INTERVIEW: Local businessman testifies in tax incentive hearing

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Congress is taking a close look at how tax incentives can help small business. Wednesday, lawmakers called a local business owner to Capitol Hill to get his take on the issue.

Hugh Joyce from James River Air Conditioning was part of a group of business leaders who testified before the House committee on small business. He joined us on First at 4 to talk about his experience.

Ryan Nobles:
Hugh, your industry in particular is benefiting from some tax incentives put in place by Congress. I want to share with our viewers a portion of your testimony from yesterday: "Financial incentives to install energy conservation measures are a quadruple bonus. They save consumers and small businesses money. They create jobs. They result in less greenhouse gas emissions and they help the environment."

Ryan Nobles:
Expand on this point. You think these tax incentives which people can take advantage of right now to buy some your products benefit just about everybody.

Hugh Joyce: Right. Right now, consumers have been a little less anxious to buy things and when that incentive is out there, it's just enough to get them to go and move forward. But it only qualifies when you got high efficiency equipment, so it's incentivized them to jump out and buy really good efficient equipment. So we've seen not only see consumers buy when they might not have been buying, but also much better pieces of equipment; that will be more efficient, better for the environment, better for the them.

Ryan Nobles:
I can see how this benefits you during this period of time when the tax incentive exists, but what happens when it goes away? Are you going to see a lull in business then?

Hugh Joyce: We expect to definitely see a drop-off. We were encouraging them to hopefully extend it a little bit so keep that wave going.

Ryan Nobles:
Let's talk about the stimulus. That was another question that the members in Congress had for you. They asked, frankly, is it working? What did you tell them?

Hugh Joyce: We told them, yes, that the parts that were associated with us were definitely working. That tax credit was part of the inside of the stimulus bill and it has definitely driven people to buy product when they might not have bought product before, so that has helped us, I know, keep people working as opposed to having to lay people off.

Ryan Nobles:
What other recommendations did you give the members of Congress? Maybe some things they haven't thought of before?

Hugh Joyce: They probably thought about it, but we said please go gentle on the tax increases, especially with small businesses because they squish your capital down and make it so difficult to grow and expand and let them know that every tax incentive they do, particularly on energy retrofits give them many different -- they leverage much, much better than others, and most energy projects are done by small businesses, so the more they can encourage with tax incentives. We told them sugar is better than vinegar up there, so we hope they will listen.

Ryan Nobles:
My last question for you is people are so skeptical of Washington right now. When you got up there and testified before these members of Congress did you really feel like your voice was being heard, that they were getting the message that you were trying to send?
Hugh Joyce: I tell you, going to Washington is thrilling. I love it. Most of the folks up there are well intentioned and really do want to help American people. What we see after it comes back to us is not necessarily what's really going on. No, I felt they were listening and they do want to help.

See the video at right for the full interview.

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