On Jan. 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its Citizens United decision that corporations are free to spend unlimited sums of money in elections. According to opinion polling released by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority, two-thirds of small business owners see this decision as bad for small business. The poll also shows small business owners overwhelmingly believe corporations have been given too much freedom to spend money that directly influences political campaigns.
Small businesses have become a key weapon in politicians’ arsenals when arguing for practically any policy that has an economic impact. Policies associated with the current tax debate are no exception. Countless rounds of legislative battles have been and will continue to be fought over whether small businesses will be hurt if tax breaks for high income earners are allowed to expire at the end of 2012.
Small businesses are working hard to move their companies, and our economy, beyond the recession. As much as they’ve already accomplished to lift employment levels, these entrepreneurs are not immune to the lingering effects of our disrupted financial market, and they want smart steps taken to address their needs. Contrary to the mantra that slackening Wall Street’s reins will bring economic growth, four out of five small business owners believe Wall Street should be held accountable for the practices that caused the financial crisis, through tougher rules and enforcement.
As small business owners prepare to close the books on 2012, our country is fast approaching the edge of what’s been dubbed the “fiscal cliff.” This critical situation—created by a host of tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012, coupled with billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that will be triggered if Congress and the president can’t agree on a way to reduce the deficit by year’s end—has dire consequences for small businesses. Many of the tax provisions set to expire benefit small businesses and the middle class, small businesses’ core customer base.