Small business owners expect to spend record amounts in 2004, according to City Business Journals Network. Seventy-eight percent of 900 people surveyed said they expect business prospects to improve over the next 12 months, 18% said they expect them to stay the same, and 4% said they will get worse.

More interestingly, 32% of small business owners expect to increase spending in 2004, up significantly from the 20% who said so during the boom year of 1999. Of mid-size business owners, 47% plan to increase spending in the coming year. Areas slated for spending include technology, telecommunications and office equipment.

"Optimism is back among business owners," said Godfrey Phillips, vice president of research and marketing for City Business Journals Network. "For the first time in nearly three years, planned spending among small business owners is near record levels."

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