This issue of Nevada Business Magazine recognizes a group of remarkable home grown companies and the families that have made them successful. Unlike large corporations or governments, these businesses operate without a safety net. Their success is based on long hours, hard work and determination. As they strive to create a legacy for future generations, family-owned businesses form the backbone of Nevada’s economy.
Family businesses account for about 50 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and create more than 70 percent of all new jobs. Instead of waiting for someone to give them a job, these families create their own jobs, and in doing so, also provide employment for other people. The multiplier effect of the dollars they bring in makes a big difference in local communities.
While other small business owners recognize the obstacles these companies face, I’m not sure our government and elected officials appreciate the contributions made by small business owners. There continues to be a lack of understanding between our public and private sectors, and instead of helping small businesses succeed, government often puts roadblocks in their path.
One of the largest expenses for any company is payroll. Private firms struggle to compete with government, which can offer salaries that are higher than the market rate, as well as benefits that private companies can’t afford. According to the Nevada Department of Training and Rehabilitation, in 2009 the average annual salary for a private-sector employee in Nevada was $41,125, while the average government worker earned $53,224. And public employers can offer benefits that include not only health insurance, sick leave and paid holidays, but also a retirement program that private employers can only dream about. Besides making it difficult to hire the best workers, in many cases the government actually competes with the private sector on an uneven playing field.
In every legislative session, as soon as budget talks begin, the first thing on the table is business taxation. This session is no exception. And while we all understand the budget has to be balanced, to raise taxes for small businesses is not the answer. There are hundreds of small businesses across Nevada that are still on the verge of closing shop. To impose additional taxes on these companies will push many over the edge and force them to shut down their businesses. And, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots as to what this will do to our unemployment rate.
Since imposing new taxes is unpopular with the electorate, they are often disguised as “fees” or “assessments”. But, regardless of what they’re called, the impact is always the same and the bottom line is that businesses end up paying more. I encourage our lawmakers to oppose measures designed to over-tax, over-regulate and over-burden our small businesses. And, I invite all Nevadans to join us in honoring family owned businesses throughout the state. Let’s do our part to support them whenever we can.
Originally published in Nevada Business Magazine: