I was pleasantly surprised to hear from the National Retail Federation, asking if I would like Mrs. G’s to be a stop on Congressman Dave Camp (MI-R) Chairman of the House, Ways and Means Committee and Senator Max Baucus (MT-D) Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Philadelphia Region Tax Reform Tour. The Philadelphia trip is the second stop in a series of trips across the nation giving the Chairmen of the two tax-writing committees an opportunity to hear directly from Americans about how to spark a more prosperous economy and make today’s broken tax code fairer for families and job creators.
The Chairmen were looking for a retail business that would offer feedback on the complexity of the Federal Tax Code as it relates to an S-Corp business. Honored and proud to represent the NRF and small business, I jumped at the chance to welcome them to Mrs. G’s, introduce them to the Mrs. G’s Team and talk about taxes. Taxes, as you know, are so complex and complicated that I was pleased my accountant, Margarite (Mimi) Mount from the Mercadien Group, join us to answer tax related questions.
I believe in the pursuit of tax reform because it will ultimately boost the economy and create jobs. But how will tax reform do that? Both Chairmen are in agreement that tax reform starts with a lower tax rate for both corporations and individuals. That’s the easy part. We all want lower taxes and by implementing lower taxes, we can improve our bottom line, create more jobs and reinvest back into our businesses. I sure will! But the only way lowering taxes will be accepted by both parties is to maintain a revenue neutral taxing procedure that allows the government to still receive the same amount of money despite changes in tax laws. And how do you do that? Get rid of special deductions and tax credits which in turn will create a simpler tax system. That is the difficult part. We all want to hold on to our special tax deductions and credits but we can’t have our cake and eat it too. Chairman Baucus and Chairman Camp have a difficult road ahead but a necessary one to develop a simpler and more efficient tax code.
I was in my glory showing Chairman Camp around our store focusing on the latest innovations like the Jenn-Air Wall Oven, Jenn-Air Microwave Drawer and the Miele Steam Oven and Induction Cooktop. Sales Manager, Pete Foerst demonstrated the new LG Top Load Washer with front controls.
Our Executive Chef, Mary Beth Madill whipped up Frittatas made in a Miele Steam Oven, chocolate sauce for dipped strawberries made on an induction cooktop and blueberry smoothies. Chairman Camp made sure he spoke to all my staff and thanked them for the warm welcome. Chairman Baucus was delayed by train, but was able to squeeze in a quick tour right before he needed to leave. His wife wanted to make sure he checked out the Thermador Grand Range with Steam.
After the tour it was time to sit down and talk taxes. There was plenty of press – both local and political – including the New York Times. Time flew by as we talked about defining small business, the complexity of the code, the challenges of a retailer to calculate the exact cost of inventory, the need to keep up with technology and the expense of having an outstanding showroom to keep ahead of the competition (Read Lindsey McPherson’s article for Taxanalysts for more tax talk details at Mrs. G’s). Both Chairmen appreciated our honest and candid responses and returned to Washington with good information.
We had wonderful press exposure with front page coverage in the Trenton Times, a full page in the Trentonian, and articles in Reuters, Tax Analysts and Politico. And then there was the Times. You would think I would be happy to have my picture in the Times. My mother and father sure were pleased. However, the author of the piece, Jonathan Weisman, congressional writer, decided to craft a quote out of context that really upset me. And it upset my friends who said “this sure doesn’t sound like Debbie.” I felt it prevented meaningful discussion of this issue and implied that I was not willing to give up deductions that affect me. NOT TRUE! Retail businesses like mine would not benefit from most special provisions. They would benefit from tax reform with lower rates so businesses like mine can make investments that make the most sense, instead of being influenced by special tax incentives.
Even though the quote, taken out of context, spread across the web, I know the right people heard my real words and suggestions. And both Chairmen will be happy to know tax reform is now a topic of conversation in my community.
Keep moving tax reform forward, Chairmen! I’m on your team!