Guest Opinion: Let’s get serious about helping small businesses

  • Wednesday, April 5, 2017 1:30am
  • Opinion
Guest Opinion: Let’s get serious about helping small businesses

Small businesses are the beating heart of our small towns here in the 24th District.

There are more than 555,000 small businesses in our state making up 98 percent of total businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. More than half of workers in Washington get their paychecks from them.

Yet for too long, small businesses have carried an unfair burden of the Business and Occupation Tax while they competed with big businesses with huge profit margins.

To the local coffee shop or corner hardware store, the B&O tax can be a killer.

That’s why I believe it’s time to give small businesses a break.

Not a little break. Not a haircut on the B&O taxes they pay.

Let’s give them a serious break. I don’t want small businesses from Ocean Shores to Port Townsend paying one dime in B&O.

That may seem like a dream or a wish. It’s not.

For decades, I’ve watched politicians on television talking about cutting taxes, except the only people who ever got their taxes cut own yachts and have lobbyists on the payroll. As the wealthy paid less and less, the middle class, working people and small businesses have shouldered more of the burden to pay for schools, roads and police.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

So I could not be happier to tell you that the House of Representatives has proposed serious tax relief to make the system better for small businesses and homeowners.

This relief includes exempting small businesses with taxable revenue of $250,000 or less from paying any B&O tax.

That means 72 percent of all businesses in the state wouldn’t have to pay a dime in state B&O anymore.

If your business grows a little bigger, our plan gives small businesses a $100,000 deduction if their taxable revenue falls between $250,000 and $500,000.

That means 80 percent of all businesses in Washington will pay zero in B&O or less than they do today.

Now, this reform is big, bold and courageous. It’s the kind of thinking we need to truly change our state’s upside-down tax system, where everyday people pay the most compared to their income while the rich pay the least.

Because these ideas would help the local underdogs instead of the wealthy elite, special interests will try to kill these reforms.

So we need your voice.

Please take a moment to email or call (800-562-6000) your local lawmakers to tell them you support exempting small businesses from state B&O taxes.

Tell them we may not have an army of lobbyists, but we’ve got loggers, plumbers, barbers and coffee shop owners — and that it’s time to give working families and middle-class Americans a tax break.

Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) is a former Clallam County commissioner and law enforcement officer. He serves as vice chair of the House Agriculture &Natural Resources Committee.

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