, Salem, MA


February 19, 2013

Column: Keep small enterprise growth engine vibrant with tax restraint


We must recognize that most of the growth in our economy comes from the innovation and entrepreneurial creativity of the millions of small-business owners in our country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, we have more than 27 million businesses in the United States. Only 18,000 of these businesses have more than 500 employees, and only 90,300 have more than 100 employees. We are, in fact, a nation of small entrepreneurial enterprises. More than 26.5 million small U.S. businesses are employers of fewer than 20 employees. When any one of these adds 10 percent to their staff, this adds one or two new bodies to the employed base of our country. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but when you many of these 26.5 million businesses adding one or two to the payroll, this turns into a very large growth engine. We must keep this engine of growth strong — the best way to do this is to help these businesses grow and prosper by keeping their obstacles to growth low, which would include a moderate level of regulation and taxation.

Massachusetts taxpayers are now paying, on average, about 10 percent of their incomes to both state and local taxes. This means we are about the 11th highest-taxed state in the nation. One must remember that additional costs in the form of new or expanded taxes will mean increased prices for goods and services. Let’s keep the cost cycle reasonable with a more efficient and responsible government.

On behalf of the 26.5 million job-creating small enterprises in this country that are now helping create the next large growth phase for our country, please refrain from further taxation that will limit our ability to grow and create jobs. With proper incentives, the innovative entrepreneurial class of our economy is an amazing growth engine. The energy, technology, health care and industrial sectors of our economy have shown incredible innovation in the last few decades — much of it based right here in Massachusetts. The new value and jobs created by these entrepreneurs is the powerful growth component to our diverse economy. Let’s do everything possible to keep this growth engine strong and resilient.


Robert T. Lutts is chairman of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce and president and chief investment officer of Cabot Money Management Inc. in Salem.

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