ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS, CARLISLE, Arkansas (CNN) – Christine Bageant is likely smiling. Rick McKay is definitely frowning.
News of the bipartisan stimulus package reached Thursday in Washington means different things to different people. Bageant owns a Sonic tucked off of I-40 east of Little Rock. McKay is the proprietor of an auto repair collision shop in Searcy, northeast of this state’s capital city.
For Bageant, the measure likely means more hungry travelers, more burgers flipped, and more cash register rings. McKay, whose business is not necessarily dictated by short-term economic fixes, thinks the agreement reached by President Bush and congressional leaders is fruitless.
We spoke to both of these small business owners Wednesday as the CNN Election Express motored through Arkansas on a six-day cross-country tour to talk to voters about what are their most pressing concerns.
McKay said he would rather see a long-term fix to the nation’s economic woes. And he wants a tax cut.
“I don’t know that we need to throw a bunch of money, several billion dollars to prop up the economy,” he said, as political leaders were in the middle of hammering out final details of the plan. “Does it need to be propped up? Give me something that is going to help me in the long run. Reduce our taxes. I own my own business. If I had a tax break or if I knew I was going to pay less taxes then I would start looking at how I was going to use that money to grow my business.”
On the other hand, Bageant told us that her business is struggling, and this type of rebate plan is needed.
“If they are not spending money we are not making money,” she said. “I am a small business owner. We are struggling to pay bills month to month just like anyone else.”
But Bageant and McKay do agree on one thing: the lawmakers back in Washington need to work together to find solutions.
“Stop arguing,” she said. “You are acting like children.”
McKay added, “They are bickering. Nothing is happening in Washington. We just have nothing going on. I don’t know why these guys are even up there.”