The American Sustainable Business Council, the Business for Shared Prosperity and the Main Street Alliance put their collective weight behind the controversial tax proposal named for one of the country's richest men, investor Warren Buffett, who revealed last year that he pays less in federal income tax than his secretary.
Buffett, in a commentary on the tax code, said many of his "mega-rich friends" would be willing to pay more in taxes, especially while others are suffering.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak on the issue at an event in Boca Raton, Fla., Tuesday afternoon.
Despite the president's entreaties, the U.S. Senate, which will debate the matter Monday, is not expected to pass a procedural vote on closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, as it is not likely to pass with the necessary 60-vote majority, The New York Times reported.
There have been various proposals on where to draw the line in the sand separating the middle class from the wealthy. The small business groups urged the Senate to legislate a "Buffett Rule" by passing the Paying a Fair Share Act (S. 2059), assuring that households with incomes above $1 million don't pay lower tax rates than middle-income taxpayers.
"I could have all the South Carolina small business owners making more than $1 million a year over for a backyard barbecue and have plenty of room left over. It's time for the real millionaires club -- chief executive officers of big corporations, hedge fund managers and corporate lobbyists -- to pay their fair share," said Frank Knapp, president of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and vice chair of ASBC.
In a letter to the Senate, the small business groups noted that a national poll indicated 57 percent of small business owners support the tax increase included in the Buffett Rule.
"The scientific poll revealed that only one of the 500 small business owners surveyed reported an income above $1 million," the trade groups said.
Republicans have claimed that shutting down loopholes for the wealthy would stymie business innovation and hobble job growth.
To many others, shutting down the loopholes is about fairness.
"I've been in business 33 years, and I'm appalled that my customers, who worry about scraping up enough to pay for their next tank of gas and groceries, pay higher tax rates than some oil and food executives. The Buffett Rule is the right step in bringing more fairness to the tax system and supporting the public investments and job creation we need for a healthy economy," said Lew Prince, owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, Missouri, and a BSP leader.
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