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On Tuesday, NSBA First Vice Chair David Ickert, of Air Tractor, Inc., in Olney,Texas, participated in a high level discussion at the White House on the deficit and other economic issues pertaining to small business. The meeting was led by President Barack Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Jeffrey Zients
Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Ickert was among 15 small-business owners in attendance.
This meeting comes on the heels of other, targeted White House meetings in recent weeks with small-business owners and representatives including NSBA President and CEOTodd McCrackenand NSBA Board Member Bob Schmidt. Tuesday’s meeting was seen as the small-business answer to two other recent, high-level White House meetings on the deficit for large company CEO’s and labor groups.
Ickert outlined the key issues facing small business, namely the looming fiscal cliff and sequestration. He reiterated the importance of some kind of reasonable phase-out of any tax changes so as to prevent further economic problems for the small-business community, and urged policymakers to look beyond just the near-term issues and seek a bold, long-term solution to the deficit. Any such solution must include broad tax reform, pragmatic spending cuts and entitlement reform.
“Now is the time for our elected officials to lead our country out of this financial mess we are in,” stated Ickert. “The sheer lack of a path forward is, has been, holding back growth for many small businesses.”
Given the ongoing pressure economic uncertainty has created forAmerica’s small-business owners, they have repeatedly ranked addressing the deficit the number one thing they want Congress and the administration to work on, according to NSBA’s Economic Reports.
While there was broad agreement that a middle class tax package needed to be enacted, Ickert, and others at the meeting acknowledged that, because 83 percent of small businesses pay taxes on their business at the personal income level, raising income taxes even on even higher-income individuals will impact some small businesses. However, complexity impacts all small businesses, Ickert stated, and he said that needs to be a top priority moving forward.
Underscoring the need for eased complexity, Ickert said, “More small businesses cite complexity and administrative burdens as the biggest problem with the tax code than those that cite the financial burden.”
Ickert urged policymakers on both sides of the aisle to embrace their support of small business, and work together to find a solution, to do so quickly and do so in a manner that promotes economic growth and entrepreneurship.