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Posted: 3:31 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

Atl. small business leaders not happy with SOTU

By Pete Combs

No, sir. They didn’t like it.  


Atlanta small business leaders, many of them already sour on the Obama administration, reacted with skepticism and anger to some of the proposals put forth by the President during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, scoffing at what they perceive as a growing regulatory environment while cringing at the thought of a minimum tax on the wealthy. 


“It just didn’t give me anything I could sink my teeth into,” said Gerry Harkins, CEO of B&G Properties, LLC. Referring to the President’s plan to protect consumers from predatory lending by banks, mortgage brokers and payday loan companies, Harkins was cynical.  


“We’re going to make sure the federal government protects you from everything but the government,” he laughed. 


JD Crowe wasn’t laughing, though. Vice President of Southeast Mortgage, Crowe said President Obama “suggested lots of programs and lots of things that government can do to help spur the economy. That’s just counter-intuitive to me.” 


Neither small business executive was impressed by the President’s proposal on a minimum tax for America’s wealthiest.


 “Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes,” President Obama said in his speech.


If 30 percent is the President’s proposed minimum, Crowe wondered, “then what is the maximum?” 


Harkins agreed. “It’s going to say, ‘if you’re successful, we’re going to punish you.’” 



Both men agreed with the president on one thing: Washington is gridlocked. Neither expects much to get done in the capital during an election. In fact, neither expects much will be done at all, given the current climate on Capitol Hill.

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