open up shop in areas that are convenient for customers.
3. Small business owners should be especially interested in local government leaders’ policies regarding infrastructure spending.
Local leaders can fund a wide variety of infrastructure projects, such as repairing roads and bridges, building new parks and schools, or expanding the local transportation system.
The way these projects are funded can have a significant impact on small businesses. Typically financed by property tax increases or user fees, businesses often shoulder a large portion of the cost. But, if the infrastructure projects improve the local business environment, they can also lead to increased sales and customers for small businesses.
4. The policies and priorities of local government leaders influence the quality of life in your community. This can impact your business indirectly, such as making it more or less attractive to potential employees. In addition, families with young children will be more inclined to move into the community if there are parks, playgrounds, and schools nearby.
If the local government leaders support local businesses, your community may be more attractive to families, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.
5. Public safety.
Public safety includes issues such as crime, vandalism, and traffic accidents. All of these can hurt small businesses. If there is much crime in your neighbourhood, customers may be afraid to visit your business. Vandalism can result in costly damage, and traffic accidents can lead to decreased sales due to congestion.
How the local government handles these issues is important, and candidates’ positions on these matters can affect your business.
Ways to Stay in The Know
Keeping abreast of local government decisions regarding the community and how they affect small businesses is an important part of your business.
Chambers of Commerce can be an excellent resource for small businesses to do just that.
Chambers of Commerce are organizations that protect local businesses’ interests by providing various services, including networking opportunities, educational programs, and lobbying efforts.
They can provide a forum for small business owners to share ideas and learn from each other. This can help business owners stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and developments.
Chambers of Commerce can also help small businesses connect with local government leaders. This can give business owners a voice in the political process and help them advocate for policies that are beneficial to their businesses.
If you’re a small business owner, you may want to consider becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce.
Municipal elections may not be as flashy as national elections, but they can potentially have a tangible impact on your business. Make sure you understand the issues and cast your vote accordingly when the time comes.