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Did small business win in the General Assembly?

So much has been said about the recent General Assembly session and its failure to reach a consensus on a revenue package to avert state spending cuts. Some even say we are facing a doomsday scenario. And while I don’t intend to dabble much in politics with this blog, I can’t help but wonder if maybe small business didn’t come out a winner when the clock struck midnight on Sine Die.

Certainly spending cuts will affect small business to the extent the state government consumed small business services, but would the benefit of restoring those cuts in spending have been outweighed by the tax increases needed to do so? There is room for considerable debate on this issue.

At the core of the proposed revenue package was a tax increase on individuals earning over $100,000 per year. This would disproportionately affect small business people who organized as subchapter S corporations and who may not be realizing personal income nearly that high.

Another key element of the revenue package was a shift in teachers’ pension costs. It is widely believe that most, if not all, counties could not absorb this cost without increasing property taxes. Increased property taxes arguably would be reflected in increased lease and development costs.

If a special session is called, it is entirely possible that sales and gas tax issues could be back on the table too.

Forgive me if it seems like I have focused too much on taxes and not enough on the impact of the spending cuts, but so much of that has already been said by others that it didn’t seem worth belaboring here. The public interest groups that represent teachers, public servants, and healthcare workers have all been resoundingly clear about their view on the impact of the adopted budget. Small business’ voice, however, has gone relatively unheard.

Maybe that is because small business isn’t sure whether it won or lost in this deal. But if there are small businesses out there that think they have won, it is time to speak up and be heard.