Small Business Owners Discuss the Effects of Tax Policies in Second Annual Main Street Tax Summit

Date: April 15, 2022

 Learn about the small business environment and challenges owners are facing

The second annual Main Street Tax Summit took place on April 7, featuring small business owners and economic experts who discussed the current economic climate and the impact of pending tax policy changes on the Main Street business community. Senator Kyrsten Sinema joined the summit to give introductory remarks.  

Panel 1: Main Street Panel  

Three NFIB members from family-owned small businesses gave a first-hand perspective on how tax policies impact business operations.  

John Sullivan is the owner of Dana Wallboard Supply Inc. in northern Massachusetts. It is an S-Corporation that has been in business for forty years and has always been family-owned. Along with delivering drywall and construction materials to residential and commercial job sites, Dana Wallboard Supply Inc. is known for their work with other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.  

“We’re the folks that sponsor all these local things: Little League, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, when the high schools call to support the yearbooks and their sports teams. It’s not Google, it’s not Apple, it’s us. So when you start taking gross profit away from us, we make some really tough decisions. Some decisions that devastate people’s lives,” John explains.  

Christian Marsh of family-owned Quality Machine Company Inc. in Bridgeport, West Virginia discussed the industry and business challenges they face. It is an S-Corporation owned in partnership by Christian’s grandfather and father. Their main work is fabricating, welding, and a variety of metal work and repairs. They work for all industries, but West Virginia is dependent on the energy industry, specifically coal and natural gas. Christian has been the President of the United Way of Harrison and Doddridge counties for the past two years. The business is very involved in activities that support youth in the tri-county area. 

Marty Giebelhaus is the owner of Marlin Mechanical Corp. in Phoenix, Arizona. It is an S-Corp. construction plumbing company, that works on multi-unit buildings like apartments, assisted living facilities, and dorms. Marty and his business partners have been running the business for three years, after Marty’s father and his business partner founded the business forty years ago. The business donates to charities like Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank and supports students at Grand Canyon University.  

“The level of benefits that we offer to our employees is above and beyond what is the norm, especially in construction in this area, Marty said. “We think it’s very important to foster that relationship long term with our people, that they know that we’re going to take care of them the way they take care of us day in and day out doing the work. We want to reward them for what they do for us, because without them we don’t have a business.” 

In terms of local business environment, there are many challenges coming out of the pandemic. In West Virginia, Christian is just trying to ensure his business survives. “We’ve benefitted from the pass-through deduction. That really helped us survive,” Christian said. “We use that money directly to purchase equipment and to keep people employed. That’s what it relates to, the number of employees we can maintain and whether we’re purchasing any new equipment or we’re just making the best of what we have for a couple years. We would hate to see the pass-through deduction be taken away. That would add insult to injury.” 

Watch now to learn more about their discussion on what the future may hold for owners like them and what Congress can do to support small businesses across the country.

Panel 2: The Tax Policy Outlook  

Economic Experts Holly Wade, Executive Director of the NFIB Research Center and Bob Carroll from EY discussed the impact of pending tax policy changes, the economy, and inflation on the Main Street business community.  

“Profits are their primary source of financing their business,” Wade said. “So, if they have lower profits related to inflation or related to government taxation, things like that, it’s less money that they have to reinvest in their business and also their employees. It’s just so important to keep all of this in mind when thinking about how to help small businesses going forward. That certainly includes lower taxes and lower regulatory burdens because it does all impact their bottom line and their ability to operate their business.“ 

Watch Wade’s full presentation to learn more about issues that are a top concern for small business owners. 


Carroll concluded the panel with analyses that EY has done on pass-through businesses and looking forward to the uncertainty pass-through businesses face. 

“In terms of the economic footprint of pass-through businesses, 50% of all business net income is earned by the pass-through business sector. In terms of employment, 58% of private sector workers are employed by pass-through businesses in the U.S. economy from a report in 2016. 

Other topics they discussed were the impact of Build Back Better Act’s individual tax increases on pass-through income, where jobs are in terms of privately held companies versus publicly-traded companies, as well as how a tax increase would interact with concerns about inflation.

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