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NFIB: Tax Cut Boosted Small Business Even Before It Passed

Business group says member survey showed near-record optimism in '17 in anticipation of tax relief, deregulation

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Small business got a tax break they've sought for years in December's tax cut bill. But the National Federation of Independent Business says its members were bullish on the economy even before that.

NFIB president Juanita Duggan is in Indianapolis for a state NFIB conference. She says last year's monthly survey of small businesses' view of the economy produced the second-most optimistic numbers in the survey's history, trailing only the average for 1984. She says small businesses are enthusiastic about the Trump administration's deregulation push, and about the tax cut -- even though the first version of the tax bill didn't give small business the relief they sought.

The NFIB has long objected to the taxation of small-business income at individual rates, instead of what typically are more generous corporate rates. The tax bill doesn't end that practice, but gives small businesses a 20-percent deduction to even the scales. Duggan applauds the tax relief, but cautions the small-business portion of that tax cut expires in eight years -- the organization will be lobbying to make it permanent.

And while the tax bill also got rid of the requirement that people buy health insurance, Duggan complains the requirement that employers offer it remains in place. She says the NFIB will continue to pursue the repeal of the mandate. The N-F-I-B's opposition to the federal health care law dates back to its passage -- the N-F-I-B was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case which concluded the law was constitutional.

With the tax cut in place, Duggan predicts a surge in small-business hiring and inventory. She shrugs off the last chaotic month on Wall Street, in which the Dow Jones average lost 28-hundred points in two weeks, though it's recovered about a thousand points of that loss since. NFIB companies aren't publicly traded, and Duggan says the economic factors that move the stock market are completely separate from those which affect her members. So far, she says small businesses are seeing pressure to raise wages, but says so far, it hasn't translated into inflation.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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