Washington, D.C. - Raising energy taxes will burden small businesses with higher costs, undermining their efforts to create jobs and recover from the recession, said a leading small business advocate. Karen Kerrigan, president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), joined business and taxpayer leaders at the National Press Club today to express opposition to legislative proposals that increase taxes on the energy sector.
"Proposals that hike energy taxes are unthinkable given the fragile state of the economy. Small business owners continue to struggle with weak sales while their business costs tick higher. Raising taxes on energy will exacerbate uncertainty, and the real challenge that many small businesses face in regard to their ability to compete in and survive the tough economy. Higher energy taxes mean higher costs for small businesses, and it's irrational for Washington to inflict more pain on our nation's struggling entrepreneurs," said Kerrigan.
Kerrigan noted that small business owners are currently not happy with federal economic policies. Misguided initiatives such as raising energy taxes will continue to fuel their dissatisfaction and lack of confidence. According to a late April Small Business and the Economy survey conducted for SBE Council by TechnoMetrica (of 300 small business owners with 20 employees or fewer), 76 percent are not satisfied with current economic policies. Only 3 percent are very satisfied, while 20 percent are "somewhat satisfied."
"Washington needs to pursue and enact policies that promote business confidence, investment, certainty and growth for small businesses - indeed for all sectors and industries," said Kerrigan. "Policies that encourage energy exploration and development, while promoting investment, will lead to a more reliable supply and lower energy prices. Raising energy taxes is the wrong approach."
In addition, tens of thousands of small businesses that employ more than 4 million workers are dependent upon a stable energy industry. Raising energy taxes will hurt these small firms and their workforce, as well as the communities that rely on their health.
Kerrigan warned that the underperforming economic recovery would make a turn for the worse if Washington continues to pursue policies that threaten small business owners with higher costs. Inflation and increased energy and health coverage costs are already taking their toll on small businesses. These small firms need relief not additional costs.
"Policy uncertainty and higher health care and business costs are already squeezing what little extra capital and confidence small business owners currently have on hand. Now is not the time to pile on with new taxes that will increase energy costs. There is a tipping point, and higher energy taxes will devastate many small businesses that are barely making it," added Kerrigan.