Opinion: Don’t cut CARES Act lifeline to small businesses

Recent Oregonian/OregonLive stories about a proposal to cancel state tax breaks included in the federal CARES Act focus on how these breaks benefit the “top 1%” in Oregon ­– Oregonians who earn more than $500,000 or businesses with revenue of more than $25 million. There never seems to be discussion about how companies like mine ­– small businesses that haveexperienced substantial pandemic-related losses in the last 11 months ­– also could benefit from the savings this proposal would take away.

My wife, Heidi, and I own an Anytime Fitness franchise gym in Lake Oswego. In a normal year, we earn a decent living. We are not rich, but we do well enough to support ourselves and provide a great service to the community.

There was nothing normal about 2020. Gov. Kate Brown instituted her first stay-home orders last March to limit COVID-19′s spread. Gyms and fitness centers closed and stayed that way, for most of the year.

We absolutely agree with the state’s focus on safety, but we also felt the very real financial impacts. Our revenue plummeted as we lost customers who understandably didn’t want to spend money on gym memberships they couldn’t use.

When Congress came together in a bipartisan way to pass the CARES Act, the business assistance provisions were designed to help struggling companies like mine. Congress recognized that the hardships we were facing were not of our own making; we shut down because the government told us to, to protect the public from COVID-19. Manyof us have lost money; many others have lost their businesses entirely.

The CARES Act provided assistance to businesses that experienced a net operating loss by letting them use that to decrease their tax liability over a period of years. This provision was designed to help hard hit businesses keep some cash in their pockets as they struggled to stay on their feet.

It’s important to understand that you only get this tax saving if you lost money. It is not about helping rich people get richer. It’s about helping business keep their doors open and keep people working.

Unfortunately, some Oregon lawmakers don’t seem to get that.

Read the full article here.