The Main Stream

Nov 20, 2012 10:09 AM by Ryan Haarer

Fiscal cliff has small business owners worried

TUCSON - If Congress and President Obama cannot come to an agreement before the end of December, the country will be looking at $500 billion in tax increases. It has small business owners worried in a time they hope sales will pick up.

Bert Williams' promotional products business in Tucson has been open for more than 30 years. Like any business, it has seen good times and bad.

"There have been six specific times i thought we were going to go out of business and each time we scrambled and clawed," said Williams.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts the cliff would increase taxes an average of $3,500 per taxpayer, once again tightening wallets and reducing spending in shops like Berts.

"It's going to have trickle down effects upon every small business and every small business that is affected is going to have to look for ways to solve the problem," said Williams.

The GOP wants the Bush tax cuts to be extended for all. Democrats want individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 to be exempt from those cuts. Republicans also don't want the top income tax rate to go up from 35 percent to 39.5.

Now weeks after the election, and with the fiscal cliff creeping closer, both sides are talking compromise.

"To show our seriousness, we've put revenue on the table as long as it's accompanied by significant spending cuts," said Speaker of the House, John Boehner R-OH.

"I've been encouraged over the past week to hear Republican after Republican agree on the need for more revenue from the wealthiest Americans as part of our arithmetic if we are going to be serious about reducing the deficit," said President Obama.

But business owners like Bert are tired of the talk. He's holding out for action.

"I'm so frustrated with Congress, I'm so frustrated with politics. They're not making wise decisions like a small business owner needs to make, like me and like other thousands of other businesses," said Williams.

The president met with congressional leaders Friday to talk about a compromise. Both sides seemed optimistic. Many members of Congress left Capitol Hill for Thanksgiving. They are set to meet with the President again after the holiday.

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