Weighing in on Election Issues, Small Business Owners Say Presidential Candidates Should Release Tax Returns, Support Raising Taxes on Wealthy

Weighing in on Election Issues, Small Business Owners Say Presidential Candidates Should Release Tax Returns, Support Raising Taxes on Wealthy

For Immediate Release: June 11, 2019

Contact: Conan Knoll, (831) 524-6764, conan@emcstrategies.com

Scientific opinion poll finds nearly two-thirds of small business owners support legislation requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns, and support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations

Washington, D.C., June 11, 2019—A public opinion poll released today by Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform on issues related to the 2020 presidential campaign shows that most small business owners support legislation requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns, and support increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

The national poll of 501 small business owners shows that 62% support requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates, and presidents and vice presidents, to release at least 10 years of tax returns, including their business and personal returns. In addition, 64% of small business owners support increasing taxes on the wealthy, a tax hike that 53% said would not hurt small firms. Three-quarters of respondents said their annual income is $100,000 or less.

“The new tax law did not help my company invest in my employees or my business. We paid a fair amount in taxes and definitely more than Amazon did. We also paid for more legal and accounting advice to help us figure out the new tax law. So, all in all, it was a burden for my small business that is already running pretty lean,” said Sabina Chen, owner of Micro-Precision Technologies in Salem, New Hampshire. “As a citizen, tax payer, and business owner, I think it’s ridiculous that the president has not released his tax returns. This should be required by law. Public servants are elected to serve the public, not to create laws and loopholes that benefit themselves and their donors.”

The poll, fielded March 26-27, 2019 by Morning Consult, also found that 48% of small business owners say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had no impact on the growth or profitability of their business, and 24% said it had a negative impact. Only 19% of owners said the law had a positive impact on their business. The vast majority of respondents said the new law didn’t allow them to hire more employees, give employees raises, offer employees bonuses, pay off a business loan, or invest in new equipment or construction. Additionally, the majority of respondents said they did not have an easier time filing their business’s taxes.

“Lawmakers sold this law as a boon for small businesses and their customer base—the middle class. Instead, large corporations and the wealthy reaped great rewards while the majority of small business owners have seen no significant impact,” said Frank Knapp, Jr., Co-chair of Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform and the President & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, which he co-founded in 2000. “It’s no wonder small business owners want to see candidates’ tax returns. They want to know how much a president stands to benefit when passing these kinds of laws. They also want the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.”

Sixty-five percent of respondents support partially rolling back the 40% cut corporations received to fund policies to help small businesses. The poll found that tax policies small business owners support include making the first $25,000 in profit for a small business tax-free, simplifying the tax code, giving small businesses some relief on payroll taxes and equalizing the tax savings rate between small pass-through businesses and corporations.

“Small business owners clearly want tax reform back on the national agenda. They want transparency from candidates and a tax code that ensures everyone pays their fair share and promotes entrepreneurship and small business success,” Knapp said. “Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. When they speak, it behooves all of us to listen.”

Of note, 35% of respondents identify as Republican, 34% as Democrat and 32% as independent, and more respondents voted for Donald Trump (38%) over Hillary Clinton (36%) in the 2016 election.

For the full report click here.

About Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform

Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform is a coalition of business leaders calling for tax reform that truly benefits America’s small business owners. We are dedicated to ensuring tax reform is fiscally responsible, creates a level playing field for all businesses, grows the economy and works for our nation’s 30 million small business owners. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.