Washington Post: Joseph Rotella, Let’s end tax cuts and get corporations to pay their fair share

By Joseph Rotella
Washington Post On Small Business, March 30, 2012

We hear a lot of noise about taxes and job creators and not enough common sense. I own a small business employing 10 people. Our business of pipe organ restoration is in a niche field, but we still operate by the first rule of business: If we do not make money, we do not stay in business.

I don’t base decisions on whether to hire a new employee on my tax rate, but rather how much work we have. Being organized as an S corporation, any of the profits made by the company automatically roll to the stockholders. As the only stockholder, however, I sometimes face a large tax bill at the end of the year. I don’t mind this because it means I am making money. It means my business is prospering. Taxes are what I pay on my business profits — that means after deducting expenses, not before expenses.

I make a perfectly fine living while paying an effective tax rate of between 20 percent and 25 percent. I am glad to pay it because I know that my taxes go to supporting the services that keep my business vibrant and my employees productive and happy. I don’t just think about what I pay in taxes, but what my taxes buy.

Taxes pay for roads, bridges, schools, public transportation, first responders, safe drinking water and many more things that help my business directly and indirectly. Tax cuts that lead to cuts in important infrastructure and public services hurt my business, my employees and the communities we live in.

I’m not for more tax cuts; I’m for more tax fairness. When I hear that a large corporation is making huge profits and not paying taxes, I wonder: How can this be? Where is the fairness in our tax code that allows this to happen? Why should U.S. multinationals be rewarded for hurting our Main Street economy by moving jobs off shore, shielding money in tax haven countries and using tricky accounting maneuvers to avoid paying taxes?

The jobs I have created are American jobs paying livable wages with good benefits, such as health insurance and a retirement plan. My employees pay their share of taxes just as I do. If we level the playing field between big business and small business, we may find that jobs will actually increase, not only in number, but quality as well. That doesn’t mean further lowering tax revenues with even more cuts. It means closing the loopholes that let large companies avoid paying their fair share and gives them an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

Like many other small business owners in organizations like Business for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council, I’m for closing big business tax loopholes, stopping tax haven abuse, ending the Bush tax cuts on income in the top brackets and getting rid of the absurd loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay less than ordinary workers on their income. I know our economy created a lot more jobs before the Bush tax cuts.  And we’d be a lot better off if big corporations — many of them government contractors — paid their fair share in taxes instead of passing the buck.

There’s nothing sensible about giving big corporations tax breaks while our infrastructure becomes increasingly unreliable, unsafe and outdated.

There’s nothing sensible about continuing the Bush tax cuts for high-income Americans while we lay off teachers we need to educate our workforce, and we cut the public services and safety nets that are so important to a healthy economy and harmonious society.

Joseph Rotella is owner of Spencer Organ Company, Inc., in Waltham, Mass., and a member of Business for Shared Prosperity, a national network of business owners and executives.

Read here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/lets-end-tax-cuts-and-get-corporations-to-pay-their-fair-share/2012/03/30/gIQARjaylS_page.html