He was not alone.
Shears, co-owner of Moore Printing in Anniston, was one of several area business owners who waited Monday to find out what would happen if Congress failed to stop the fiscal cliff – a deficit reduction plan that includes $536 billion in tax increases and about $110 billion spending cuts. And like some of his fellow business owners, Shears did not know how the tax increases might affect his bottom line.
By press time on Tuesday, Congress had reached no agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, which was scheduled to hit at midnight Monday.
“I’m just in a wait-and-see, that’s kind of where I’ve been,” Shears said of the situation. “I’ll have to see how it will affect me … and have trust in our lawmakers that they’ll come through.”
Congress has debated for months without success on a more modest deficit reduction plan to use in lieu of the fiscal cliff.
Shears said however, that running a small business would work in his favor should the fiscal cliff cause his taxes to increase.
“A lot of the time you can control how business goes by the customer service … even in our business if you go out and work hard, you can open doors,” Shears said.
Phil Webb, owner of Webb Concrete and Building Materials in Oxford, said he was also still in a wait-and-see pattern and had made no plans for what to do if Congress failed to make a deal. However, he was confident that Congress’ failure would be bad for his business and all other business across the country.
“It will certainly impact every business,” Webb said of the tax increases. “It will affect all medium and small businesses, we just don’t know how much until they get it all worked out.”
To Webb, the situation is frustrating.
“We’ll have to make adjustments at the first of the year,” Webb said. “What’s disappointing is the leadership in Washington.”
Harold Forsyth, president of the Forsyth Building Company in Anniston, said he was still uncertain what would happen if the fiscal cliff came to fruition.
“All I know about it is there is going to be some tax increases,” Forsyth said. “We’re not scared of it, but there’s nothing we can do about it anyway … we just have to buckle down and ride it out.”
Nancy King Dennis, spokeswoman for the Alabama Retail Association, said retailers across the state are concerned, particularly about tax increases that will impact people making more than $250,000 per year. She said that will impact many small business owners.
“A lot of our members have maybe a little over that listed on their personal income … and a lot of that value is tied up in property … so they are watching things very closely,” Dennis said.
John Blue, chairman of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, said many chamber members are concerned about what might happen this year.
“I was talking to a couple of people this morning … they’re valuing their personal finances and taxes and the probability of those going up,” Blue said. “But again there is so much uncertainty.”
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.