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What $40 Means to Small Business Owners, Employees, and Customers

By refusing to extend the payroll tax cut, the House of Representatives is causing uncertainty for America’s 27 million small businesses as they put the final touches on their business plans for 2012.

Ed. Note: This article is cross-posted from the SBA Blog

Yesterday, I spoke with Zalmi Duchman, the founder and owner of The Fresh Diet in Florida. His business cooks and delivers freshly prepared, healthy meals directly to customer doors each day.

He talked about how, if Congress doesn’t act, a tax increase will hurt both his hardworking employees and small businesses, like his, that rely on consumers to have money to buy their goods and services. He said that when his employees open their paycheck and see that it got lower, they’ll turn to him and ask why.

That really struck me. I’ve traveled around the country talking with small business owners, and I know he’s not alone.  Small business owners think of their employees as part of their own family. They know that an extra $1,000 a year means a lot to working families.

Over the past two days, over 30,000 Americans have told the White House what $40 less per paycheck would mean to them, including many of the more than half of Americans who own or work for a small business.

Let’s be clear about what is happening in Washington. The President called for this tax cut extension about four months ago.  Senate and House leaders finally came to an agreement last week, and the Senate passed a bipartisan bill – with 89 of 100 Senators in support – to extend the tax cuts. And now, after the Senate has left, House Republicans are backtracking, causing uncertainty among America’s 27 million small businesses as they put the final touches on their business plans for 2012.

Next month, the Administration will continue to work with Congress to extend the tax cut through the rest of 2012. But right now, the House needs to pass the two-month extension and provide a stable environment for small businesses.

I encourage you to tell what $40 means to you or tweet @WhiteHouse with the hashtag #40dollars. That’s money that Americans could otherwise be spending on Main Street, giving a boost to our small businesses which create two of every three new jobs.

As we move into 2012, small business owners need the wind at their back, not in their face.  It's unacceptable that Congress hasn’t acted on this to give them the certainty they need right now.

America's small businesses and their employees deserve better.

Karen Mills is the SBA Administrator