In the news this week:

What do small business owners think are a threat to their success? According to Interland Spring 2005 Business Barometer, it's rising inflation, trade deficit and energy shortages, as Business Week reports this week. The magazine says that "Middle East and terrorism" rank at the bottom of the list of concerns for small businesses.

Over 250 small business owners attended a forum sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Indpendant Businesses this week. They were met by seven Republican candidates running for governor. The small business owners quizzed the candidates on the state of taxes, health insurance, and government regulation. Though for the most part a tempered affair, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that, "some candidates couldn't resist swiping at the tax relief plan of front-runner Doug Forrester, the millionaire owner of a prescription benefits management business whose proposal would have the state pick up 30 percent of homeowners' property taxes in three years."

The administration seems to be trying to reassure small business owners about its plans. Hector V. Barreto, the head of the Small Business Administration, wrote a column that appeared in the Pasadena Star News arguing that Social Security reform would benefit small business, saying a lack of reform would lead to massive government borrowing, severe benefit cuts or drastically higher taxes.

Meanwhile, most states are reported to be working hard to make regulations friendly to small business. In Kansas, governor Kathleen Sebelius signed legislation to create the Kansas Health Authority that gives the governor the power to appoint a committee to explore opportunities and encourage employer participation in health plans developed by the committee for low- and modest-wage workers employed by small employers. Low-wage and modest-wage employees of small employers who have not had any insurance in the past are likely to benefit the most.

A story in the Wall Street Journal this week suggests small business owners forget their troubles and move on: "Sometimes the hardest part about being in business for yourself can be to admit when you are beat, that you are throwing good money after bad, that it is time to call it quits. Maybe there's a time to admit: It wasn't such a great idea, after all. Or if it was a good idea, it isn't a good idea now."