How Family Businesses Can Change the Tune on Capitol Hill


By Pat Soldano

America is back on the road. Planes are full. Overhead bins are bulging.

I am part of this post-COVID travel warrior surge. Every week I am somewhere meeting with multi-generational family business owners, presenting to family offices executives and their clients, and listening to successful individuals. All are worried.

What is going on in our nation’s Capital, they ask?

Everywhere I go, from New York to Newport Beach, the voices are singing from the same hymnal: Oh Taxes, Enough is Enough!

The refrain goes like this: “Eighty percent of us operate as pass-through entities, and we pay close to forty percent in income tax now, how can they possibly increase tax rates, or charge a surtax on incomes at certain levels? Enough is Enough.”

It’s a popular tune, but in another town, there is a different song.

Recently, I was in Oldfield, South Carolina, speaking to executives from family offices and family businesses. Here, the worry was about changes in human resources rules and regulations. Too much time and money are being spent trying to make sure they comply. And, more importantly, what if they don’t comply?

How do we fight this, they asked? The issues are as old as South Carolina oaks.

“How will our next generation be able to continue the business? How do we stay ahead of the next set of poorly written rules, and support our employees and our community? How do we operate and plan when the political environment is so polarized, and legislation and regulations are so up and down?” 

Yes, and yes. How do family businesses navigate through all this noise, and still run a business?

Then it was Minnesota. There it was the Estate Tax: “what will the new estate tax be on January 1, 2026?”

There, in the land of 10,000 lakes, a group of multi-generational family businesses and family offices worried about what the estate tax law was going to look like when the $13 million lifetime exemption for the estate tax expires.

“What will the exemption be? Will it go down drastically? Will it stay about the same? Will the rate go up?”

I listened. I agreed. I shook my head. I didn’t know.

“There was only one answer,” I said. “Get the word out.”

“How?” they asked.

“Talk to Members of Congress tell them your concerns! Be the squeaky wheel! Encourage them to join the Congressional Family Business Caucus,” I said.

Not everyone has heard about the Congressional Family Business Caucus. It’s met twice this year, so far. The third meeting will be held September 20.

This is the one forum where family business owners can speak out on Capitol Hill, voice their concerns, and tell their stories to Members of Congress including the co-chairs Representatives Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), and Henry Cuellar (D-TX). It is bipartisan and educational. Let Members of Congress and voters know how important family businesses and successful individuals are to this country and the economy.

It’s the first Congressional caucus focused solely on the critical issues facing generationally-owned family businesses of all sizes and industries across the United States.

Go to our websites and and respond to the “call to action.” Let your voices be heard by your legislators NOW. Don’t wait!

We can change the tune in Washington if we do it together.

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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to multi generational businesses and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, multi generational businesses and family businesses are under fire. That's why Family Enterprise USA is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to generationally-owned family businesses built on hard work, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill. The issues we fight for or against with Congress in Washington DC include high income tax rates, possible elimination of valuation discounts, increase in capital gains tax, enactment of a wealth tax, and the continued burden of the gift tax, estate tax and generation skipping tax.

Family Enterprise USA promotes generationally owned family business creation, growth, viability, and sustainability by advocating for family businesses and their lifetime of savings with Congress in Washington DC.  Since 2007, Family Enterprise USA has represented and celebrated all sizes, professions and industries of family-owned enterprises and multi-generational employers. It is a bi-partisan 501.c3 organization. Family foundations can donate.

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