A couple of months ago I went back to work. Not the kind of work from home work, but physically being a presence in the business my husband and I started 13 years ago. Our years of dedication in its early years afforded me the ability to stay at home once we had kids. But now the honeymoon was clearly over. The economy is on life-support, and we knew we had to audit every facet of our business to make it profitable again.
When a small group of us started the Cleveland Tea Party, I knew that taxes and big government were out of control. That's what fueled me. I knew government had become a beast you don’t tangle with. I’ve seen how suffocating they can become to a small business. When we had a business in another state, I watched that state come in, tear apart my conference room, audit me, threaten me, and scare the crap out of me. The scary man said we owed them over 300K. He wanted us so sign a note saying so and set up payment arrangements. Two phone calls to my attorney ended it right there, and we proved that we had done everything legal, and guess what? We owed them nothing. Nada, Zero, Zip. But that day I learned about the power of big government. By damn they wanted to show me who was boss, and I’m afraid at that, they succeeded.
So after examining every aspect of our business, why am I so surprised that the number one headache I have right now is the government? I think seeing it all sitting there, all the paperwork, tax bills, tax notice increases, and licensing fees has had a way of waking me up from my Mommy coma. The melody of “The Sound of Music” is no longer playing in my head. Now it’s more like the chorus of “I will survive”. It simply gets overwhelming.
I’d love for some liberal to come to my office so I can show them what it takes to “comply” with our Great state of Ohio. How insane the accounting is when you sell products in different counties and the sales tax rates are all different. How much work it takes to “comply” with Ohio BWC. Or, let me show you how our city business income tax just doubled. How about my bill for my corporate accountant that is enormous because the tax laws are enormous. Yesterday I got a notice from the city informing me that the withholding rates were going up and to notify my payroll company. Today I got a notice from Unemployment that those rates are going up. While we’re trying to keep our doors open, I now must pay an increase to cover the multitudes that couldn’t. Then there’s the child support enforcement paperwork that comes through weekly that says I must collect from my subcontractors and forward to the state. And this wouldn’t be complete without giving a “shout out” to payroll taxes. Until you see an amount every week get automatically withdrawn from your checking account to cover the payroll taxes, you just can’t get it.
And just when you think this blog couldn’t get any more depressing, I must tell you about Total Merchant Services in Colorado. They have been one of our merchants for Visa/MasterCard processing. Everything is fine, we process a transaction, and the money shows up in our account in a couple days. Well, on Friday, an $8000.00 deposit was supposed to be there. I was told it was a “glitch” and it would be in my bank on Monday. On Monday I’m informed that they are reviewing us for fraud. After I picked myself off the floor I promptly faxed over the customer contracts with signatures figuring that would be the end of it. Not so fast. Now they admit that no “fraud” is occurring but because we did too much business with them in a week, they will hold the money for 60 days and then review us again to see if we’re worthy to have our own money. And yes folks, this is legal. In fact, I’ve been informed that they can hold any businesses credit card funds for up to 6 months if you sneeze wrong. I suppose this is what happens when the banks and the government are in bed together. They can and will do whatever, whenever they choose. Some quick googling tells me that this practice with merchants is becoming quite common. They call it “stepping out of the parameters of your contract”. Meaning, that if you estimate to them initially that you’ll do 35K a month with them and you have the audacity to give them more business, you’ve stepped out of the parameters of the contract.
Think about it, if you’re a bank you can collect money for a client, charge them a fee to do so and then decide you’re going to keep it for a while and sorry about your luck. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Last night I was warned that if I continued to argue with them on this matter they would put me on a “list” that would prohibit me from being able to process credit cards for 7 years. Why? Because I had the audacity to question them, that’s why.
Big government IS against small business. You can’t be for something while your force our heads under water. And every day, it gets harder and harder to come up for air. That, my friends, is the reality of small business these days. While our president pardons turkeys and throws lavish parties for Hollywood, while our Congress keeps getting fatter, Main Street cries out for help.. Problem is, nobody is listening.
The more big government strangles small business, the freedom of owning a business is eroded. My family is filled with small business owners, and is one reason that motivated us to join our musical forces, and write and record the album “Freedom”. It’s a story in and of itself. Soon I’ll blog about how my dad and I wrote “Give it to me Nation”. And I’ll tell you the true story about the day I wrote the song “Freedom” and the slippery lawmaker who inspired me to write it.