The rising costs of energy, health care, and taxes continue to be a main concern among small-business owners, according to a recent report by Visa USA.

Of 600 small-business owners surveyed nationwide, 75 percent said they expected energy costs to rise in the next six months, while 34 percent said they expected to boost spending on health care. Twenty percent were also worried about increased taxes. Based on a review of spending data on Visa small-business cards, average spending for tax preparation services and tax payments rose 80 percent from February 2006 to February 2007.

Despite these concerns, business owners are maintaining an optimistic outlook for the months ahead, with 45 percent of those surveyed expecting an increase in revenue and 39 percent expecting higher profits.

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