Former Ebay CEO Urges Action on Small Business Issues
Former eBay President and CEO Meg Whitman told small business owners at the National Federation of Independent Business conference Monday that taxes, health care, education and frivolous lawsuits are some of the most pressing issues that must be dealt with by government leaders today.
"We live in a hyperfast and hypercompetitive global business environment," she said. "Our government leaders must be prepared to take those challenges head-on and do what is needed to keep the United States as the best place in the world to innovate and create jobs."
The nation has reached a point where high taxes threaten the prosperity and security of our nation, she said, adding that jobs often go overseas because corporate tax rates make it too difficult to run a business in the United States.
"The top federal corporate tax rate of 39 percent is the highest in the industrial world - some 25 percent greater than our competitors in Europe and Japan," she said.
She lambasted the state of health care: "Health care expenses are killing employers... Too often, when companies are successful, workers see their share of that success swallowed up by higher health care premiums rather than more take-home pay."
As for education, she said there's a dire lack of young people with skills in math, science and technology. Separately, she noted that small businesses shoulder 69 percent of the $143 billion annual costs that the tort system imposes on businesses.
She pointed to firms Google and Craigslist as small businesses that have turned big because "constantly reinventing your business is critical to survival." Whitman said the Internet has made small businesses able to compete on a level playing field with large firms and noted that more than 1.3 million people globally make a significant part of their livelihoods selling on eBay.
About 80 percent of small business sellers on eBay sell overseas, she said. "Today, because of the Internet, a falling dollar does not just help big export giants like Boeing, Caterpillar and General Motors, it is also means great export opportunities for small businesses as well."
Lastly, she urged for tax simplification, saying if states levy different taxes, small firms may go out of business trying to calculate tax for 7,600 different tax jurisdictions.
By Sharon McLoone |
June 11, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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