By Ronda Wallace
I have been preparing taxes for years and I have become known for getting my clients the largest possible returns. Many of my customers are low income parents and they count on credits like the earned income tax credit to catch up on their bills or make costly repairs to their vehicles. While the returns I am able to get my clients help, they are rarely enough to make ends meet.
Low income workers’ pay a disproportionate share of their income towards taxes when compared to the highest paid workers. Florida’s tax structure should be modified to ensure that higher income earners pay their fair share of their earnings to provide necessary revenue to fund vital state programs. Tax credits should be provided to help cover the cost of child and dependent care so parents aren’t forced to choose between staying home with their children and going to work.
The Alliance for a Just Society’s report, “Rigged to Fail,” explores state policies in place that make it harder for small business owners and workers to make ends meet. Policies in our state leave the system rigged against small business owners, their workers and their families. While some of the largest businesses in the country get sizeable tax breaks, small business owners like me don’t have the same options.
We are invested in our community and understand the need to pay our fair share of taxes, but when corporations exploit tax loopholes we are left footing the bill. Paying low wages to their employees and avoiding their tax responsibility helps major retailers drive prices down and creates an unfair advantage over small businesses. Small business owners should have access to similar tax credits to spur job creation and level the playing field with large corporations.
Many of the same corporations who pay the lowest wages also threaten to move their headquarters overseas to reduce their tax bill. The process, known as tax inversion, is a way that corporations extract wealth from communities and fail to meet their tax responsibility. This leaves small business owners and community members like us paying more than our fair share.
I am proud to be the owner of a business in America and I would never abandon my community by moving my business offshore to reduce my tax bill. I’ve joined hundreds of other business owners in signing the Proud to Be an American business pledge by the Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council. Our community relies on good schools and public infrastructure and when I pay my tax bill this year and next I know that I am fueling the community that my business relies on. I also know that my tax bill would be significantly reduced if corporations were held accountable to pay their share.
Ronda Wallace, owner of Butterfly Tax Pro and member of the Main Street Alliance of Florida