December 17, 2012

Another View: Tax hike on highest earners would not hurt small business


Like 97 percent of independent business owners, I would not be affected by federal tax rates on the wealthiest taxpayers going up as envisioned by President Obama in his deficit-reduction proposal.

But if I were in that rarefied group of not-so-small businesses that would be asked under the plan to contribute a little more to our national finances, I would be more than willing to do so. After all, I could afford it, and our country needs the money.

The president proposes allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire on the amount of a taxpayer's annual income that exceeds $250,000. For a business, taxable income means profit, not revenue. So a business owner would have to clear a quarter million dollars in a year to be subject to any higher tax -- and only 3 percent of us do that.

Moreover, I'm not just a business owner -- I'm also a Medicare recipient. So though I never want to pay unnecessary taxes, I'm equally concerned that the government have adequate resources to meet public needs.

Allowing tax rates on our nation's highest incomes to return to the rates that prevailed as recently as the Clinton administration would raise a trillion dollars over the next decade, money that could be used to not only pay down debt but to strengthen Medicare and other mainstays of middle-class prosperity.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins often express an admirable concern for how public policies -- including tax policy -- will affect small business. This is one small business (and I know many more) that would be best served by a federal budget put on a sounder basis by a return to more equitable tax rates.

But it's not just my business I'm worried about; it's my country. Because I'm not just a business owner, or a Medicare recipient: I'm a citizen.

David Gray of Gray is a small-business owner.

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