A survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) shows the critical concerns of small business owners. At the top of the list — healthcare costs, with 52% saying it’s their number one critical issue.

“Economic uncertainty” was ranked second with 40% of the vote, followed by “energy costs, except electricity,” in third place with 35% of the response. “Uncertainty over government actions” was tied in third place with 35% of respondents naming it their most critical issue.

Rounding out the top five issues was “unreasonable government regulations” with 34.1% of the small businesses surveyed naming it critical.

Considering that these owners could face a crushing tax hike after November, as well as the full implementation of Obamacare, their future is in question. It is hard for me to fathom why anyone would start a business, or contemplate hiring more people, in the current anti-business environment. And, since small businesses create the majority of jobs, I wonder where the jobs will come from. With an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent in this state, how long can North Carolinians continue to endure this economic misery? We must chart a new course.