A small business advocacy group is accusing President-elect Barack Obama of backing away from his campaign promises before he even takes office.
The American Small Business League, which had supported Obama during the campaign, said it has noticed a disturbing pattern in which some of Obama's tax and small business proposals that had been prominent during the election campaign have been removed from the transition team's official Web site, Change.gov.
One such tax proposal was to enact a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry to provide a $1,000 emergency energy tax rebate to American families. Another campaign promise would have ended the diversion of federal contracts for small businesses to corporate giants such as Dell and Lockheed Martin, a key rallying point for the group.
"In terms of these small business issues, say for example, restoration of the SBA budget, staffing, business contracting, and those types of issues, we've worked with the Obama campaign, but we haven't seen any movement to coming to some kind of plan or a strategy," said ASBL spokesman Christopher Gunn. "We haven't seen the type of substance we've been looking for in terms of the small business community in this time of economic recession."
Earlier this week, Obama and his advisors signaled another possible change in tax policy: that he may not raise taxes on people who earn more than $250,000 per year when he takes office to pay for his health care program and middle-class tax cuts. Instead, he may simply allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of 2010.
The group pointed to the fact that the promise about the windfall profits tax was displayed prominently at the top of the economy section of Obama's campaign Web site prior to the election. That same information was transferred to Obama's transition Web site, but was recently removed without warning (pre-change, http://www.asbl.com/documents/Economy_Change.pdf ; post-change, http://change.gov/agenda/economy_agenda/).
One reason for the change on the Web site could be the steep drop in gasoline prices in recent months, which has dampened the argument for taxing the oil and gas giants on their excess profits. But Gunn believes that gas prices will eventually creep back up to the levels seen earlier this year.
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