Local small business owners have a lot at stake with the federal government's economic policies, and because of that, they also have a lot of opinions on President Obama's Tuesday re-election.
Peter Burdi, who owns three restaurants in downtown Hinsdale and employs some 80 employees, said the fact that Election Day has passed, in general, helps business owners.
“I think the uncertainty has cleared a lot for businesses,” Burdi said. “At least we know which direction the government is going to go.”
Another local business owner wasn’t very confident in that direction.
Ross Bartolomei employs around 70 people as the owner of two Salon Hype locations, one in Burr Ridge and one in La Grange, and said he wanted to give Romney a chance because he felt the Republican had a better approach to small business policy.
“My hope was that with Romney getting elected, he’d understand,” Bartolomei said. “So far we haven’t seen any reprieve from Obama.”
Both Bartolomei and Allan Allongi, who operates a seven-person law firm in Clarendon Hills, said they support measures that would encourage small businesses to bring on new employees in exchange for tax breaks. Bartolomei said such measures aren't in place, making it hard for businesses to know whether to expand or hold steady.
"It’s kind of iffy as to what direction to go," Bartolomei said.
While millions were spent on bailing out large banks in 2008, Bartolomei said there'd be a greater benefit to offering tax incentives to small business owners.
"You would increase construction, you would increase people expanding their business," Bartolomei said. "Instead, we’re tying to hold on to these large businesses.”
More broadly, Bartolomei worries that if the U.S. practice of borrowing money and increasing its national debt continues, the value of the dollar will decrease and trips to his salons might become more expensive.
"Inflation is a big concern of mine," he said.
On its own, Allongi said Obama’s proposed tax increase on those who annually make more than $250,000 would not create jobs. But a tradeoff between Obama’s Democrats and the Republicans in Congress could.
“If [Obama] has the [desire] to make a deal with Congress where he has to create an incentive for businesses to create jobs in order to create his tax on the so-called rich, it will make a difference,” Allongi said.
Allongi, who employs one other attorney, two secretaries, one bookkeeper, and two paralegals, said he thinks his practice will be affected "if Congress cannot get past their partisanship."
Burdi, who owns Il Poggiolo, Nabuki, and the newly opened CiNe Modern Tacqueria, said that, putting politics aside, he thinks the economy is on the right track.
The real estate investor-turned-restaurateur said improvement in the housing market is crucial to the recovery, and he recently purchased a foreclosed property that had around 20 other bidders.
“I’m back into buying and selling properties again, and people are buying. That’s a good sign,” Burdi said. “Money is out there.”
Whether or not you agree with Burdi that the economy is improving, you'll probably agree with him on one thing.
"I’m just happy that somebody got elected and it’s over."