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Let us not forget: Businesses pay our bills

Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012, at 6:10 PM

We have been in a down economy for a few years in Missouri. Most of the downsides of a recession or an economic slump are obvious, but there are some consequences we fail to comprehend.

Part of the money that pays federal unemployment benefits comes from business owners. Along with state unemployment systems, the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) provides for payments of unemployment compensation to workers who have lost their jobs. Most employers pay both a federal and a state unemployment tax.

Currently, those who are out-of-work can be on unemployment for 90 weeks. Unfortunately, this system has provided the opportunity for some Missourians to choose not to work, making it hard for Missouri businesses to find good employees.
I was recently told a story of how FUTA is hurting small business owners right here in rural Missouri in another way.

Late last year, a local small building materials dealer was billed for an additional $1,564.57 in FUTA taxes. This was an increase to most business owners in Missouri to be able to afford growing unemployment costs. If all goes well, this business has a profit margin of 2 percent of sales. It would take $75,000 more in sales to cover these additional costs. That is roughly the total sales budget of one of the owner's stores in January.

On top of this, the business owner told me he tried to hire additional people last summer. Sadly, he was told by most people that they would rather stay on unemployment than to take a minimum wage job for a few months. He also mentioned that Missouri's regulations are now so burdensome that his family often considers laying off all 100 employees and finding a new line of work. If an employee is fired for making a costly mistake or not showing up to work, the business is most often penalized by paying for that former employee's unemployment.

We had several debates about unemployment benefits last year in the Missouri Senate. The bottom line is, unemployment is only meant to be replacement income for a short amount of time. When I hear that there are folks who would rather take government handouts than work, I believe we need immediate reforms. For all politicians that talk about "jobs" and support increased regulations that only make it harder for businesses to employee people -- please take note: businesses pay our bills.

Unemployment is hard on everybody involved. Obviously, it is worst for those who cannot find work, but these lengthy terms for benefits also take money away from business owners. The smaller the business, the worse the effect is. This is why a lot of us are working as hard as we can to cut the ties of regulation and help as many business owners as possible to hire as many people as they need. These are tough times, but we are all in this together. And, together, we will find the solutions.

Senator Stouffer serves the counties of Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Lafayette, Macon, Ray, Saline, and a part of Clay.

If you have questions or comments about this or any other issue, please call toll free (866) 768-3987 or by e-mail at bstouffer@senate.mo.gov.

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Pitty the poor businesses and corporations. They do so much for their employees and communities that are the basis for their business in the first place and pitty the poor businesses who would have fewer customers if there was not unemployment. REMEMBER STOUFFER THAT LABOR EXISTS BEFORE CAPITAL.... and who said that Mr. Republican! LINCOLN, President Lincoln who I don't think would be a modern day Republican. GET A LIFE SENATOR!

-- Posted by salinemg on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 12:33 PM

Oh and Mr. Stouffer if a business manager needs to fire an employee you can do it. Remember that Missouri is an "at will" state. As long as you don't descrimate against someone you can do it. I have fired a few of my employees and in most every case they were written up three times and on the third time I fired them. Writing up people is just good business practices if your businessman is too lazy to practice good business practices then don't cry "TOO MUCH REGULATION." Businessmen need to do their jobs as well as employee's do. Heck I even fired a person for disobeying a direct instruction I gave them and then they just got mad and defied me. "OUT YOU GO" on the first time. I did not fear or had any problems with so called paperwork or anything else. These are just excuses made by lazy businessmen who want everything handed to them but are not willing to pay a living wage with any benefits. I know it is hard to make a business profitable but I sincerely believe that if you live and do business by the "golden rule" you will succeed!

-- Posted by salinemg on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 12:45 PM

Only a Republican politician would think someone was able to pay bills on $7.25/hour here in 2012.

Nana makes a good point about medicaid for kids, etc. entering into the decision not to take a temp job.

I reckon the neo-con solution to this is to eliminate medicaid for poor kids also.

Yeah, Bill, that'll make things better.

What I propose is that we make all politicians live for a year or two on minimum wage. Give 'em a drafty old run down $350/month rental house to live in, a $2500 car with 150,000 miles on it to drive that they are making payments on and breaks down regularily, and make them put down utility and rent deposits with borrowed money from a payday loan shark to start out.

Then give them a temporary 3rd shift job for minimum wage and no benefits, and let them figure out a way out of poverty.

Until one of them convinces me they have actually been there and done that then shut the heck up about how easy folks on assistance have it.

I make a decent salary, and am pretty well off compared to 60% of Marshall, but even I can recognize how lucky I am, and how easy it would be to be put right back at the bottom if I lost my current job.

Oh, and Bill, if your businessman is only making 2% of sales, then he is cooking the books, or his operation is horribly inefficient. Have we confused 'return on sales' with 'roi?' No one, short of commodities brokers works on 2% return on gross sales, especially not in retail.

You do realize that a private business owner can make his annual profit & loss statement say anything he wants, right? To avoid corporate taxes, one just gives himself a bonus, or buys a new car, or new machinery, or remodels the business in order to create expenses to offset profit. Most I know attempt to make that profit as small as possible for tax purposes.

Bill seems to be a pretty nice feller, but apparently is clueless about how life really works for most folks. But then I reckon that's the problem with most politicians in the first place.

-- Posted by Smart Dog on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 1:27 PM

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Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, represented the 21st district in the Missouri Senate until January 2013, when he left after reaching established term limits. He is a life-long resident of Saline County, a farmer and small business owner. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, live on their family farm in Napton. He was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. He served on a number of other committees, including Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy & the Environment; Financial & Governmental Organizations & Elections; Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation; Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission; Missouri Senior RX Commission; Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force; Coordinating Council on Special Transportation; and Midwestern Interstate passage Rail Compact Commission.