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Shaheen talks tax reform at Dover brewery

DOVER — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Friday during a tour of the 7th Settlement Brewery in Dover that she has “concerns” about a potential tax overhaul promised by President Trump.

“First of all, it’s not going through a process. We haven’t even seen the language of it yet,” she said.

The Republican-controlled Senate passage of a $4 trillion budget Thursday, which Shaheen voted against, lays the groundwork for Republicans’ promised tax legislation.

The budget plan passed by a near party-line vote late Thursday includes rules that will allow Republicans to pass tax legislation through the Senate without Democratic votes and without fear of a Democratic filibuster.

Shaheen, D-N.H., was in Dover meeting with the owners of 7th Settlement, David Boynton and Josh Henry to learn about their challenges of operating a small business and discussing tax reform with the owners. Shaheen, the ranking member of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, is calling for tax reform, but wants the process to be open and transparent, which she says the current process is not. She also called for the tax reform to be revenue neutral.

In a recent opinion piece, Shaheen wrote that since the last major tax reform 30 years ago, “the federal tax code has become more and more complex, frustrating small business and middle-class families every year.”

Boynton and Henry told Shaheen that they spent $15,000 on an accountant to help prepare their taxes last year. Warren Daniel, regional director for the NH Small Business Center, who was also at the meeting, told Shaheen that was a typical accounting cost.

Boynton said the restaurant is not afraid to pay taxes. “We want it well planned and well executed,” he said. Daniels said the issue is more about having an equitable tax policy. “It’s equity that is key,” Daniels said.

More than taxes, Boynton and Henry, who opened their establishment in 2013, said they are concerned about funding sources for small business. It took a combination of loans and other funding sources they cobbled together to open 7th Settlement, including from Community Development Block Grant and Business Finance Authority loans.

“Those are incredibly important for driving small businesses,” Boynton told Shaheen.

Shaheen also toured the beer-making facilities and kitchen and asked about the businesses’ new non-tipping policy, which 7th Settlement instituted on Labor Day. Boynton and Henry said they’ve been able to offer their employees paid time off and health benefits with the change.