The Voice of Small-Business Owners on Extending the Tax Rates

By December 10, 2010Small Business, Taxation

If politicos and pundits are going to keep up the incessant attacks against “tax breaks for millionaires” and “tax cuts for the wealthy,” we’re going to continue to repeat the reality: More than 70 percent of manufacturers file as individuals under the U.S. tax code and could be hit by higher taxes if the 2001 and 2003 rates are allowed to expire.

That’s just a trade association spinning? Well, consider these owners of small businesses across the country, speaking from knowledge of their businesses and personal tax status. (Thanks to the office of soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner for compiling these accounts.)

  • “If the tax cuts went away, [W. Shane] Reeves [co-owner of Reeves Sain drugstores] would have had to pay more in personal income taxes on his company’s profits. That would’ve affected plans to invest in information technology, add more space and expand the company’s delivery fleet.  ‘Overall, the environment we’re all in right now has got everybody nervous,’ Reeves said. ‘But with (expiration of) the tax cuts looming, it just felt like it was going to get worse.’” (The Tennessean, 12/9/10)
  • “For small business owners, the uncertainty and stakes are even greater.  … It takes capital to run a business, said Tom Mercier, owner of BOPI, a 60-employee printing and marketing logistics company in Bloomington.  …  With printing industry margins only in the 2 to 3 percent range, higher taxes complicate decisions on whether to give pay raises, and how to cover rising health care costs, he said. … The tax cuts are a hot topic for business and individual clients at Henning, Strouse, Jordan and Stephens, a tax and accounting firm in Bloomington, said managing member Mark Nicholas.  He said months of uncertainty — a bipartisan agreement was roughed out Monday — have delayed important decisions by businesses: Can we expand? Can we buy new equipment? Can we hire?  ‘People are definitely holding off on the answers to those questions,’ Nicholas said…‘The uncertainty — that’s the real problem.’” (The Pantagraph, 12/8/10)
  • “In Fort Myers, Rustin ‘Rusty’ Jenkins lost his first plumbing business during the region’s new-construction bust, and started over by launching Dynamiq Plumbing, a smaller firm specializing in repairs and remodeling. He’s been clawing his way back to profitability since mid-2008.  ‘I’m no expert on taxes … I’m working 14 hours a day,’ Jenkins said, adding that ‘if I have to pay more taxes, it will be harder to pay my help. It’s a snowball effect.” (The News-Press, 12/8/10)
  • “Jim Murphy, president of EST Analytical, which makes environmental testing equipment, was previously uncertain about his hiring plans. ‘I was feeling like between health care costs rising and our tax burden rising to 39.6%, it was pretty dicey, especially when you have so much uncertainty remaining in the economy,’ he says.  Now, he says, ‘I know the government is not going to take anymore of our money out, so I’m fairly optimistic going into next year.’” (USA Today, 12/8/10)
  • “‘It’s a huge stress for us,’ [Small-business owner Brian ] Nichols said. ‘When we really don’t really know what is going to happen with our money, with our taxes, we get to the point where we’re afraid to spend.’  … ‘I don’t feel rich at all,’ Nichols said. ‘Do I categorize myself as higher income? Absolutely not. Do I believe the government should get their act together and spend our money more wisely? Absolutely. That’s what we’ve had to do as small businesses, and that’s what we expect.’” (The Deseret News, 12/7/10)
  • “Like many small business-owners, [Jim] Bushman’s household income is more than $200,000. But because of the way his business is incorporated, his personal and business taxes are intertwined. So if his personal income taxes increases, that money is pulled out of his business, he said‘I’m hoping they extend it – we’ve got a lot of equipment needs we’d like to invest in, and the last thing I want is to have to pay more taxes,’ said Bushman, whose company employs more than 200 workers.  Bushman expects a negative impact on sales, too, should Congress fail to act. He helps supply heavy equipment to other small businesses; a higher tax bill for those businesses could mean they’ll have less money to buy Bushman’s equipment.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/6/10)

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