Tax Increases a Set Back for Manufacturers

By October 17, 2012General, Taxation

Anyone paying attention to political discourse over the past several years knows that manufacturing is the poster child for the economic recovery that all of Washington – and all of America – is hoping for. Hardly a Congressional debate – or campaign ad – fails to mention the need for additional American manufacturing to help boost our nation’s economic fortunes and return us to the days of strong economic growth. Yet in the same breath, all too often, comes the observation, from far too many, that part of what needs to happen to bring a resurgence in American manufacturing is the implementation of a plan to get our nation’s debt and deficits under control and somehow a key piece of that mantra has become the need to raise taxes on “high income earners” who pay taxes at the top two marginal tax rates.

This position belies the fact that study after study has shown that nearly 1 million small businesses fall into this category, and these are the very businesses that have been successful, surviving the economic storm of the past several years. These are the businesses, including nearly two-thirds of manufacturers organized as a flow-through entity and pay taxes on their business income at individual marginal rates, who are the source of growth, hiring, and investing. Additionally, and central to this whole debate, is the reality that allowing the top two rate cuts enacted in the 2001 and 2003 tax bills to expire would only raise enough money to operate the federal government for about a week – certainly in no way enough additional revenue to put a serious dent in the nation’s deficits.

What manufacturers have been saying for some time now is that in order to bring about Manufacturing Renaissance, we need to make America the best place in the world to manufacture goods. Among other things, this includes a tax code that is simple, fair and most critically – permanent. We applaud elected officials from both sides who have taken up the mantle of the need for comprehensive tax reform. One of these, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey addressed some of these issues in an op-ed today urging Congress to not raise income taxes. In order for manufacturers to succeed they need to have capital on hand to invest and compete and grow. For the nearly two-thirds of manufacturers organized as a flow-through, increasing marginal rates has a direct impact in their ability to have the capital to make these investments.

Once this election season comes to a close we are hopeful that both parties will come together and recognize that what is most needed now is an injection of stability for a shaky economy and extend today’s tax rates for at least a year and during that time undertake a serious comprehensive effort to reform entitlements, revamp our antiquated tax code and change the debt trajectory of our nation. This effort is what is needed to fix the systemic problems facing our nation, not raising taxes on small and medium sized businesses.

Carolyn Lee

Carolyn Lee

Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute at The Manufacturing Institute
Carolyn Lee is Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest industrial trade association. Carolyn drives an agenda focused on improving the manufacturing industry through its three centers: the Center for the American Workforce, the Center for Manufacturing Research, and the Center for Best Practices.

In her role, Carolyn leads the Institute’s workforce efforts to close the skills gap and inspire all Americans to enter the U.S. manufacturing workforce, focusing on women, youth, and veterans. Carolyn steers the Institute’s initiatives and programs to educate the public on manufacturing careers, improve the quality of manufacturing education, engage, develop and retain key members of the workforce, and identify and document best practices. In addition, Carolyn drives the agenda for the Center for Manufacturing Research, which partners with leading consulting firms in the country. The Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

Prior to joining the Institute, Carolyn was Senior Director of Tax Policy at the NAM beginning in 2011, where she was responsible for key portions of the NAM’s tax portfolio representing the manufacturing community on Capitol Hill and in the business community and working closely with the NAM membership. She served as the Director of Legislative and Government Affairs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, Manager of State and Federal Government Affairs for 3M Company, and in various positions on Capitol Hill including as Legislative Director for former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and as a senior legislative staff member for former U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY).

Carolyn is a graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania graduating with a B.A. in Political Science. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children.
Carolyn Lee

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