November 27, 2017
By Emma Dumain
With the Senate poised to begin consideration of the Republican-authored tax overhaul proposal this week, a new coalition of small business leaders wants to put lawmakers on notice that most of them don’t like the proposal.
Businesses for Responsible for Tax Reform is touting a poll today, shared first with McClatchy, showing 51 percent of small businesses oppose the plan, while 34 percent expressly support it. The Nov. 17-18 survey of 794 small business owners nationwide was conducted through automated telephone interviews.
Just over half of respondents — 52 percent — agreed with the statement that current proposals favor large corporations over small businesses. Fifty-eight percent said it felt wealthy corporations would benefit the most.
Sixty percent said they did not believe the current tax proposals in the House or the Senate would help level the playing field for small businesses.
Thirty-six percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 29 percent as Democrats and 35 percent as independents or “other.”
North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, which conducted the study, has a reputation for being sympathetic to left-leaning groups.
In this case, members of the coalition that commissioned the survey were already on the record as having problems with House and Senate Republicans’ vision for overhauling existing tax law.
The House passed its tax plan November 16. The Senate hopes to complete work on its version next month. If it does, House and Senate negotiators would iron out a compromise and the two chambers would vote again. Republicans want those final votes by the end of the year.
The new findings could serve as another reminder to Republicans that many in the small business community, a core constituency, is not buying what the party is currently selling.
And in what could be a sobering message to Republicans who worry about how to reconcile their fiscal conservative bona fides with a tax plan that is projected to dramatically increase the deficit, six in 10 respondents opposed increasing the national debt by at least $1.5 trillion, which the GOP proposals are estimated to do.
The three co-chairs of the new group, which is still coming together after only officially launching on Nov. 14, are well-established in their fields.
Ron Busby is president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., an association of more than 100 black Chambers of Commerce and African-American-owned small businesses around the country.
Frank Knapp is president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, which lobbies for state government to adopt policies that are friendly to small businesses on behalf of over 5,000 members.
Anne Zimmerman is president and CEO of a private accounting firm bearing her name with offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland. She is the treasurer of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors a member of the advisory council for the Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy group.