The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

In House hearing, Small Business Owners Respond to the Republican Tax Law

From coast to coast, small business owners are speaking out about how the GOP tax law hurts them.


Today, as the House Ways & Means Tax Policy Subcommittee held a hearing on tax reform and small businesses, small business owners from across America shared their stories with committee members about how the Republican tax law hurt their businesses, employees, and communities. The Republican tax law gave Wall Street a massive tax cut while leaving Main Street with a tangled web of complexity, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and higher taxes. Far from fostering small business growth or enabling them to hire, it will cost the average small business owner more to hire accountants and lawyers to detangle the new tax code than they would reap in any tax cuts.

The Main Street Alliance, a national network of small business owners, released a report in April 2018 about early impacts of the Republican tax law, and today six small business owners from the Main Street Alliance, contributed testimony about their concerns about how the new law will affect their livelihoods:

ReShonda Young, owner of Popcorn Heaven in Waterloo, IA, on healthcare (video of ReShonda's testimony being read in today's hearing is available here):

"The Republican tax law is not what my business needs to create jobs and grow. I've talked with my accountant, and the nominal tax cut I might receive won't cause me to grow my business or hire more employees. In fact, this tax law makes me worried more than anything. I'm worried about my employees' and customers' access to quality, affordable healthcare. In order to pay for the tax cuts to wealthy corporations, Republicans are sabotaging the ACA by repealing the individual mandate. Coupled with other effort by the Trump Administration, including the expansion of short-term and junk health plans, premiums are increasing by double digit numbers, while the quality of coverage is decreasing."Read ReShonda's full story.

Davis Senseman, founder of Davis Law Office in Minneapolis, MN, on increased complexity for small businesses:

"The new tax law is so confusing that tax accountants and lawyers are the only ones who are going to grow their business and hire more employees as a result of it. Even then, there's so much uncertainty in the law that it's really hard to find an accountant who can give you a simple yes or no answer about whether you should restructure your small business into an S-corp or an LLC. Uncertainty is never your friend when running a business, and there are so many things about this bill that are uncertain. We simply don't know how much of it is going to be interpreted. Just wait until next April, when people are trying to guess what they should be doing."Read Davis' full story.

Maurice Rehming, owner of O'Neill Construction Group in Portland, OR, on how the GOP tax bill will affect his construction business after Republicans capped the deduction on state and local taxes:

"A large part of our business comes from public contracts. The recent tax changes reduce the SALT deductions, putting pressure on public budgets. Public budgets which are already stretched thin. Not only does this mean fewer public construction projects, and less business for my company, but it means we won't be able to repair our roads and bridges or modernize our schools. If that's not bad enough, the rollbacks to the SALT deduction also make owning a home more expensive. This will lead to fewer new home purchases and renovation projects, depressing the housing market and hurting small contractors like us, and our crews of electricians, carpenters, painters, and masons."Read Maurice's full story.

Deborah Field, owner of Paperjam Press PDX in Portland, OR, on small business owners paying more and getting less as a result of the Republican tax law:

"The GOP tax plan doesn't help me or many other small businesses. I used to be a corporate tax accountant, so I am very comfortable with numbers. I calculated my tax based on the new changes, and I end up paying $700 more than last year. If Republicans really wanted to help small businesses, they would stop giving us phony tax cuts and look to the banks that are not loaning to small businesses. They would invest in policies and programs that expand access to credit and capital for small businesses. That would really help small businesses like mine grow-- trillion dollar tax breaks large corporations will not."Read Deborah's full story.

David Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, IL, on small business owners like himself not benefiting from the Republican tax law:

"For over 33 years we have created hundreds of jobs in the Chicagoland area. Ever since we started, we've been committed to providing family sustaining wages and quality, affordable healthcare to our employees. The new Republican tax law will not put more dollars in my pocket or cause me to expand my business. While I may see a nominal benefit through the pass-through deduction, it will be zeroed out by the limits on SALT deductibility. I certainly won't be able to hire more employees or provide raises to my current employees. To put it simply, I am a job creator who is decidedly not benefitting from the Republican tax law. Yet multinational corporations who offshore what were once good paying domestic jobs and profits are reaping a windfall in benefits at the expense of small businesses and middle-class taxpayers like me."Read David's full story.

Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite LLC in Kenilworth, NJ, on the need to repair and modernize our infrastructure instead of handing out massive corporate tax breaks:

"The new Republican tax law has the potential to devastate my business. My wife and I own a custom woodworking business in Kenilworth, New Jersey. The bulk of our business is conducted in New York City and the tax law -- which limits the deductibility of state and local taxes -- has already sent the City's residential real estate market into a tailspin. Home sales are on the decline. If people are not purchasing homes, they definitely aren't renovating their homes and engaging our custom carpentry services. This could be incredibly damaging to our business. Instead of a tax giveaway to ultra-rich, we should be investing in repairing and modernizing the country's crumbling infrastructure, including a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River that will relieve both rail and ground transportation congestion while markedly improving the flow of goods and people up and down the East Coast."Read Kelly's full story.

The Main Street Alliance (MSA) is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Main Street Alliance members are working throughout the country to build policies that work for business owners, their employees, and the communities they serve.