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Scientific Opinion Poll Finds Majority of Small Businesses Support Letting Tax Cuts for High Income Earners Expire


Washington, DC— A scientific opinion poll released today shows the majority of small businesses recognize the severity of our country’s economic situation, and believe that allowing the current tax cuts for the top 2 percent of earners to expire at the end of the year is the right thing to do given the current budget crisis. The poll also revealed small businesses understand that encouraging the middle class to grow is vital to our recovery and overwhelmingly oppose letting tax breaks for the other 98 percent of Americans lapse.
The telephone poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Small Business Majority, also revealed the widely-used small business argument for extending the high income tax cuts—that a large fraction of small businesses would be negatively affected if cuts expire because they file as individuals—is misguided. While 54 percent of small business owners surveyed said their business revenue passes through to their personal taxes, only 5 percent reported household income exceeding $250,000.
“Small business owners are pragmatic people who understand the seriousness of our country’s current budget crisis,” said John Arensmeyer, founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. “They know that spending money to maintain tax cuts that only benefit a sliver of individuals and small employers is not a smart decision for our country’s fiscal future. Small businesses are vital to our economic strength, having created 64 percent of all new jobs in this country over the last two decades. Their success is key to our economic success, therefore the small business voice is one that should be listened to and carefully considered.”
The poll also found small business owners believe government can play a role in their success, and revealed what they think Congress’s priorities should be in the near future. Nearly six in 10 small businesses feel that government can play an effective role in helping them thrive, and the majority also believes that during the next year, it is more important for Congress to focus on a plan to create jobs over reducing the deficit. Additionally, 90 percent of those surveyed support eliminating tax breaks for moving production overseas, and over 70 percent want to see tax loopholes favoring large corporations closed.
“It’s aggravating every time I hear letting high-income tax cuts expire talked about as though it’s going to put small business owners out of business,” said Anne Zimmerman, owner of Zimmerman and Company CPAs in Cincinnati, OH. “As someone who has been in that tax bracket before and who probably will again this year, I can say for certain that it has nothing to do with my hiring decisions. There is no way I would let a couple percentage points being added to my personal tax rate get in the way of business decisions—I make those decisions by considering demand for our services, plain and simple.”
Additional findings include:
  • Two-thirds of respondents support taxing hedge fund managers at wage and salary rates that currently have a top bracket of 35 percent, instead of the capital gains rate of 15 percent.
  • Entrepreneurs favor ending oil and gas subsidies and support clean energy incentives, with 63 percent of respondents wanting tax breaks for gas and oil companies to be eliminated and 56 percent supportive of extending, consolidating and enhancing key tax incentives that help encourage investments in clean energy.
  • Respondents were politically varied, with Republicans being the most dominant. Of those surveyed, 47 percent identified as Republican or independent-leaning Republican, 35 percent as Democrat or independent-leaning Democrat and 8 percent as independent.
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