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One Year Later: Small Business Voices Shape Tax Package at Field Hearing in West Virginia

February 06, 2024

Washington, d.c. – One year ago today, the Ways and Means Committee held the first hearing under the Republican majority inside a lumber facility in Petersburg, West Virginia. The Committee heard from a lumber industry veteran, a mom of three and local restaurant owner, a veteran and co-owner of a local distillery, and a West Virginia native who has worked in the coal industry for 30 years. Each witness shared personal stories of how life has become more expensive and uncertain in today’s economy and urged Congress to enact policies that would deliver relief to their community and their families.

At the hearing, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) made clear that the needs of working-class families must come first:

“If we want to put our nation on sounder footing, we need to prioritize our most valuable resource: the American worker. And the first step is listening to Americans on the front lines of our economy, hearing their stories and their ideas for improving life for their families, their neighbors, and our country.”

Click HERE or on the image above to watch a recap of the Committee’s West Virginia hearing.

Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act Is a Direct Response to Concerns Raised by Working Americans

The West Virginia hearing kicked off a series of hearings outside the halls of Congress that asked Americans to share the challenges they were facing because of bad policy from Washington. In West Virginia and across the country, working Americans shared that families are struggling to afford the basics, small businesses do not have the tools to build and grow, and China is tilting the competitive playing field in their favor, driving workers out of jobs and job creators out of business.

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act is a direct response to the millions of working families and small businesses represented by the witnesses appearing before the Committee.

At the hearing, Tom Plaugher, a 25-year lumber industry veteran, shared that the struggle to access capital was like a “war on small business.” The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act restores full expensing for capital equipment, making it easier for small businesses to grow and hire more Americans.

“On the manufacturing plant side, electronics are the biggest issue that we run into when we run sawmills. And we are entirely dependent upon contract logging companies to harvest the wood that we purchase and bring it to our mills. And that is a dying breed. As those folks cannot get access to capital, it’s a very capital intensive business.

“So it’s kind of the war on small business that’s preventing folks like that from starting new businesses, growing existing businesses that affects our supply chain for the raw materials we need.”

Ashley Bachman, mom of three and local restaurant owner, testified that her business is suffering as inflation squeezes her customers while her employees are asking to work more to cover ever-rising costs:

“Our kitchen cooking equipment runs off propane…During some months, the cost of propane has more than doubled the price that it was in the corresponding months of 2020. The rise in price in all other energy costs has caused our lease payment to be increased from $2000 to $4500 a month in only 5 years’ time. Our little restaurant has been bleeding money due to all the increased costs and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to continue with the prices the way they are…”

Wylie McDade, a Navy veteran and co-owner of a local distillery, talked about the difficulty of starting and running a business in today’s economy:

We need lower and more consistent fuel prices…we need more choice in energy…We need to strengthen national manufacturing…”

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act locks in $600 billion of tax incentives from the 2017 Trump tax reforms with a record of creating jobs, raising wages, and investing in America:

  • Research and Development (R&D) investment incentives will…
    • Create over $70 billion in new R&D investment in the United States.
    • Support 2 million direct R&D jobs and over 21 million total jobs – particularly in U.S. manufacturing.
  • Interest Deductibility will…
    • Create 867,000 new jobs.
    • Generate $58 billion in additional take-home pay for American workers.
  • 100% Immediate Expensing will…
    • Increase investment by $400 billion.
    • Create 73,000 new jobs.
  • Small Business Expensing & Relief from IRS Red Tape will…
    • Support $10 billion in new investment by American farmers and small business manufacturers.
    • Reduce headaches for small businesses that use subcontract labor by cutting their paperwork burden.

READ: At West Virginia Field Hearing, Americans Expose the Painful Reality of Living & Working in Biden’s Economy