JUNE 11, 2014
Local comment on today’s economic report
Congress can help where Arizona fell down
PHOENIX – Tuesday’s release of one of the nation’s most trusted economic surveys casts in sharp relief how pervasive our political leaders’ inattention to small-business job creation is, according to the Arizona state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business.
As it does very month, NFIB releases its Index of Small Business Optimism, which measures the pulse of the nation’s largest employer group – Main Street entrepreneurs. Although the index rose to its highest level since 2007, the underpinnings of a strong economy are still not seismically sound.
“What stood out for me in the latest optimism index was Arizona’s missed opportunity to spur capital spending and new job creation by our own small businesses when Governor Brewer vetoed House Bill 2664 earlier this year,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for NFIB. The bill, which passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, would have 0created an immediate state income tax allowance for qualifying business equipment investments valued up to $500,000, similar to federal Section 179 expensing.
Indeed, in summarizing the latest optimism index, economist William Dunkelberg, its author, noted, “May’s numbers bring the Index to its highest level since September 2007. However, the four components most closely related to GDP and employment growth (job openings, job creation plans, inventory and capital spending plans) collectively fell 1 point in May.”
“Shifting capital spending into a higher gear is essential to a full and sustainable economic recovery,” said Quinlan. “Now, even though Arizona’s capital expensing vehicle stalled, Congress can turn on the ignition of job creation by passing H.R. 4457, the Small Business Tax Relief Act, when it comes up for a full House vote Thursday.
H.R. 4457 would allow small businesses to immediately deduct on their federal taxes the full value of equipment in the same year the investment is made, instead of depreciating the investment over time. This simplifies accounting and frees up cash to be reinvested and grow the business.
“The job-creation user’s manual is pretty straightforward and easy to follow,” said Quinlan. “If business owners have an incentive to invest in more equipment, they will need to hire more employees to meet the increased sales that equipment will generate. But I worry H.R. 4457 may face a similar grim fate in Congress as House Bill 2664 suffered in Arizona, despite everyone – Democrats, Republicans, business and labor – favoring it, a tragic misreading of the economy’s weakness will lead to continued inertia and another missed opportunity.”
Despite broad, bipartisan support, small-business federal expensing fell from $500,000 to $25,000 this year because previous extensions were temporary. H.R. 4457 would provide small businesses with expensing levels that are permanent, predictable and at a level adequate to their needs.