- Category: Top Stories
- Published on Friday, 26 October 2012 16:04
- Written by Nicholas Shannon Kulmac
Continuing the Vancouver Business Journal’s Elections 2012 Candidate Q&A series, the following are responses from U.S. Senate candidates Maria Cantwell and Michael Baumgartner.
Q: What are specific examples in which you were able to garner bipartisan support for a policy issue important to small business?
Cantwell: As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I have consistently worked across the aisle to support small business access to capital and to remove unnecessary regulations.
I worked with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) to successfully repeal burdensome 1099 reporting requirements for small businesses. And this year, I introduced a bill with John Thune (R-SD) that helped stop the IRS from imposing new 1099-K requirements.
I led the floor fight to pass the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act, along with my colleagues George Voinovich (R-OH) and George LeMieux (R-FL). This bill contained eight small business tax cuts and new tools for small businesses to increase their exports. It also created a Small Business Lending Fund to increase access to capital for small businesses looking to grow and hire. All five Washington banks in this program – including one in Ilwaco – have increased small business lending.
Baumgartner: Perhaps the most obvious example was my unemployment insurance reform bill that was passed in 2011. The bill received almost unanimous support from both the House of Representatives and the Senate and contained two measures aimed at providing unemployment insurance tax relief for employers.
I co-sponsored the bill (SB-5135) because I saw the need to provide employers with the certainty and stability needed to create jobs and reduce the tax burden on employers. It’s smarter government.
I’m very proud of my bipartisan record – as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I’ve worked with the majority party to write budgets that were fiscally responsible and forward thinking without just kicking the can down the road. I’m confident that with my experience here, I can help Washington, D.C. do the same.
Q: Some of the tax breaks about to expire will have the affect of raising taxes on small businesses at a time when they are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. Are you willing to work to extend those dealing with small business specifically? If not, what is your answer to these business owners who may lose their businesses?
Cantwell: I have worked to provide certainty to Washington state businesses so that they can grow. In 2004, I worked with a bipartisan coalition to restore the state sales tax deduction, and I’ve fought to continue it every year.
I also worked to pass deductions for small businesses to write off the cost of equipment purchases up to $500,000, extension of a 50 percent bonus depreciation, and the extension of the net operating loss carryback period from two to five years for small businesses.
In August, I worked to advance a bipartisan Finance Committee tax extenders bill that would extend:
- The state and local sales tax deduction, saving 850,000 Washingtonians an average of $500 in taxes
- Tax cuts for businesses that hire veterans, such as Vancouver’s Nutter Corp
- The New Markets Tax Credit, which helped finance Farwest Steel’s new fabrication center near the Port of Vancouver, employing more than 200 workers.
Baumgartner: I am absolutely committed to continuing the tax breaks for small businesses, as it is those small businesses that will carry us through this recession by growing and creating the jobs we need.
My commitment to small business is exemplified by the fact that I was named a Guardian of Small Business by the National Bureau of Independent Business for my work in the legislature that focused on easing regulations and burdens on small business.
The award is the highest honor granted by the NFIB, and I earned it because my voting record shows that I voted with small business 100 percent of the time – some called then ‘tough’ votes, but the truth is that those votes that benefit Main Street are some of the easiest ones I come across in the legislature.