#SmallBizSaturday: Help Family-Owned Manufacturers Succeed

Coming on the heels of Thanksgiving and “Black Friday,” Small Business Saturday is a perfect opportunity for Americans to pause and contemplate the critical role small businesses play in our nation’s economy. Many small businesses are family owned and are responsible for 62 percent of the country’s employment and $5.9 trillion of the nation’s GDP. Often with deep roots, these family-owned businesses play critical roles in the philanthropic and economic heart of local communities.

The manufacturing sector has a long history of strong, family-owned businesses. They are not only mainstays of communities across the country, but are also key to our nation’s supply chain, providing well-paying jobs to millions of workers. For this reason, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has long supported the goal of repealing the “death” (or estate) tax on family-owned businesses.

The NAM has led the business community in pushing back against a proposed rule from the Treasury Department released in August that would reduce the ability of families to pass their company on to the next generation. In particular, manufacturers are concerned that the proposed regulations would severely restrict the availability of well-established minority valuation discounts in intra-family transfers of family-owned enterprises.

Manufacturers believe the proposed regulations, which incorporate some of the most sweeping changes to estate tax policies in the past 25 years, would unnecessarily increase estate and gift taxes on family-owned manufacturing companies by an estimated 30 percent or more, severely impacting the ability of owners of these family businesses to transfer their companies to the next generations.

Even with the tradition and success of family-owned businesses in our country, the long-term viability of active family-owned enterprises declines with each successive generation. According to a recent study by the Conway Center for Family Business, “one-third of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation, and of those, 12 percent are viable into the third generation, with only 3 percent of all family businesses operating at the fourth generation and beyond.” Unfortunately, for manufacturing firms, the proposed regulations have the potential to make succession planning for the next generation significantly more costly and difficult.

The NAM has long led the business community to fight for policies that help foster small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy. On this “Small Business Saturday,” join the NAM in fighting back against these proposed regulations that would harm family-owned businesses. Sign on to our petition to the Obama administration and ask it to withdraw these harmful regulations and join with us as we work with the incoming Congress and administration to pursue policies that will help grow this critical part of our nation’s economy.

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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