Small Biz Owners Support Ending Top Tax Cuts, Poll Finds

A majority of small business owners agree that ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners is the right course for the nation, according to a new poll from the Small Business Majority.

The poll reflects a pragmatic spirit among small business owners, with nearly 6 in 10 saying that government can play a productive role in helping small businesses thrive. 

More than half of the respondents reported that their business income is passed through to their personal taxes but only 5% said they earned more than $250,000 a year and would be impacted by a repeal of the top tax cuts. Even some whose income ranks among the top thought it was time to end the top tax cuts, as United Press International reported:

Ann Zimmerman of Cincinnati, who owns an accounting firm and an Internet solutions company, said she would be one of the upper 2 percent who would see their rates return to those in effect when Bill Clinton occupied the White House.

The argument against letting high-end tax rates expire is "purely political," Zimmerman said. "I happen to be in the top tax bracket and I'm in favor of letting them expire."

The majority of businesses would be unaffected by the expiration, she said.

"These are the job creators that can drive the economic recovery," she added.

This poll made me think of an op-ed a few months back by Josh Knauer, the owner of a Pittsburgh-based software company, who made a similar case for ending the Bush tax cuts for the top. It's worth a read:

Investments in science and math education now will pay dividends later for companies like mine because we will have a broader pool of job candidates from which to hire. Tax dollars were a vital component in America's past innovations and infrastructure, fostering economic success. Tax dollars remain a vital component of our economy today. ...

My business would be hurt far more by allowing the tax cuts for America's most fortunate to continue and instead slashing budgets for things like public education, research and infrastructure to pay for them.

While the Small Business Majority poll garnered headlines for its findings on the Bush tax cuts, the poll sheds light on how small business owners come down on a number of issues, including the role of government in building a stronger economy. A few highlights:

  • By a 5-to-4 ratio, a majority believes the most important job for Congress and the president next year is crafting a plan to create jobs as opposed to a plan to reduce the deficit. 
  • Two-thirds of respondents support taxing hedge fund managers at higher wage and salary rates instead of the capital gains rate of 15%.
  • 72% favored eliminating tax loopholes for large corporations.
  • A majority of respondents identified themselves as Republicans (47%) compared to Democrats (35%).

The Small Business Majority surveyed 500 small business owners by telephone between September 27 and October 12. The margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.

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