It’s hard to describe how brutal the past many months have been on our businesses, and so many others like them.
Close. Open. Furlough. Hire. Don’t. Overhaul an operations plan. Sell clothes outside. Limit customers inside. No rent breaks from landlords. Valued employees that don’t know what to count on and what government will do next.
Our family, an all-woman owned company, has done everything imaginable, as smartly, safely and creatively as possible, to keep our businesses alive and the employees here who are their lifeblood.
We are certainly not alone. It is a story playing out with nearly every small business in every state across America.
So now to be asked, as Arizona’s Proposition 208 does, to double our income taxes if we are lucky to make the threshold amount, is like sparring Mike Tyson after running a marathon.
Simply put, the largest tax increase in state history and this proposition are the most ill-timed economic proposals in our state’s history.
I understand those who say public education has been shorted for years and it, like everyone else, has been hurt by recent conditions. But do we suffocate the economy, now, to right this wrong? Is this proposal that would make Arizona the ninth-highest taxing in the nation really the best approach? Of course not.
I realize critics of this piece will say recent efforts to increase teacher salaries and restore education funding after the economic collapse a decade ago are not enough. You will find sympathy here.
But you don’t execute the doctor to save the patient. And that’s the role small businesses play. Healthy small businesses mean more revenues for education. But take away their incentive to expand, employ and innovate? Well, that’s a prescription for both the economy and education losing.
Unconvinced still, critics of this opinion may say the rich can afford anything and everything. Past success means you should tithe more now. “You people” can afford it after all. And they have a point. Certain people in the economic stratosphere can afford many things. But the vast majority of people working with or for someone in small and medium sized businesses will see negative impacts if Proposition 208 passes. If you take away, or so diminish the reward for good, smart work the incentive for doing so is gone. If you impose this new business burden now many will decide it’s no longer worth it. Public education is critical but so is the dignity of a job and a raise and benefits. And you don’t get to just suck money from one group of people and think it will be economic unicorns and rainbows, especially during the slow crawl out of a pandemic.
Indeed, it doesn’t make sense to impose a massive tax hike on job creators at a time when the state needs jobs. The best way to generate more revenue for schools is to create more taxpayers not fewer. Remember, teacher salaries were increased two years ago without a tax increase in our state.
We can help our economy to recover and public education to improve. But Proposition 208 is not the way to do it. Our state will be much better, as a whole, if it rejects the economic consequences of this measure in favor of a more measured approach that does right by our children, small businesses and employees, rather than pit them against each other.
Ann Siner is the CEO and founder of Eco-Chic Consignments which owns and operates 15 locations in Arizona and California for My Sister’s Closet, My Sister’s Attic, Well Suited and My Sisters’ Charities Thrift Store.