This year has presented big challenges for small business to say the least. Fewer jobs, skyrocketing fuel costs, a generally downtrodden economy, and the uncertainty of a heated presidential election, have all led to decreased consumer spending and significant corrections in revenue. Combined with ever increasing inventory supplier costs (a direct result of the high cost of fuel), rising employee health care premiums, steadily increasing insurance costs, and a myriad of other progressively rising practice expenditures, the outlook for relatively new small businesses such as my animal hospital causes great concern – all this, while practice, equipment, and practice real estate liens continue to have to be met.
Despite these challenges that my small business currently faces and will likely continue to face for some time, my government just sent me notification that the property tax on my building will be increased by nearly 50% come November of this year, a property tax that is already an oppressive financial burden at its current figure. What’s more, this gouging pays for my right to own and operate a building that was originally built in 1952 and subsequently quite dated, a building that I have to invest thousands of dollars per year in order to keep a reasonable degree of aesthetics and acceptable functionality.
Unlike big business and Corporate America, I do not expect my government to come to my rescue and offer me handouts during tough times. However, I do not expect my government to relentlessly and arbitrarily add stress to an already taxed financial condition. This is an especially hard pill to swallow when I see bank after bank receiving corporate welfare in the form of financial government bailout, following a mortgage default disaster that was the result of the banks’ own poor judgement. And let us not fail to consider how government allows countless tax loopholes and tax credits that feed the pockets of corporations and even pave the way for abuse, clearly exemplified in the Enron Loophole that has allowed speculators to tax our national economy by orchestrating astronomical fuel prices.
So to my readers, whatever your political affiliation and whatever issues you base you vote in these upcoming elections, do not bother making small business an issue which sways you. Both sides will talk of their regard for small business and their intention to protect small business. But make no mistake, once in office, whichever candidates you choose to represent you, one thing is for certain: small business will remain the government’s whipping boy.
And if any of my readers happen to be government representatives at any level, before the next instance that you decide to exploit small business as a means to fix government shortcomings or pander to big business, remember the words of the great Winston Churchill:
“Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”