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Economy & Business

Some Small Pennsylvania Businesses Uneasy With Proposed Tax Code Changes

Gov. Tom Wolf
Employees prepare food at the Parkway Caribbean Restaurant in Allentown, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf visited the restaurant in March 2016 as part of his "Jobs that Pay" tour.

The Republican-sponsored tax code overhaul in Congress faces an uncertain path, and will likely see some major changes as it makes its way toward legalization.

But nevertheless, small business owners and advocates in Pennsylvania are trying to figure out how its current iteration would affect them—and some have mixed feelings.

The more than 400-page bill of sweeping tax code changes has been touted as “pro-business” by its House GOP authors and the Trump administration.

And it would indeed slash the corporate tax rate by 15 percent.

Smaller business owners would also get a lower rate on some of their income—but there are limits to who would benefit.

That’s one reason the National Federation of Independent Business won’t back the plan. In a statement, it said the language “leaves many small businesses behind.”

Gene Barr, who heads the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said he’s hearing similar concerns from many inside the commonwealth—particularly owners of small “pass through” businesses.

“A lot of family businesses are going to perhaps have some of these concerns, where they say hey, that’s not quite the level of incentive I had hoped for,” Barr said.

But he added, despite issues business advocacy groups may have with the plan’s current form, he thinks it’s important to “stay in the room” to work toward larger goals, like simplifying the tax code.