Although Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Blunt is running uncontested in the August primaries, he received a major boost for his campaign Tuesday.
The National Federation of Independent Business announced its endorsement of Blunt following an overwhelming show of support by Missouri small business-owners.
In a survey of 4,603 Missouri NFIB members, 93 percent supported Blunt, NFIB/Missouri State Director Bradley Jones said. The NFIB is a nonpartisan small-business advocacy group with 600,000 members nationwide and more than 12,500 in Missouri.
Jack Feris, NFIB president and CEO, emphasized that the group’s decision to endorse a candidate is not based on a candidate’s allegiance to a Democratic or Republican camp, but on his or her voting record.
Blunt has a 100 percent voting record with the NFIB, Jones said.
“That shows he understands the needs and issues affecting small business,” Jones said. “And when we endorse him, we’re acknowledging the work that he’s already done.”
In May, the NFIB released a detailed study of those critical problems concerning small-business owners, which rates the problems on a scale by severity. “Cost of health insurance” tops the list followed by “cost and availability of liability insurance” and “workman’s compensation.” Concern over health insurance costs reportedly increased by 18 percent since a 2000 survey, and is considered “critical” by two-thirds of those surveyed. The same list identifies “competition from Internet business” and “exporting my products/services” as among the bottom 10 concerns.
“This year’s list makes it pretty clear that many of small-business owners’ most serious problems are politically generated, rather than spawned from free market competition,” Bruce D. Phillips, Foundation Senior Research Fellow, said in a press release.
“At NFIB we take our politics very seriously,” Jones said. “We’re very deliberate.”
Blunt addressed those issues and others when he spoke Tuesday at the MU Alumni Center in front of about 50 people.
“I am proud that they are willing to be a part of this campaign and part of the coalition that we’re building across the state,” Blunt said.
He also spoke briefly on health care costs, tort reform, unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation and infrastructure to support economic activity.
Blunt addressed what he called the “litigation crisis that grips Missouri” — medical malpractice suits.
“The American Medical Association listed Missouri as one of the 18 crisis states,” Blunt said. “When it comes to medical malpractice, we have an administration that allows plaintiffs to dictate legislation. And what is happening in the health care industry is happening in the entrepreneurial community.”
Blunt also discussed the business owners’ concerns over workman’s compensation.
“It is way too easy to qualify for workman’s compensation in this state,” he said. He added that legislation is needed to ensure that work is predominantly the cause of an injury, and not just a cause.
Blunt said as governor he would work to keep business in Missouri and create a positive climate for small-business owners.