‘To tax or not to tax’

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By Kara Albrecht
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Senatorial Election candidates Debbie Stabenow and Pete Hoekstra are fighting for voters’ attention when it comes to taxes.

Old Town is a neighborhood that thrives off small businesses and some say they know how important it is for Old Town to pay attention to issues that affect their community.

“They’re pretty politically motivated here,” said Old Town visitor Cindy Collins. “That’s always been my impression.”

Pace and Partners Senior Public Relations and Policy Manager Mike Nowlin said, “Lansing usually votes Democratic.” This implies that the town would be more likely to support Stabenow.

But there still remains some question behind the two candidates.

“Each candidate seems to be questionable with what they will do for small businesses,” said  Old Town resident George Watters.

Tax Policy Proposals

Stabenow raised in Clare, Michigan, was the first woman from the State of Michigan elected to the United States Senate. She is running for her third term in office. Stabenow originally opposed many tax cuts for small businesses, following President Obama’s lead. She then worked hard to pass the Small Business Jobs Act on Sept. 27, 2010. This new law gives small businesses $12 billion in tax cuts and eliminates the capital gains tax on small business stock.

According to an entry on her website, Stabenow said, “Our country needs to continue cultivating an economic environment that encourages small businesses to grow.” She thinks this bill will do just that.

Opponent Pete Hoekstra resides in Holland Michigan, and he represented Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 2010. Hoekstra wants to replace income tax with a national sales tax; but he was just endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

“For small businesses, Hoekstra’s policy would not be the way to go because he is tied into sales tax,” Watters said.

“If the government taxes income, someone who has $100, will still have $100 to spend,” Watters said. “However, if there becomes a national sales tax, people might be afraid to buy more and that would hurt these businesses tremendously.”

Looking Ahead

Old Town business owners will wait and see what more the candidates have to say about taxes before the election takes place. When asking a business owner which candidate he would vote for,  his responses was doubtful.

“I do not know yet, I’m sorry,” said Tallulah’s Folly Owner David Gregware.

Old Town business owners and residents seem to be on the same page. Resident George Watters has just two words to sum up the issue. “Taxes stink.”

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