Local business owners react to Obama

Jinae West

About a week after President Barack Obama proposed tax cuts for the middle class in his speech at Cuyahoga Community College West Campus in Parma, local business owners in Kent responded with mixed reactions.

Obama’s proposal would increase and permanently pass a tax credit for businesses to write off investments through 2011.

“And this will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment, and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton,” Obama said last Wednesday in Parma.

The president also said he will continue to fight for a bill that would provide tax relief and make loans more accessible for small businesses to spur hiring. The Senate advanced legislation for the bill Tuesday.

“It is fully paid for, it won’t add to the deficit and small businesses across the country have been waiting for Washington to act on this bill for far too long,” the president said in a statement released the same day.

Roger Thurman, owner of Thurman Guitar & Violin Repair Inc., said his business will not likely be affected by Obama’s plans, but he still supports him. Thurman said those who oppose the president would have done the same if they were in office.

“We’re in a very difficult situation,” he said. “Tax cuts will have a long-term effect, but everyone wants something immediate, and probably the politicians will pay a price for that in the elections.”

He added, “It’s like (Obama) has a tugboat trying to push the Titanic out of the way of the iceberg, but at least he started it.”

Still, not everyone is convinced. Obama’s critics say the president will effectively raise taxes and hurt small businesses by refusing to extend the Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of this year.

Street Motor Sports owner John Tucci said he is skeptical about the proposal because the president’s current mode of thinking has hurt him. Tucci referred to last year’s Cash for Clunkers, which offered

$3,500 to $4,500 to people who traded in an old car for a new one with higher fuel efficiency. He said the rebate system hurt the used car market, and it has yet to bounce back.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Tucci said of Obama’s proposal. “My business has been worse off since he took office.”

Phil Peachock, who runs Spin-More Records, said the push to offset small business spending is appealing but doesn’t think the tax cuts will help the economy or his business in particular.

“If I made any money, I’d let you know,” he said.

[email protected]