Even before the super committee decided to not decide on Monday, small business owners were skeptical it would deliver on promises to cut the deficit and create programs that would help the economy move forward.
CNBC.com asked members of its Small Business Council, a panel of 16 businessmen and women around the country, what they expected from the super committee, and how their recommendations could affect the way they do business.
Responses from some of our council members demonstrate the frustration main street has as bipartisan interests take precedence over any true solutions to issues such as tax reform, unemployment and consumer confidence.
“The only decision that will negatively affect my business is no decision,” writes Beezer Molton, founder and president of Half Moon Outfitters, a chain of outdoor stores based in North Charleston, N.C. “It would prove the suspicion that D.C.’s dysfunction is completely pervasive. Consumer sentiment hinges on this issue,” notes the retailer, but ultimately, it’s not the biggest concern he has.
“I am mostly concerned about cuts that negatively affect the environment, education, and our state and national parks,” he says.
Defense contractor Cristi Cristich speaks for many when she expresses her frustration with the lack of decision making in Washington. “We really need some clarity out here on main street on both tax policy and on cuts so we can move forward,” says the founder and CEO of Anaheim, Calif.-based Cristek Interconnects. “As a defense contractor I will be directly affected by any cuts, but will take my medicine as long as entitlement programs get in touch with reality as part of the overall plan. Raising taxes and increasing regulatory burdens will make it exponentially harder to make ends meet in this climate.”
While we now know the super committee isn’t going to be the decider on spending cuts, Joseph Dutra's concerns about tax reform remain. “One issue is whether this comprehensive reform will encompass both individuals and corporations,” says the president and CEO of Kimmie Candy Co.,in Reno Nev.
“The Administration has pushed for corporate reform, which will result in significant tax increases for many small businesses, who file taxes at the individual rate. If business deductions are eliminated in an effort to lower the overall corporate rate, it will leave small-business taxpayers exposed to significantly higher taxes without the benefit of a lower rate.” Business owners, he concludes, need to be given long-term certainty and clarity regarding their future tax rates.
Taxer are certainly top of mind. Says Larry Mocha, president of Air Power Systems Co., in Tulsa, Okla., "The current tax system is not fair. Everyone should pay taxes and the flat tax is one way I see to equalize the burden of taxation. While there are other ways to assess taxation fairly, the premise of everyone participating is necessary and should be a requirement for voting."
The committee's inability to come to any decisions was most upsetting for David Grenier, president of Greiner Buick GMC in Victorville, Calif. "The super committees decision is not as important as the ability of this committee to prove that they can come to a decision. It is imperative that government prove that it can efficiently set policy for business and consumer confidence to build. The manner in which the super committee raises taxes and/or cuts spending are far less consequential than the proof that government can depoliticize itself and govern."
And, from Mark Schupan, president and CEO of Schupan & Sons, in Kalamazoo, Mich.: "The inability for the super committee to find any solution has already affected our business. Reinforcing Congress’ inability to compromise and the continued blame-game of politics has affected the commodity and stock markets in a major, negative way. Our company’s metal pricing is determined by commodity trading.
And their uncertainty about what to expect extends beyond main street.
Says Molton: “Europe’s woes are a bigger potential drag than anything the super committee might or might not come up with.”