JK's Restaurant, 09.10.07. Photo by ctblogger.
On Monday, Congressman Chris Murphy made a trip to
After the meeting, Congressman Murphy held a press conference outside JKs and talk about his conversation with the business leaders, which largely centered around the sub-prime crisis and the "chilling" effect it will have on the housing market.
This market, really created by the instability of the housing market, is really one of the scariest that we've seen in a long time and both the Federal Reserve and Congress are going to have to take some steps to try to shore up the housing market, which is potentially crumbling at our feet in many places.
Connecticut is not as bad off as other parts of the country, in terms of the number of foreclosures and sub-prime loans that we've seen, but the entire economy is threatened by the large number of foreclosures and credit squeeze that we're seeing."
Congressman Murphy and business owners also tackled other issues such as:
• The congressman's comprehensive tax relief package for small businesses, which includes expanding the research and development tax credit, an energy tax credit that helps small businesses deal with increases in energy costs, and addressing the alternative minimum tax for families making 75,000 to 100,000 who are forced to deal with the extra financial burden.
• His thoughts on immigration and his disapproval over the slow pace of Congress addressing the issue.
• The lack of affordable housing in the area.
• Thoughts on dealing with traffic congestion on I-84.
After the meeting, Congressman Murphy's staff released this press release, which gave more details about his plan.
Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5) came to JK’s Diner in Danbury to announce that this month he will be introducing legislation to provide additional tax relief to small businesses. Since taking office in January, Murphy has been working to cut taxes - earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed and the President signed several small business tax cuts that Murphy supported. Prior to the press conference, Murphy held a roundtable discussion with members of the Danbury Chamber of Commerce and community residents to ask for their input on several provisions that could be in the Murphy small business tax cut plan.
“When I meet with business leaders across the Fifth District, I hear the same thing over and over again – the cost of doing business in Connecticut is too high. Federal tax policy changes could help alleviate some of the pressure these small businesses feel, and I want to help them succeed. I came to Danbury today to listen to what people here need in order to keep the economy of the greater Danbury area on track,” said Murphy.
This month, Murphy plans to craft his own small business tax cut package that could include provisions to allow deductions for state and local general sales taxes, expand the research and development tax credit, extend the new markets tax credit, increase access to capital for entrepreneurs, and simplify tax filing for small businesses.
“Congress isn’t finished cleaning up the mess left in previous years when it comes to our tax priorities. Small businesses deserve a better deal than what they are getting now, and I hope to craft a tax cut plan that helps businesses across the Fifth District,” said Murphy.
This year, Murphy has already supported a $4.84 billion small business tax relief plan. The package was approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Bush as part of the Iraq Supplemental Appropriations bill.
· Extended Section 179 Small Business Expensing, which will let small business owners buy and write off more equipment each year for use in their trade or business.
· Ensured married couples who jointly own a small business both receive credit for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.
· Included an enhanced tip credit to ensure employers don’t lose current tax benefits when the minimum wage goes up.
· Contained “S-corp” provisions to ensure small businesses keep the tax benefits of being a small business, even as they grow and expand.
· Provided tax incentives to help businesses rebuild and supports construction of low-income housing in areas hit by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
· Extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) through August of 2011. The WOTC supports businesses who hire economically disadvantaged workers such as disabled veterans.
“I was proud to support these tax breaks, but I see this victory as only the beginning. That is why I am working on a tax plan to do more for small businesses so that they can stay in business and grow,” said Murphy.
The News-Times and WLAD were also on the scene and according to all reports, the business leaders were very impressed by what they heard from the freshman Congressman.
Murphy said Congress recently passed a small business tax relief package that, among other things, allows businesses to write off more equipment purchases.
But more needs to be done.
The lawmaker is planning to submit his own bill soon that would allow deductions for sales tax, expand research and development tax credits, and simplify the tax filing paperwork process for small businesses.
"Just standardizing some of the forms would cut down on a lot of paperwork for us and save us money," said Jane Didona, a landscape architect who was among several business leaders who met with Murphy at JK's Restaurant on Monday.
"I was very impressed with Murphy's approach to the issue. Instead of tackling the entire problem, he is looking at pieces to the problem that can be addressed."
Harry Carey, chairman of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, thanked Murphy for meeting with him and other members of the organization to hear their concerns.
"I took away a realistic sense that many of these are huge issues," he said. "Murphy is wise in breaking them down and handling one piece at a time rather than a tidal wave of change."
Overall, the meeting was very informative and gave an insight into Murphy's plans as Congress comes back from it's August recess and from all indications, the members of the chamber were appreciated Congressman Murphy taking time to listen to their concerns.
From Monday, here's video footage of Murphy's presser.
Part 1: Statements:
Part 2: Q&A Session (due to background noise, captions are added):