Mixed reactions from business leaders to higher taxes

August 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Congress wants to know what's working. She met with a group of small business owners Thursday morning to go over suggestions for how to grow jobs.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Congress wants to know what's working. She met with a group of small business owners Thursday morning to go over suggestions for how to grow jobs.

"If you make $1 million a year, on your first dollar after $1 million you would pay a higher tax rate," Pelosi said. "That affects this many people. See my hair? This many people."

Pelosi's animated response was to the House Republican assertion that tax hikes would kill jobs.

At Thursday's round table, hosted by Anchor Brewery, Pelosi heard praise for government tax breaks on new machinery and subsidies to promote hiring.

"We just recently installed our second production lines, and hired some additional sewers," said Mark Dwight of Rickshaw Bagworks. "We'll be doing more of that next year."

Dwight said he has no problem with asking the very wealthy to pay more.

"My hiring is directly related to my growth, and not to taxes," Dwight said. "As our friend from Boudin Bakery said, growth is in our DNA as entrepreneurs."

But the CEO of Boudin Bakery isn't so sure.

"I think anything that increases cost impacts hiring," David Wolfgram said. "If your costs go up anywhere, it has the potential to impact hiring."

"We don't mind paying our fair share," said Harmeet Dhillon with the San Francisco Republican Party. "I think that we mind is hearing about the Solyndras of the world."

Dhillon says Republicans would support increased taxes on the rich if Democrats would agree to more cuts, adding that President Obama's health care reform would have to be off the table as well as some of the larger government initiatives. Dhillon also said he would want to see the elimination of the Department of Education and would cut regulations on energy production.

How likely is it that Republicans will support the president's call for tax increases? In the near future, not likely at all. That's significant because the Congressional super committee has until Thanksgiving to find some agreement on that issue, or the trigger will be pulled on deep cuts to defense spending and social programs.

Pelosi told ABC7 she's hopeful, but her hope is that Republicans will cave rather than accept deep cuts to the military.