New small business owner skeptical about White House job create plan

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A local entrepreneur says the president's plan to get more small businesses to start hiring won't have him growing his payroll any time soon. President Barack Obama says next week he'll unveil his strategy to create jobs in the private sector. However, small business owner, Jerry Esters, says in this economy it's going to be a tough sell.

Esters is watching his lifelong dream of running a fitness and athletic training center for children take shape.

"Fitness has always been my first love," he said. "Since high school, I've always done something with sports and children."

When Youth In Motion opens in October, Esters says ideally there would be three full time employees and one part time staffer to run the Gulfport business.

"Starting off, until the business builds up, it's going to be me," said Esters. "I'm going to try to hold off on hiring until the first of the year due to a lot of governmental policy changes, medical requirements, tax changes. So I need to see how those things are going to adversely or positively affect me before I go and hire full time staff. "

The White House wants small business owners to take on more employees, so the administration is proposing incentives like tax cuts and increased lending.

"Businesses that are in higher demand, it may benefit those," Esters said. "Small individuals like myself, no. I'm trying to stay away from debt as much as I can because you just don't know what the future holds right now."

"Astute business people, they're going to sit on the cash that they have. Deal with the staff that they have, try to keep their businesses going until they have a clear idea of what the future holds."

Esters says the government can be most helpful by doing less.

"What they say is, 'We're trying to create jobs.' Let the market do that. Let the demand create the jobs," he said. "Let the entrepreneurs take the reigns. If government can assist, let them assist a little bit and not be the lead. There's just too much bureaucracy in our government to be able to do that."

WLOX talked to a few small business owners and they say they're not sure the proposed tax cuts would be enough to get them to hire more employees. That's because they say they'll face more expenses once the new health care reform takes effect.

The August jobs report showed the private sector added 7,000 new jobs last month, upward the numbers from June and July. However, unemployment rose to 9.6 percent.

Administration officials say a big new stimulus bill like last year's $814 billion measure is not in the mix. Obama said he'd be proposing a new set of ideas next week. He's likely to detail them during a speech on the economy Wednesday in Cleveland.

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