This article is co-authored by Romina Boccia, a policy analyst at the Independent Women's Forum.
This Thanksgiving, women had much to be thankful for. Here's one blessing that likely wasn't mentioned around many dining room tables, but that was important nonetheless: The Paycheck Fairness Act failed to pass the Senate and therefore won't become law during this Congress. Women should give thanks. If that legislation had passed, it would have increased regulatory and liability burdens for employers, making it harder for businesses to maintain and create jobs and would have particularly disadvantaged women.
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, many women are setting their sights on the next big holiday. Undoubtedly, most will be focused on preparing the families' festivities and buying what they can from the kids' wish lists. But certainly some women are creating wish lists of their own.
Women may dreaming of gifts like jewelry or a nice new sweater, but they should prepare a different, far more important, list for Uncle Sam. The following are some recommendations for what women should be asking from their representatives in Washington this holiday season and in the new year.
A permanent extension of the current tax rates. Women start businesses at twice the rate of men. And it’s no secret that many small businesses file their taxes through the individual income tax code. An extension of the Bush tax cuts would benefit business owners (men and women alike) by allowing them to use more resources for growth, hiring and investment. Even under Obama’s plan to sunset the cuts only for the top two brackets, a majority of small business profits would still face a tax hike. This would be bad news, not just for business owners, but for everyone employed by a small business. An extension of the tax cuts is a policy change that Congress should deliver before Santa arrives.
Abolish the death tax. Female entrepreneurs tend to be more risk-averse than their male counterparts. This means that they rely less on loans and investors, and more on personal or family savings, which would take a hit if the death tax is resurrected in 2011. Keeping the death tax in its grave would allow more women access to inherited resources that could be used as capital investment.