How I’m Voting: Working for a Family Business, Voting for Romney

By Mark Brisson October 18, 2012, 12:35 PM EDT

As Election Day, November 6, approaches, we asked some event industry professionals to explain how they’re deciding which presidential candidate will win their vote.

In 2004, the owner of our two amusement parks came to me frustrated because new state regulations were going to greatly hurt our business—he wanted me to go to the state capital and fight for our industry. In the eight years since, we have gotten involved with politics because politics have gotten involved with us. This year’s election, at the federal and state levels, could radically change our business, our structure, and our future.
Our goal is to provide safe fun for our guests and meeting attendees, yet when people are anxious about a possible economic collapse brought on by increased federal debt and international uncertainty brought on by a foreign policy of mixed messages, it is hard to get people to enjoy the simple fun of parties, go-karts, and arcade games. While the company is better off than it was four years ago, we still see other businesses struggle, which worsened in 2008. The increase in taxes and regulations is detrimental to our businesses.
I have concerns working for a privately and family-owned and operated business. John Arie Sr. started a go-kart track in the back of his lawnmower shop in the mid-'70s, and the business has grown through hard work and wise decisions. He has made several million dollars, but he is now being told he is “not doing his fair share.” With the changes in the estate tax, if he and his wife were to pass away under a re-elected Obama administration their family would not inherit the business until they pay 55 percent of the value. One, if not both, of the two parks would have to be sold just to pay the “death tax” of an estate that paid all of its taxes.

If the owners pass, the government will end up closing our business—and 220 people will lose jobs—all because this millionaire “doesn’t pay his fair share.” This election matters to our business, and to our lives. That’s why I am voting for Romney and encouraging others to so.

Mark Brisson is the director of marketing and government affairs at Fun Spot Attractions, an amusement park company based in Orlando.

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