Trump Administration Small Business Roundtable Met By Tax Reform Protestors

Nov 6, 2017

Congressman John Katko (L), Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon (C), Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R) discuss aiding small business at roundtable
Credit Michael Mulford / WAER News

A Trump administration official made a stop in Syracuse Monday to hear what small business owners had to say about the economic climate in New York.  Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon was joined by Congressmembers John Katko and Claudia Tenney at the Tech Garden.  McMahon shared her own experiences businesses that range from coffee and machinery to hospitality and fitness. 

“I’ve been bankrupt; I’ve lost everything; I’ve had an opportunity to come back. I’ve taken a business from my husband and I sharing a desk to now being traded on the New York Stock Exchange. That is why we enjoy so much having these round-tables is because we do get to hear actual stories.”

Part of the reason for her visit was to also push the Trump tax reform plan.  John Katko says all businesses at the roundtable have one issue in common… high taxes and gloomy futures.

Credit Michael Mulford / WAER News

“It’s amazing to me that you can survive in this economic environment. I mean you get taxed to death you’re…by no means is this tax reform that we’re talking about perfect, and it’s still a work in progress.”  

Katko asked each small business owner what they would do if they had more money in their pockets from lower taxes.  Their responses were nearly the same-- more money would allow for more growth, higher pay for their employees, or more full-time staff. Claudia Tenney, who owns a local publishing company, says the success of the economy depends on the stability of small businesses.

“We know that almost 70 percent of the new jobs are actually created by our small businesses. We need to encourage entrepreneurship; we need to get small businesses started because that’s our bread-and-butter. That’s really where most of the jobs are created in our community.”


A crowd congregates outside the Tech Garden protesting Trump's tax reform plan.
Credit Gabrielle Caracciolo / WAER News

While the roundtable took place, nearly 100 people gathered outside the Tech Garden to protest Trump’s tax plan.  Rachel May of Syracuse says working depend on government services.  She’s worried about fixing infrastructure, Medicare and other services from which the plan could take funding.

“This tax reform bill that they are putting forward is a terrible travesty for our country; in terms of taking money away from services, from all kinds of things that people depend on every day, and putting it in the pockets of people who don’t need the extra money.”

Democracy is for People Campaign Director Jonah Minkoff-Zern helped to organize the protest. He says the tax plan will impact the ability of Central New Yorkers to live a good life.

Credit Gabrielle Caracciolo / WAER News

“No one in Central New York benefits from this tax scam, and we’re here to stand up and fight it; and the fact that 150 people came with just two-and-a-half days’ notice to stand up here and fight, shows that we’re organized, shows that people are angry, and shows that we’re ready to fight and win.”

Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, a Trump appointee, was in Syracuse to meet small business owners, alongside Representatives John Katko and Claudia Tenney. They heard businesses say they could raise salaries or hire more workers if taxes were reduced.   Oswego County resident Tim Hart says he opposes the plan because his wife has Multiple Sclerosis, and it would take away his ability to deduct thousands of dollars of medical expenses.

“I am extremely disappointed in both Katko, and my congressman Tenney, for their lack of empathy for people who already have medical problems who are struggling with day-to-day existence. And then they want to screw them by taking away a medical deduction like this. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

New York Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement on McMahon’s visit, criticizing the tax plan. He says Katko and Tenney should answer to their constituents when considering whether to support it.