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Canton: Small business concerned about future, fiscal cliff

6:49 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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CANTON -- Mike Kappel has built Patriot Software.com from underground up.

"We started in the basement of a factory, so broke we couldn't pay attention kind of a thing," said Kappel. "And we just grew over the years."

Now 25 years in the making, his Canton office employs more than 65 employees. Their work: creating payroll, taxes and hiring software.

Also on Kappel's plate these days are fears about a future without compromise in Washington. Many of us are asking questions as the nation nears the "fiscal cliff" -- none more than small businesses thrown into the middle of the debate.

"Small business owners...we're the ones carrying the brunt. We do most of the hiring in the United States, and now the taxes are coming," said Kappel.

Kappel says it's not just Patriot Software.com he worries about, but the hundreds of other small businesses its software serves.

"We're sitting there stressed, pressured, trying to figure out how we're going to do all this," he said, on behalf of small businesses.

The Tax Policy Center says 88 percent of all households will see a jump in taxes if nothing is done. For Patriot Software, Kappel's done the math.

"My company's taxes are going to be going up $86,000 a year," he said. "In my case, that's a little bit more than I pay in rent. So for me, as a small business owner, it's like doubling my rent."

And with 80 percent of Patriot Software.com profits paying salaries, it's likely to hit others pocketbooks as well.

"[Small business owners] are able to put food on the tables of a whole bunch of people, not just on their own table," said Todd Schmitt, a controller with the company for 10 years.

"That becomes a concern then when you are taking money from that person's business."

"What am I going to do? Do I have to cut hours? Do I have to lay people off?" said Kappel. He's considering the possibilities while hoping for a deal among leaders.

"Small businesses have been squeezed. We've been squeezed a lot and so, at some point, that money has to come from somewhere," he said.

Could there be compromise?

President Obama is pushing for Republicans to extend Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who make $250,000 per year or less, which Republicans argue will penalize many small business owners.

Republicans are continuing to pushing a package which they say would raise revenues by closing loopholes, deductions, and tax credits.  

WKYC-TV

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