Michigan Small Businesses Choose Road Funding Over Tax Cut

Date: February 17, 2014

Survey on Budget Surplus Reveals Small Business Priorities

Lansing (February
18, 2014)
–The National
Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
released the results of a survey
that asked its small business members what lawmakers should do with a projected
budget surplus. The survey described the nature of the surplus and then asked
small business owners to prioritize among six choices for using the extra money.
A seventh option allowed the respondents to name their own ideas for using the
surplus. A copy of the survey can be downloaded at the end of this article.

The six
options listed in the survey and the results were: increase road funding (34%),
lower the income tax rate (26%), increase the “rainy day fund” (12%), give
taxpayers a one-time income tax rebate (11%), increase education funding (7%), increase
the income tax Homestead Exemption (4%).

majority of small business owners chose increasing road funding over lowering
the income tax rate and the other options currently on the table in Lansing,”
said NFIB State Director Charlie Owens. “After years of difficult times,
small business owners have shown that they are conservative and realistic in
dealing with this extra budget money.”

lawmakers and the Governor are debating over the disposition of a projected budget
surplus. The size of state government’s three-year surplus has been estimated
at $971 million, however, Budget Director Nixon and others have cautioned that
much of that number is “one-time” money that will not be recurring in
subsequent years. In his budget presentation Nixon said that the one-time money
is two thirds of the surplus or $646 million leaving only $325 million that is
stable enough to include in the baseline annual state budget in the form of
increased spending, deposits to the “rainy day fund”, returns to taxpayers via
tax cuts, one-time rebates or some combination of these options.

with revenues and expenses is a life and death skill for anyone running a small
business,” said Owens. “They understand the dangers of making long term commitments
with volatile revenue streams and they see the value of infrastructure investment
with this money.”

Owens said
he was surprised that road funding received more support than an income tax
rollback. “Keep in mind that for most small businesses the personal income tax
rate is the business tax that they pay as non-corporate entities,” said Owens. “They
are telling lawmakers that they would rather see the extra money go to roads
than receive a small cut in their business taxes.” Owens pointed out that his
members do not support road funding proposals that would hike fuel taxes or
registration fees. “This may be one of the reasons for the support for roads
with the budget surplus,” said Owens. “Small business owners would rather spend
that extra money on roads and take some of the pressure off efforts to hike gas
and diesel taxes and registration fees.”

Owens also
said he was not surprised by the low support for education funding. “Our
members have indicated that they feel strongly that schools have not been good stewards of the
funding they have received and have little to show in terms of results versus
money spent,” said Owens.

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