SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

February 19, 2013

Column: Keep small enterprise growth engine vibrant with tax restraint

To balance the books in 2013, Gov. Deval Patrick is proposing $1.9 billion in new taxes via a combination of changes to sales tax, income tax and a number of changes to allowed deductions. He would like you to believe these tax increases are needed to continue to operate our government effectively to serve all of the people of Massachusetts. This nearly $2 billion proposal represents about a 6.2 percent increase in the current level of spending of $32.2 billion.

In my role as chair of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, representing more than 1,500 businesses on the North Shore, I would like to voice the concern of business owners like myself who believe it would be harmful to job creation and business growth to impose more taxes on both individuals and business owners. After the crushing economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, our economy is now just starting to get on its feet and businesses are starting to feel a bit better about the outlook for 2013. Now is not the time to increase business overhead with more tax burdens.

Over the past three years, businesses across the nation have been forced to do more with less. Businesses took advantage of new advances in technology to improve productivity: We asked the same staff to take on more roles, we implemented efficiencies in materials used, and we managed to continue forward in spite of challenging business conditions. The result is that many businesses continue to stay healthy and have adapted to a less-than-desirable economic conditions.

Rather than leading off 2013 with new ways to tax these resourceful, hardworking business entrepreneurs who are daily adding to the strength and viability of our economy, I challenge the governor and all public officials in Massachusetts to enter 2013 with the same creed that drove business leaders in the last few years. Do more with less. Create more efficiency in your operations, be creative in the use of technology and ask more of your current staff. Many believe there are a wide range of areas of government that could be modified to improve efficiency. Government programs can operate more efficiently with fewer staff and less resources, thus allowing our tax dollars to go further. It’s time we recognize that this nation does not have a taxation problem — we have a spending problem. The solution rests with limiting the temptation to regularly raise, expand and tweak the tax collection machine. It’s time we just say it as clearly as possible — no more taxes. Let’s optimize the tax revenue we have and let our businesses continue to grow and create more jobs.

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