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Some Bozeman small businesses concerned about fiscal cliff

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 20 2012 07:31:34 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 20 2012 09:48:27 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

We found out that at least one local business sent a letter to lawmakers, urging them to keep the country from going over the fiscal cliff.  We wanted to know if other small businesses in the area are worried about what could happen if there is no deal.

"We really just need to get this done."

Tim Christiansen owns downtown Bozeman wine shop Vino Per Tutti.  He's already been through one recession and without a deal from the President and Congress, he's afraid he'll be in for another one.  

"We're tired of digging," says Christiansen.

So, he's urging lawmakers to come to a resolution he believes will help drive his business.

"You enjoyed having a glass of wine with your dinner.  Well, if you don't have that money available, all the money's going just for the food to go into the dinner.  You don't have any money left over to buy a drink to go along with it," explains Christiansen.

That's why Christiansen says tax breaks for the middle class would help boost his business and he wants to let tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 expire.

"Letting the tax cuts for them expire is not going to hurt them in the long run, it will just stimulate business overall.  Business overall gets stimulated, then they're going to be making even more money," says Christiansen.

Christiansen says letting both tax breaks expire could slow business and he says it's not just his business that would be effected.

"Business for my distributors slows and my distributors are all Montana-based...so, if they slow, it starts rippling out to other areas and you multiply what happens in one store by hundreds of stores and all of the sudden, there's going to be another problem," explains Christiansen.

After our conversation with Christiansen, we wanted to see if other Bozeman small businesses were concerned about the fiscal cliff.

Larry Bowman owns Owenhouse Ace Hardware.  He, too, knows what it's like to own a business during a recession.

"It's a real challenge for running a business.  You just have to be very, very careful with what you're spending in a business.  with what you're spending in a business, you have to be very careful with staffing levels, you have to be careful with all of your expenses because businesses go out of business all the time.  There's no guarantee that anyone's going to save you," explains Bowman.

Bowman says he's not sure what the resolution will look like.

"It will probably increase taxes on some people, hopefully not the people that are the least able to pay it, and there will be some spending cuts.  Hopefully, again, not on the people that have the greatest need," says Bowman.

But says he's confident lawmakers will reach a deal.

"They'll fiddle around like they always do but, at the last minute, they'll come through with something," says Bowman.