One of the biggest challenges to my box company is the rising cost of health care. I am concerned about the health insurance tax, which was passed alongside Obamacare. This tax directly increases the cost of my premiums, making it harder for me to provide quality health care for my employees, at a reasonable price for them and for the company.

The health insurance tax raises the cost of every health care premium a small-business owner purchases by $500. So, for a company like mine, with 50 employees in our health care program, that’s $25,000. I can pass zero percent of that on to my customers, which means I am forced to just absorb it.

Money that could be spent hiring more people, upgrading equipment or rewarding my hardworking employees will be headed to Washington, D.C. Who do you think would use that money more effectively, Volk Packaging or the United States Congress?

The insurance tax was suspended for the current year by nearly 400 members of Congress, who realized just how badly this tax unfairly targets small-business owners. We need Sen. Susan Collins to help make sure the insurance tax is suspended again for 2018. Frankly, it would be better to just get rid of it, but a suspension is better than nothing.

On behalf of small-business owners across Maine, we hope she makes another one-year delay of the health insurance tax a priority. Neither my family business nor her family business can afford it.

Derek Volk

president, Volk Packaging Corp.