Small businesses are keeping a close eye on fiscal cliff talks resuming in Washington D.C. Unless there is an agreement for new taxes and spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit automatic tax hikes and cuts will take place.
This worries small businessmen. Green Acres restaurant has been a fixture in Birmingham since 1958. Greg Gratton took over the business from his father in 1993 and Gratton knows the economy and his employees are in for a rough time without a compromise.
"I'm already paying them like minimum wages. If we have to jump off the cliff that means they are going to be paid less," Gratton said.
Down the street on Fourth Avenue North is the New Deal Barber Shop. Like Gratton, owner Erskine Simpson is worried about a big tax hike on the middle class.
"Putting taxes on the middle class is putting more stress on the middle class. That's the working class people of the United States. You know what I'm saying," Simpson said.
So can a deal be reached by the Dec. 31 deadline?
"I think if we get a deal, it's going to be a little deal. It's going to be a deal to help the politicians save face. It won't be a deal that addressed the problem," Stewart Welch, of The Welch Group, said.
Welch says without extending tax breaks for social security payments everyone's pay check will be smaller.
"The employer need to make certain to take that extra two percent out. The employee need to plan on that extra two percent going out of their pay checks. The employees are going to have smaller pay checks." Welch said.
If there is no deal and the country goes over the "Fiscal Cliff" higher tax rates will be added on to those paychecks. "I hope people up there will thing about us and not just themselves. If the don't come with an agreement I hope they jump first before we have to jump." Gratton said.
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