Small Businesses in Austin Expect to Expand Operations With New Tax Reform

State & Regional

Some small business owners in Austin are confident their companies will see a boost from federal tax reform.

“I think it’s just a big benefit on multiple levels for the business – growing, hiring people, expanding but also putting money back into the hands of people who work at ABC,” Bobby Jenkins of ABC Home & Commercial Services told Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, during a roundtable discussion at Wally’s Burger Express.

President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers hailed their tax changes in late December, calling it a “historic victory for the American people.”

“It seems to me that there’s going to be more competition for workers and naturally an increase in wages you’re going to have to provide your workers in order to compete for the best talent,” Cornyn said.

Robert Mayfield of Wally’s Burger Express agreed.

“It happens every time there’s economic growth,” Mayfield said, citing how their employees start with an hourly wage of $12 an hour.

“We don’t do that because we’re nice guys,” Mayfield said. “We do that because that way you get the best people. We have a low turnover and that’s one of the reasons – we treat them right, we train them.”

Josh Agrelius, owner of Re-Bath of Austin, said his company plans on increasing employee benefits. He told Cornyn, with tax reform out of the way, he’d like to see Congress act on health care reform.

Cornyn on Trump’s Haiti remarks

The Washington Post reported last week President Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as a vulgar term during a bipartisan meeting with senators at the White House. Reporters asked Cornyn about Trump’s statements after his meeting with the business owners at Wally’s.

“I have no way of knowing,” he said. “I’ve heard the accusation and I’ve heard the denial. I just don’t know because I wasn’t there. But certainly, if the statement was made, it’s not something how I would characterize it.”

Cornyn said right now, Congress has an opportunity to deal with border security, the diversity visa lottery and DACA talks.

“We need more engineers, more people in the sciences and that to me is just one way we could find a compromise to deal with both the desire to bring in immediate family and to also make it more merit based at the same time,” he said.

Cornyn said while there hasn’t been progress in renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and getting additional disaster relief, those are next on the checklist when Congress makes a deal on DACA. But Cornyn says CHIP will be reauthorized for at least five years.

“As soon as we can get a resolution over the DACA issue, then I think we’ll agree to the budget caps and then the disaster funding and CHIP re-authorization will follow shortly after,” he said.

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