By Collin Reischman
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — More than 9,300 small businesses throughout Missouri are members of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Brad Jones, state director of the NFIB, said more than 77 percent of those businesses employ less than ten people.
“These are the Main Street businesses,” Jones said. “Those businesses downtown in Jefferson City, most of them are our members. We’re the mom and pop stores, we’re the corner drug store, we’re the traditional small business.”
Because Jones and the NFIB represents a wide range of businesses, from manufacturing to service industry, the NFIB focuses on “pocketbook,” issues that affect all of their members.
Taxes, workers compensation, unemployment compensation, environmental legislation, and economic development bills get the majority of the focus of the NFIB. Jones said they do not focus on local cities and municipalities because they simply do not have the resources.
Currently, the NFIB has more than 400,000 members nationally with a presence throughout all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
“We focus on things that cut the really wide swath,” Jones said. “My job is to focus on the state level. Whether that’s tax rates or rules and regulations, we focus on the state level to benefit all our members.”
Jones threw the support of the NFIB behind the income tax cut bill sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Kansas City. Senate Bill 26, Jones said, would provide a “significant and beneficial” tax cut to a large number of his members.
“Sometimes we forget that lots of small businesses file taxes as individuals,” Jones said. “So a tax cut for individuals can often equal a cut for our small businesses. And when a small business has more income, they invest more in their inventory, they hire more employees, and they raise wages. And that’s the kind of growth that benefits the middle class and the kind of growth that helps the average people of Missouri.”
While Jones said the NFIB was “not thrilled,” about the addition of a half-cent sales tax to SB26, the organization has not yet taken a position on a proposed one-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation costs – legislation that is rapidly moving through the Capitol. He indicated that the NFIB was hesitant, but that they had not yet asked their members on the issue.
The NFIB distributes ballots on various issues to their members before assuming a position. Jones said with the advent of fax machines and emails, he can send-out thousands of ballots and receive enough responses to paint an accurate picture of member opinions within a few days.
“I can walk into an office in the Capitol and tell a Senator or a Representative that 85 percent of our members have never used or benefited from a state tax credit, and I can say that based on our ballots,” Jones said. “It really makes the information, the position we take, it really makes it more understandable and concrete.”
To reach Collin Reischman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @Collin_MOTimes.