Senator John Thune
National headlines are filled with stories about getting people back to work and stimulating the economy. Increased media attention has put a spotlight on some of the best business climates and practices throughout our country, and South Dakota continues to resurface in the national dialogue as a great place to do business. Recently CNBC released a report ranking America’s top states for business in 2012. South Dakota ranked number seven in its list, ranking number one in business friendliness and number three in cost of doing business. With a fiscally responsible state government, no personal or corporate income tax, and an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, it is easy to understand why South Dakota continues to gain national attention for its healthy business environment.
While South Dakota continues to outperform other states, America’s unemployment rate has hovered over 8 percent for a record 41 straight months and more than 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Our country’s sluggish growth should solicit swift action from Washington in support of employers and small business development. Instead, the president continues to push a massive tax hike on nearly one million U.S. businesses.
Small business is the economic engine that drives growth in our state and across our country. In South Dakota, small business owners account for nearly 63 percent of the state’s private sector employers. However, the president’s proposed tax increase on individuals earning more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 would raise taxes and hamper small business growth in South Dakota on many businesses that pay their taxes at the individual rates. The Heritage Foundation recently published a study that estimated the tax increase per tax return in every state under the president’s proposal. In South Dakota, it is estimated that the average tax increase per tax return would be $3,187, and would increase the total tax liabilities for individuals in South Dakota by over $1.3 billion in 2013.
It is time for Congress to stop being a roadblock to economic growth and start listening to our small business owners. Study after study of small businesses has called for simple solutions to improve our economic environment: extend all of the current tax rates and provide certainty about future tax liabilities, eliminate burdensome regulations on businesses, and reform our tax code. These are principles I support, and I will continue to tirelessly defend policies in the Senate that provide financial certainty for our nation’s businesses and incentives for economic development. Doing otherwise will only cause more economic uncertainty and sluggish job growth nationwide.