Small business owner: Supreme Court decision forces us to rethink investment, hiring plans


Kurt Summers explains that his company could be forced to hold off on equipment investments in response to the health-care ruling. (Katherine Frey/THE WASHINGTON POST)
June 28, 2012

Like many Americans, I am both surprised and disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld a law that I view as an infringement on our most fundamental rights as citizens of this country. I think we felt that the likelihood that the law would be upheld in its entirety was slim — so this morning’s decision comes as a terrible shock.

In the last several years, our business has enjoyed steady growth. The recession was tough, but we found new opportunities and ways to expand in spite of the economic challenges. We’ve been able to hire several more employees and make some larger business investments in preparation for a continued economic recovery.

My belief that the health-care law and its associated taxes and costs would be struck down — at least in part — encouraged me to make plans for additional investments in new equipment and staff which I now am forced to reconsider. Our recent growth has been modest and manageable but extremely positive given the circumstances, and largely the result of careful business planning. And while we have seen a steady uptick in customers and in revenue in recent months, today’s health-care ruling will cause many of us as small business owners to rethink our future.

In the short-term, today’s ruling will force me to pause and rethink my immediate hiring, acquisition and expansion plans. In order to plan ahead, I need to know what future costs and regulations I will be facing. With the law intact, I expect the cost of doing business to increase and new regulations to be delivered by a federal government that doesn’t appreciate the daily challenges of running a business.

Like many small companies, our business is largely dependent on the prosperity of larger business; if the economy begins to fail, and if our business customers suffer as a result of this law, the ripple effect will force us to hunker down and perhaps even to let people go.

The most significant result of today’s decision is that it makes the stakes in November even greater. Our upcoming election is a crucial one; one that may determine how our economy succeeds or fails in the coming years. I plan to work hard to make sure that we elect officials to both Congress and the White House who understand the importance of small business and who will return some sanity to Washington.

Small-business owners are resilient. We see the next step as pushing for a full repeal of Obamacare in Congress. We will work hard to make that a reality.

Kurt Summers in president of Austin Generator Service, a power generator sales, rental and services firm in Austin, Texas.

Flip side: Washington business owner says law provides certainty, tax breaks.

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