Business Leaders Say 10th Anniversary of Bush Tax Cuts Nothing to Celebrate; New Report Says High-End Tax Giveaways Hurt Economy and Job Creation

Contact: Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bobkeener@businessforsharedprosperity.org

Washington, DC, June 6, 2011 – In advance of the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts on June 7, business leaders and a new report make a strong business case for restoring high-end tax rates to the pre-Bush, low unemployment era. Instead of high-end tax giveaways that undermine the economy, business owners say invest in real small business job creation and 21st century infrastructure.

See the Business for Shared Prosperity report, The Business Case for Restoring Tax Rates for High-Income Taxpayers to Pre-Bush Levels.

Scott Klinger, Business for Shared Prosperity Tax Policy Director, said, “President Bush had the worst track record for job creation since 1939. Huge tax cuts for the best-off Americans have not trickled down in small business investment, broad-based consumer purchasing power or job creation. More budget-busting tax cuts for the top won’t help Main Street, won’t hire, house or educate more people, won’t rebuild our failing infrastructure. They will widen income inequality, which is already the highest on record, undermine our economy and make us less competitive globally.”

Nearly 400 business organizations and small business owners across the country have signed a petition organized by Business for Shared Prosperity calling for an end to the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers. Signers include the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, whose more than 500,000 members are mostly small business owners, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, the American Sustainable Business Council, American Made Alliance, Green America, Responsible Wealth, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, and many more.

“As a small business owner for more than 30 years, I have to be reality based,” said Lew Prince, managing partner of Vintage Vinyl, an independent music store in St. Louis. “My company wouldn’t last a week if we kept repeating mistakes. The Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans were a big mistake. Contrary to myth, my tax rate doesn’t affect hiring. If I think I can do more business, I hire more workers. The costs of finding, hiring and paying new employees are business expenses. They’re deducted up front from our taxable income. If we give more tax cuts to the wealthy, we’ll see many more cutbacks in the public services and infrastructure that really strengthen our economy. We’re still using roads, schools, parks and hospitals built as jobs projects during the Great Depression. Wouldn't it be great if our grandchildren were using broadband, renewable energy and 21st Century infrastructure built during the Great Recession – which in the real world is far from over?”

Brian Setzler, President and Founder of TriLibrium in Portland, Ore. said, “As a certified public accountant and business owner, I know the impact of taxes up close and personal. And the claim that ending Bush-era tax cuts on income over a quarter of a million dollars will hurt the economy, reduce employment and burden small businesses is patently false.”

Frank Knapp, President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said, “Less than 3 percent of the taxpayers who receive the high-end tax cuts actually have some business income, and very few of them are what most would consider small business owners. They include partners in large corporate law firms, hedge fund managers, K Street lobbyists, high-powered consultants, Wall Street bond traders and the country’s wealthiest millionaires—all of whom claim some business income and thus are counted in IRS eyes as small businesses. Almost all real small business owners are middle-class Americans with middle-class incomes. These middle-income, Main Street small businesses are the ones we really need to help create the new jobs to lift us out of this down economy.”

“Far-sighted leaders supported policies that propelled millions of Americans into the stable middle class,” said Peter Heegaard, founder of Urban Adventure in Minneapolis and a former banker. “Today, we’re coasting along on previous generations’ investments in water treatment facilities, bridges and other essential infrastructure — and we’re leaving too many talented young people behind. Our failure to make investments today will undercut prosperity for the next generation.”

See list of current signers here. Sign-On is continuing at www.businessforsharedprosperity.org.

To arrange interviews with business organization leaders and business owners and executives around the country, contact Bob Keener at 617-610-6766 or bobkeener@businessforsharedprosperity.org.

Business for Shared Prosperity is a network of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors.

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