The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce hosted small businesses from across the Commonwealth at the state Capitol Wednesday to hear from lawmakers and voice their top concerns.
In testimony to the House Small Business and Information Technology Committee, Kentucky Chamber Small Business Council Chair Sarah Whitaker thanked committee members for their work in the last session on things like tax reform to lower the individual income tax.
Whitaker, owner of full-service agency Williams Advertising in Hopkinsville focused on custom branded merchandise, noted testimony she provided in the 2022 session about how crucial it was to pass tax reform, especially in an area of the state like hers.
“Living on our state’s southern border, I have seen firsthand the amount of business our state loses to our neighbors in Tennessee. I am here today to say thank you for lowering our income tax last year and this year. I appreciate your continued support to make the Commonwealth more competitive regionally, nationally, and globally,” Whitaker said.
She also noted the importance of bills in the 2022 session like unemployment insurance reform and the child care assistance program.
As for priorities this year, Whitaker said it is crucial for the General Assembly to address state and local tax parity for small businesses. Legislation on this issue would allow small business owners to deduct a greater share of their state and local taxes from their federal income tax liability.
“For small business owners, every dollar counts. This is especially true today with labor and material costs rising rapidly, small business owners are looking everywhere they can for savings,” Whitaker said. “There is an IRS-approved workaround for state and local tax parity that, if approved, can save Kentucky businesses up to $40 million per year. This is a no-brainer for our state that would be of no cost to the state budget.”
Kentucky Chamber Manager of Public Affairs John Hughes told the committee the Chamber is a convener, and contrary to what most believe, the majority of companies represented by the organization are small businesses with 100 employees or less, similar to the small businesses run by many elected officials.
Rep. Phillip Pratt, chair of the committee and owner of a landscaping company in Georgetown, said small businesses are truly the economic engine of the state, creating 60% of the jobs in the state.
Small Business Day at the Capitol attendees had the chance to hear from Gov. Andy Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne, Sen. Shelley Funke Fromeyer, Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon, and more throughout the day.