Republicans slam 'out of touch' SBA for dodging questions on tax hikes

Republicans say testimony of top SBA official 'not acceptable'

Republican lawmakers took aim at the Small Business Administration on Thursday, slamming one of the agency's top officials for refusing to answer questions about how a slew of proposed tax hikes could affect small businesses nationwide.

In a letter to SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman, 13 Republicans criticized Mark Madrid, associate administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the SBA, for his testimony on Oct. 6, accusing him of being "unprepared to answer even our simplest questions about the effects that raising taxes would have on small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups across the country."


"Whether it was a basic question on how tax increases affect hiring more employees or if increased taxes would keep businesses competitive, Mr. Madrid refused to answer any and all of our questions relating to this topic," the lawmakers wrote. "This is not acceptable."

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, Isabella Casillas Guzman attends a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship confirmation hearing on her nomination to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration, on Capitol Hill in Wash

In one exchange, for instance, Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., asked Madrid whether he thought an increase in either the corporate income tax rate or the personal income tax rate would "help or hurt small businesses being able to thrive in the United States." Madrid responded: "Congressman, I'm not in a position to answer that." (Donalds was among the GOP lawmakers who signed Thursday's letter.)

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas., and his 12 fellow Republicans who sit on the House Small Business Committee.

"We cannot let this inability to answer simple questions regarding significant policy proposals from the Biden administration become the norm for top SBA as job creators in our communities continue to sound alarm," the Republicans wrote. "It is the responsibility of the SBA to aid and assist small businesses and entrepreneurs."


Madrid was on Capitol Hill that day in order to testify on the SBA's Office of Entrepreneurial Development, which is intended to help small businesses "start, grow and expand by providing quality training, counseling, and access to resources through Resource Partners located across the country and the Office of Entrepreneurship Education," he said in his opening remarks. 

Democrats have laid out a spate of tax hikes to pay for a massive social spending plan that they're still drafting. However, it's unclear what the actual tax increases will look like, given the fierce pushback from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. Synema has resisted any rate increases for the corporate tax as well as the individual income tax.