Policymakers at all levels, from town councils to the halls of Capitol Hill, emphasize the challenges of small businesses as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling in four states—Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin—reveals small businesses feel their government officials don’t actually understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their elected officials.
Lawmakers dodged an economic bullet at the end of 2012 when they came to an 11th hour agreement on the highly publicized “fiscal cliff” issue. Not two months later, policymakers have yet another obstacle in their path that could have dire consequences for small business and the economy: what’s known in D.C. parlance as “sequestration.” The sequester is a host of automatic spending cuts set to begin March 1 because lawmakers haven’t agreed on a deal to reduce the deficit by their self-imposed deadline.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create the vast majority of new jobs, yet as these poll findings make clear, small business owners believe large corporations and wealthy Americans pay less than their fair share of taxes. Poll respondents support specific reforms to address the problem.
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 Business Majority released a scientific opinion poll on small business owners’ attitudes regarding tax reform. While current proposals are being sold as a boon for small businesses in a struggling economy, small business owners are in fact generally optimistic about the economy and rate healthcare, rather than taxes, as their top concern. Further, small business owners want Congress to prioritize making the tax system fair for small businesses over tax cuts.
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.
In today’s political climate, a lot of political leaders talk about wanting to help small business, but oftentimes don’t take their actual comments and concerns into consideration when working on key policy issues, like tax reform and healthcare. That’s why we tackled this challenge head on at Small Business Majority’s 2017 Policy Forum, which brought 50 small business leaders from around the country to our nation’s capital to discuss how to promote policy reforms that will help small businesses thrive.
Everyone knows that reforming America’s tax system is among the tougher tasks lawmakers consider every year, which is why our tax code has undergone few significant changes over the last two decades. This slow pace of progress, however, is deeply harmful to small businesses that are consistently held back by tax rules that favor large corporations while hindering small firms.
September 8 marks the centennial of the estate tax, which establishes a tax on certain estates that are transferred as inheritance. To mark the occasion, we’ll likely see many pundits calling for the abolition of this tax and knocking its impact on small businesses. But the reality is that the estate tax, which only applies to estates valued above $5.4 million, impacts very few small businesses. Instead of worrying about a tax that affects only the very wealthy, we should take this time to focus on the real tax issues that hurt small businesses - like inversions and other loopholes that favor larger corporations at the expense of Main Street.
What happens when you put more than 100 small business owners in a room together to discuss the biggest issues facing small businesses today? That’s what we found out during our inaugural Small Business Leadership Summit, a three-day event of education, collaboration and action that took place May 11-13 in our nation’s capitol.