When the tax man cometh, Black dollars “goeth.” Where will they goeth? Down a myriad of paths in pursuit of new items such as furniture, cars, clothing, and other niceties. But first, unless you do your own tax return or get it done for free by someone, Black dollars goeth to tax preparation firms, the vast majority of which are not owned by Black people. I can hear the two excuses right now: “I don’t know where to find a Black tax firm;” and “I don’t want ‘them’ to know my business.” The first one I can deal with, but the second excuse just blows my mind.
Nonetheless, let’s see if we can get the conscious ones out there to give a Black-owned company some business. There are many independent Black-owned and operated tax preparation firms, and we should seek them out, especially if they exist locally. But, there is one I have written about for years now that I strongly encourage you to support. With more than 200 offices in various cities, Compro Tax is the oldest and largest Black-owned tax/financial assistance firm in the country. Go to the website, comprotax.net, and find the office closest to you, which eliminates the first excuse for some of you.
As for the second excuse, and those among us who are still suffering from psychological enslavement, thinking Black businesses are somehow less competent and beneath the businesses of others, you need serious help. Knowing your business is exactly what you want in a tax firm. The better they know what you are doing, the better they can serve your needs. After all, unless you prepare your own tax return, you are going to have to tell your business to somebody. Why not Compro Tax or some other Black-owned tax business? Whether you file a personal return or a business return, complete with all the forms for rental expense, capital gains, or real estate transactions, Compro Tax professionals can and will provide you with complete and expert service.
In business for more than 30 years and headquartered in Beaumont, Texas, Compro Tax is dedicated to helping its employees and franchise owners obtain the training they need to provide great service to their customers; it also offers great incentives that result in entrepreneurship and wealth-building opportunities. Compro Tax owners believe in giving back; they built their own convention center (Compro Event Center) in which to hold annual events and training, and they rent space to other local and national groups for their conferences and events, thus, creating jobs and business opportunities in the Beaumont community.
Compro Tax, founded by Mr. Jackie Mayfield, is well ahead of the consciousness curve and has set a great example for other Black businesses to follow; but more importantly, it has built a viable, sustainable, and needs-based business, one that millions of people can use throughout the year, not just during tax filing time. It doesn’t open a storefront in your neighborhood in December and close down in April. It is always there, and its offices are committed to and engaged in their respective communities.
In keeping with my theme of economic empowerment, this is about Black business in general, not just one individual business. This is about doing what every other group in this country does in a “competently unconscious” way. They support one another and grow their businesses to the point of being able to provide jobs for their own children. What many of us do is simply get mad and complain about them instead of doing what they are doing.
The more we pass our dollars around to one another, the more empowered we become and the stronger we will be, even to the point of building and maintaining a solid unshakeable economic foundation for our young people. We will also provide them with the proper examples of what they, in turn, should do.
So, while this is not entirely about Compro Tax, I do encourage you to seek them out, as well as other Black-owned tax preparation firms in your city. You will develop relationships with some great people, and you will be exposed to an opportunity to open your own tax preparation business. Taxes comprise a recession-proof industry, as you well know, because no matter what the economy does, the tax man will cometh; and your tax dollars, preparation fees and refunds, will goeth to someone. Make every effort to make them goeth to a Black business.
(Note: Ironically, while writing this I received a call from a White friend of mine asking for the number of “that tax firm you told me about.” It was Compro Tax in Cincinnati, Robin Lewis, Owner. I encourage everyone to use Black-owned businesses; their success is America’s success.)
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.
ber to 6.2 percent in November.
The unemployment rate for Black men over 20 also improved dropping from 13 percent in October to 12.3 percent in November. The jobless rate for White men fell from 6.2 percent in October to 6 percent in November. The jobless rate for Black women fell from 11.5 percent in October to 11.1 percent in November, compared to White women that saw their unemployment rate fall from 5.5 percent in October to 5.3 percent in November.
Black youth between 16-19 years old continue to suffer the worst unemployment rate at 35.8 percent. The unemployment rate for White youth in the same age group was 18.6 percent in November.
The economy added 203,000 jobs last month.
“What this report shows is that the economy continues to grow at a very tepid pace,” said Bernard Anderson, an economist and professor emeritus of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “The economy is not growing at a rate that will reduce the overhang of long-term unemployment.”
Economists fear that Congress won’t act to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits, a move that could stifle job growth in 2014.
“For lawmakers to not be considering extending [unemployment insurance] means that they are really not looking at what’s happening in the economy and they think that things are better than they are,” said Elise Gould, the director of health policy research at the Economic Policy Institute.
Gould continued: “What’s often missed in these discussions is that these unemployment payments to people actually provide stimulus for the economy. Without [the benefits] the labor market will actually lose more jobs in 2014.”
Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, agreed.
In a blog on the center’s website, Stone wrote: “Despite improvements this year, the labor market is still not strong enough for policymakers to let emergency federal unemployment insurance (UI) expire as scheduled during Christmas week.”
According to CBPP, the long-term unemployment rate has never been higher than 1.3 percent when the federal unemployment insurance program ended after past recessions. The current long-term unemployment rate is 2.6 percent. More than 4 million people have been looking for work longer than six months.
If Congress allows the emergency federal unemployment insurance (UI) to lapse, Stone wrote: “That means more hardship for the families of workers who are still struggling to find a job, and it also means that families that lose EUC will have less to spend. Reduced spending, in turn, will hurt the recovery and slow job creation.”
Those hardships would be disastrous for the families of Black workers, who continue to endure higher levels of unemployment than White workers.
The number of Black workers either employed or looking for work fell from 60.7 percent in October to 60.6 percent in November, compared to White workers who saw an uptick in their labor force participation rate from 63 percent in October to 63.1 percent in November. A decrease in the labor force can make the unemployment rate look better than it does on the ground.
“In general, nothing has changed in the relative economic position of African Americans relative to Whites in November compared to what it was in October,” said Anderson. “I don’t see anything to shout about. I guess one can be happy that the African American unemployment rate didn’t go up, but the unemployment rate didn’t go up for anybody.”
Anderson continued: “African Americans have a relationship with the American economy similar to the caboose on the train. When the train speeds up, the caboose speeds up, and when the train slows down, the caboose slows down, but in the natural order of things, the caboose never catches up with the engine. That’s what these numbers show you.”