November 1: Small Businesses to Supercomm: Tax Reform Should Restore Lost Revenue, Not Reward Tax Dodgers
Click here to read the joint press release from the Main Street Alliance, Business for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council.
Click here to read the joint business letter to the Congressional Supercommittee.
See related quotes from Main Street Alliance leaders:
“Let me get this straight – the same corporate players that routinely use their market power to steamroll over small businesses are now asking us to foot the bill for their tax holidays?” said Aimee McQuilkin, owner of Betty’s Divine in Missoula, MT, referring to a push by the “WIN America Campaign” for a temporary or even permanent tax holiday for the return of off-shored profits. McQuilkin serves on the steering committee of the Montana Small Business Alliance, affiliated with the national Main Street Alliance network. “Enough is enough,” she added. “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should be paying your way.”
“At a time of unprecedented long-term unemployment, a glaring need for investment in our crumbling infrastructure and an educated workforce, and a realization that some of our largest banks and Fortune 500 companies are sitting on trillions of dollars – unwilling or unable to invest and hire American workers – our government has a responsibility to raise the revenues necessary to assure our economic recovery,” said Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon and co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon. “There’s no excuse for delay now, given the length and depth of our current economic crisis.”
On October 20, an all-star team of small business leaders from across the Main Street Alliance network made the trek to Washington, DC to represent the voice of Main Street small businesses in the nation’s capital.
Business owners came from Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington to participate in meetings on Capitol Hill. In a day and a half, the team conducted close to 20 meetings with Senate and House offices, including three face to face meetings with U.S. Senators.
The group held wide-ranging conversations with congressional offices, covering topics including job creation and regulations, revenues and investment, health care, immigration reform, and fixing the housing market.
Some Hill staffers acknowledged that it was helpful – and refreshing – to hear from real small business owners back in their home states and districts, and to hear business owners with a different perspective on topics like taxes and regulations than you hear from the inside-the-beltway business lobbies. Mission accomplished!
Here’s a quick taste of some of the issues the group discussed in meetings on Capitol Hill:
Job Creation & Anti-Regulatory Attacks
Despite all the rhetoric in DC about “regulations,” what small businesses need is customers – demand – not deregulation. The focus on rolling back regulations is counterproductive in two ways. First, it distracts from the real issue, which is rebuilding the small business customer base. Second, the rules and standards that are under threat of being rolled back (financial reform, clean air, health insurance market reforms) are ones that protect small businesses and the communities they rely on from mistreatment by big corporate interests. Rolling back these standards and rules would only shift more risk and more costs onto the shoulders of small businesses.
See MSA’s 10 “dos and don’ts” for job creation
Revenues and Taxes
On revenues and taxes, Main Street Alliance small business owners stand squarely in support of efforts to raise revenues by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending the abuse of off-shore tax havens, and generally ensuring that large corporations and the wealthy are paying their dues. As MSA Executive Committee member Kelly Conklin puts it, “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should be paying your way.” Raising revenues in these ways would generate resources for important investments in infrastructure and job creation, and it would level the playing field for small businesses (who don’t have access to things like off-shore tax havens) at the same time.
At the same time, MSA small business owners are strongly opposed to the push for a repatriation “tax holiday” for large multinational companies, or to giving big corporations a permanent tax holiday – and permanent incentive to off-shore jobs and profits – through what’s called a “territorial” tax system.
See the recent coalition letter MSA signed onto about tax reform
On health care, the MSA delegation discussed important advances in health care reform, and highlighted opportunities to continue building on health reform to maximize the benefits for small businesses.
The MSA delegation in DC also discussed the importance of a comprehensive approach to immigration reform for businesses, workers, and the economy. Enforcement-only policies like the mandatory E-Verify proposal currently in the House of Representatives would be bad for small businesses, bad for the workforce, and bad for the country’s bottom line.
See MSA’s fact sheet about the dangers of mandatory E-Verify
Fixing the Housing Market
On the importance of dealing with the mortgage crisis to create the space for consumer demand to bounce back and help drive the economic recovery, MSA’s small business owners believe more needs to be done. A newly announced program that may allow 1 to 2 million homeowners to refinance is a positive step, but with an estimated 11 million homeowners underwater in their homes, Congress and the Administration should advance proposals for mortgage modification and refinancing on a much larger scale to truly get at the problem of stifled consumer demand.