Washington, DC – The National Restaurant Association today issued the following statement from Peter Kilgore, Association acting interim president and chief executive officer, regarding the small business tax relief provisions in the Senate-approved minimum wage/tax relief package included as part of the Iraq war supplemental:

“We are pleased that the Senate unanimously approved additional tax relief for small employers as part of their minimum wage/tax package.  The extension of the restaurant depreciation provision represents real targeted relief for those small employers impacted by a mandated wage hike.  The Senate’s revision extends accelerated restaurant depreciation through December 2008 (including new construction, leaseholds, and improvements). 

“Seventy percent of the nation’s restaurants are small businesses.  The impact of the proposed minimum wage increase is expected to be significant, affecting the nation’s 935,000 restaurant and food service outlets, their 12.8 million employees, and the millions of customers they serve.  Research indicates that when the minimum wage is raised, prices go up and job opportunities go down.  Certainly, the Senate package represents a larger commitment to small employers who will have to mitigate the costs of the proposed 41 percent wage hike. 

“Ultimately, we hope the House and Senate can agree on as large of a tax relief package as possible, and that no tax increases on small businesses are included in any final package.  We also hope the FICA tax credit included in the House-passed bill remain in the final package.”

The National Restaurant Association has been a leader in the debate on minimum wage on behalf of the restaurant industry.  The Association chairs the Coalition for Job Opportunities, a group of more than 30 business organizations opposed to government-mandated increases in the entry-level wage.

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