Washington DC – Today, business leaders across the country called on Congress to end costly Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent and reinvest in America. More than 600 small business owners and other business leaders signed the letter sent by the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Shared Prosperity to Congress today.
“When the first Bush tax cuts passed in 2001, our nation had a budget surplus and we were told the tax cuts would pay for themselves by boosting economic growth and job creation,” said Eric Henry, president of TS Designs in Burlington, NC. “Anyone who didn’t realize that was bunk then should know it now. These tax breaks didn’t pay for themselves, didn’t strengthen our economy, and didn’t create jobs, at least not here in America. We need to restore taxes to the level needed to invest in our economy and our people, investments that strengthen our productivity and lead to more jobs.”
“Wall Street wheelers and dealers would get no sympathy saying that ending the high-income Bush tax cuts would hurt them, so instead they pretend it would hurt Main Street small business and employment,” said Camille Moran, President and CEO of Caramor Industries LLC and Four Seasons Christmas Tree Farm in Louisiana. “Don’t fall for it. Extending the tax cuts on income above $250,000 would cost our nation almost $1 trillion over the next decade. That’s a trillion dollars less we would have for education, roads, security, small business assistance and all of the other things that actually help our communities and small businesses.”
“Small business owners believe the pathway to economic growth and job creation is more investment in Main Street America – not continued tax cuts for the top 2 percent paid for by everyone else. The last thing we need is more layoffs of teachers, first responders and infrastructure workers, or cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security called for by many Wall Street and Big Business CEOs,” said Scott Klinger, Tax Policy Director of Business for Shared Prosperity.
In the Letter to Congress, the business leaders said, “In the last decade, we have been cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans and underfunding vital programs to pay for them. Large and growing budget cuts have had a severe impact on business, particularly micro and small business and job creation – reducing funding for infrastructure improvements, community economic development programs, housing, job training and much more. America’s failing infrastructure is starved of funds and falling further behind our global competitors. … The high-end tax cuts are hurting our economy. It’s time to end them, not extend them. This would be an important step in rebuilding an economy that grows our small businesses and middle class.”
“Contrary to what tax cut defenders claim, job creation is driven by customer demand, not taxes,” said Josh Knauer, president and CEO of Rhiza Labs, a Pittsburgh-based software company. “Businesses don't pay taxes on their total revenues; they pay taxes on their income after deducting expenses like the cost of hiring and paying employees. My business would be hurt far more by allowing the tax cuts for America's most fortunate to continue and instead slashing budgets for things like public education, research and infrastructure to pay for them. Tax dollars were a vital component in America's past innovations and infrastructure, fostering economic success. Tax dollars remain a vital component of our economy today.”
In the six years between the 2001 Bush tax cuts and the Great Recession, employment grew just 4.8 percent compared with 16.2 percent in the six years after President Clinton’s 1993 tax increase. The vast majority of small business owners have less than $250,000 in taxable income and receive the middle-class tax cuts, not the extra tax cuts for the wealthy. Less than 3 percent of households with business income are above the $250,000 threshold, and that includes hedge fund managers, corporate lobbyists, big business CEOs paid to sit on the boards of other big corporations, and wealthy people renting out their vacation homes.
“The record is clear that lower tax rates for the highest incomes don’t generate better job creation,” said David Levine, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council. “Congress should seize this unique moment to end these tax cuts and drive investment in our infrastructure, education and other critical areas that strengthen our economy for long-term job creation.”
The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and its member organizations represent more than 150,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers and investors. ASBC informs and engages policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant and sustainable economy. www.asbcouncil.org
Business for Shared Prosperity (BSP) is a national network of forward thinking business owners, executives and investors, and is an ASBC member. BSP produced the report, The Business Case for Restoring Tax Rates for High-Income Taxpayers to Pre-Bush Levels. www.businessforsharedprosperity.org