Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer joined MSA members and other community members to hold a press conference at Hawthorne Auto Clinic to discuss the impacts of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Small businesses know that their customers are feeling the pinch this year with the new tax structure that Trump & Republicans in Congress has implemented. Many of those who, in years past, had seen a return, now owe and that means less money to spend in our local businesses. Let's call it what it is, a hand out to the country's wealthiest!
Here's what MSAOR Co-Chair, and Co-Owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland had to say during the event:
We’ve been in business here for 36 years. I am a mechanic by trade and, it turns out, an economic analyst by proximity.
Auto repair is particularly well placed to spot trends and weaknesses in the economic lives of real people, our customers.
During the Great Recession, many people became very selective about what repairs they were willing to have us perform. Due to limited income, and a lack of confidence in their economic future, customers frequently requested that we only repair what was absolutely necessary for getting their ride back on the road.
They would pass on the maintenance needed to keep their vehicles safe and secure over time -- the sort of preventive work that reduces the likelihood of roadside breakdowns and major, costly repairs down the line.
As the economy began to improve in 2010, most folks returned to the practice of keeping up with what they knew was best for the long term.
This willingness, this confidence to put what we recommended "on the card,” was especially strong last year when the President and GOP was promising that everyday folks were soon going to be able to remodel their homes, take long, luxurious vacations, even purchase new cars.
Now that those promises have been broken and the bills have come due, many of our customers have returned to only performing what is absolutely required to get their cars running again.
Long lists of maintenance items are left to be taken care of in some uncertain future.
Everyday people were sold empty promises. As a result, families are taking serious risks in automotive safety and declining the work that keeps repair shops, like mine, in business.
I feel for our customers, and I am uncertain about what this will mean for our shop.
As the co-chair of Main Street Alliance of Oregon, I know that I am not alone in feeling the impacts of the President’s tax scam on my business. Small business owners in our state and across the country are uncertain about our economy and the future under this administration.
[gesture to hair salon owner) Laura Portlock Richards is a hairstylist and owner of Side Salon in the Montavilla Neighborhood here in Portland, and she’s here today, too, because she was directly impacted.
She shared with us that she usually breaks even at tax time, and, like so many others, she had hoped for the same this year. $6,000 later, she’s having to tighten her belt.
This is money she had planned to invest back in her small business. Now, she’s been forced to cut out all marketing, and she’s considering putting off upgrading her salon to compete with bigger chains. She’s unable to attend continuing education courses this year and wonders if all the extra work of owning a small business is worth it.
The outlook is bleak.
I thank Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer for taking this issue seriously, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my view from the mechanic’s seat with you today.