Montana Small Business Owners Weigh in on Tax Debate

Small business owners in the Montana Small Business Alliance have been making their mark in the national tax debate.Through a “Listen to Main Street” campaign, MSBA members are raising up small business voices in support of ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans, protecting middle class programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and raising revenue through corporate tax reform.

On December 4, MSBA leader Brian McGregor had an op-ed in his hometown paper, the Montana Standard. Brian, who owns the Silver Dollar Saloon in Butte, took politicians to task for using misleading definitions of “small business” to defend special tax cuts for the wealthy. He wrote:

 Tax structures – S corporations, partnerships or LLCs – get used to claim multi-million and sometimes multi-billion dollar companies as “small businesses.” It’s like carrying a fake ID to get into the bar.

Well, here’s a riddle: a hedge fund manager, a high-powered lobbyist and a big shot lawyer walk into a bar. There’s one real small business owner in the lot. Which one? Answer: the guy who’s pouring the drinks – me.

On the same day, Small Business Alliance leaders in Billings delivered the results of a survey of Southeast and South Central Montana business owners’ views on taxes and other issues to the local offices of Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, along with a letter signed by almost 30 business owners supporting ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent.

The survey found strong support among responding business owners for closing corporate tax loopholes and making sure big corporations pay their fair share of taxes. The report drew write-ups in the Billings Gazette, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Sidney Herald.

The Small Business Alliance’s activities highlight the growing divide between the positions of K Street big business lobbies like the “Fix the Debt” CEO council and the views and priorities of everyday Main Street small business owners.


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