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Small Business to Washington: Reduce the Debt Congress's top priority should be reducing the national deficit, according to entrepreneurs.

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If it were up to small-business owners, lawmakers' No. 1 priority would be reducing the U.S. deficit.

The national debt is expected to shrink to $845 billion this year, or 5.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office out this week. In the next decade, however, the deficit is projected to be equivalent to 77 percent of GDP if current laws don't change, according to the report from CBO, the nonpartisan agency that produces analyses of budgetary and economic issues.

Rising health-care costs for an aging population and ever-increasing interest payments on the debt are the primary reasons the deficit is expected to rise, the report from CBO says.

Related: Obamacare Made Simple, Courtesy of SBA

The ballooning budget deficit is a thorn in the side of small-business owners, according to a report released Wednesday from the National Small Business Association, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan organization that advocates for entrepreneurs. Four in ten small-business owners surveyed say that reducing the national deficit should be Congress' No.1 priority, the report found. More than 400 small-business owner members of the NSBA were surveyed at the end of December and in early January for the report.

After reducing the deficit, simplifying the tax system and reducing the tax burden tied as the most critical issue Congress should address, the NSBA survey found.

Related: Entrepreneurs Could Benefit from New Research and Development Tax Credit

Business owners are planners: They like to be able to see into the future clearly and set an agenda. All of the turmoil in Washington has added to economic uncertainty, which is cited as the most pressing challenge to the growth and survival of small businesses, survey results show. Almost seven in 10 business owners picked economic uncertainty as one of three "most significant challenges."

What is your biggest challenge in running your business right now? How does the national budget deficit affect your decision-making strategies? Leave a note below and let us know.

Catherine Clifford

Frequently covers crowdfunding, the sharing economy and social entrepreneurship.

Catherine Clifford is a senior writer at Previously, she was the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Catherine attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Email her at You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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