As a New Mexican, one of the things I cherish most is the sense of community that has been created throughout all corners of our state.

It pains me to see and hear stories from family, friends, and fellow community members about the impact that rising prices and inflation have had on their lives. There isn’t one aspect of our daily routines that hasn’t been negatively affected.  

Just earlier last week we saw the first round of direct payments issued to New Mexicans with hopes that it will offset some of the challenges that people are experiencing due to inflation. But more must be done to protect our state and those who call it home. 

Many people don’t realize that the over 156,000 small businesses within our state’s borders make up nearly 99% of the total businesses in New Mexico. These are the very same businesses that we stop in each day to get our morning cup of coffee, rely on for local hardware needs, and employ 340,000 of our fellow citizens. 

It is businesses like these that are the backbone of our community and some of the ones that are hurting the most due to our current economic conditions. 

While members of Congress in Washington are sorting out how to allocate funds for government spending, a common theme we are hearing is that we need to increase the corporate tax rate.

Oftentimes people assume that corporate tax rates only impact our nation’s largest businesses. But the truth of the matter is, an increase in corporate taxes negatively effects even the smallest tortilleria and ranches in the smallest corners of New Mexico. Putting the livelihood of dish washers, baristas and construction workers at risk.  

According to studies by the U.S Chamber of Commerce, if Congress decides to move forward with increasing the corporate tax rate, we could see nearly 1.4 million small businesses forced to cut into their bottom line to pay these increased taxes.

We should be tackling inflation with solutions to supply chain backups and higher gas prices. Not choking out the very businesses that put food on the table. For small businesses that operate on tight budgets, this could mean having to cut back on the number of people they employ, reduce the amount of spending they can invest back into the business, increase the prices of goods and services, or even close their doors for good.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has left many New Mexicans and small businesses holding on by a thread. The last thing we need is another tax burden to carry. Instead of looking for ways to use our small business community as a government funding source, we should be working to help small businesses by creating pro-business policies that encourage these businesses and business owners to be able to operate and grow on their own. 

If we want to solve the economic crisis throughout our country and right here in New Mexico, we need to build these small businesses up, not break them down. After all, these are the very same businesses that have been staples of our community, now it’s our turn to stand up for them.  

Javier Sanchez is a former Mayor of Española and co-owner of La Cocina Restaurant

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