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.
Washington spends a lot of time talking about the importance of small businesses – but not nearly enough time passing legislation that actually helps small businesses grow and thrive.
Small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs, and have supported 55 percent of all jobs since the 1970s. In cities hit hard by the recession, like Detroit, small employers have been particularly vital in rebuilding struggling neighborhoods. And, entrepreneurs continue to be leaders in innovating and finding better ways to solve old problems.
Clearly, small businesses are crucial to keeping our economy humming and our communities strong. Yet, Washington is more focused on paying lip service to small businesses than actually passing policies that help them thrive.
Chronicle business columnist Thomas Lee should be embarrassed to have his name grace “Debunking the moral superiority of ‘small businesses’” — a column clearly written by someone who doesn’t understand small businesses. Our groups don’t always agree on policies affecting small businesses, but we do agree that small businesses are the foundation of our economy, and lumping them into one narrow, ideological box buys into a long-standing myth that many in the political sphere would have everyone believe.
The unfortunate truth is that lawmakers often advance policies that favor large corporations over Main Street. And here’s where Lee missed the boat: the good reputation of small-business owners is often hijacked by these very lawmakers to justify policies that have no benefit to, and in some cases harm, America’s entrepreneurs.
Small businesses are politically, socially and economically diverse. While they want to be heard on the issues that are important to them, they are hardly monolithic in their views. Lee buys in to the false notion that small-business owners are lockstep in their support of policies — a view unscrupulous lawmakers and lobbyists have spent a long time trying to foster.
Some work has been done recently to address tax loopholes for large corporations, such as the notorious corporate tax inversions, which put small businesses at a disadvantage, but more needs to be done to help level the playing field for small businesses.
Small business owners across the country are putting countless hours into their companies, working hard to sustain and grow their businesses and with them, our economy. While the success of small businesses is key to our full economic recovery, the path to economic stability is threatened when a select few are given special tax treatment. Continue reading
Originally published in The Huffington Post
Every year around this time, we think about what the year ahead might bring and how we can make it better than the last. To make 2014 a success, we must find ways to bolster our still-recovering economy. Supporting the middle class is one way to do that. A recent study indicates income inequality is at the highest it’s been in 100 years, with the top 10 percent of earners taking more than half the country’s total income in 2012. In order to close this immense income gap and strengthen our economy, America needs smart policies that will help grow the middle class, and small businesses need to be top-of-mind when crafting these plans.
Entrepreneurs know firsthand how vital the middle class is to our economic recovery. Their primary customer base is made up of middle class individuals and the vast majority of small employers themselves are middle class. In fact, Small Business Majority’s recent polling found only 5 percent of small business owners reported earning more than $250,000 a year, and research conducted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reveals that seven in 10 entrepreneurs come from a middle class background. Continue reading