Austin small businesses boom, face rising challenges

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is the third best American city for small business. Biz2Credit released a list of 2017’s top 25 cities where small businesses are thriving. Austin sits behind only New York City and Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Some Austin-area small business owners say the boom is real, but so are the challenges they face.

“For the past few months, as our taxes keep going up, I’ve been saying to my wife and some friends, ‘Who’s fighting for us,'” said co-founder of Stouthaus Coffee Pub James Hughes.

Hughes and his wife opened the business two and a half years ago in Sunset Valley. They tell KXAN starting up was a long, challenging process, but even more challenging is adjusting to rising property taxes since they opened.

“We get it. We understand the growth, the rise in value of these properties. But, it’s hard for us to continue to take on these tax burdens and we have no voice,” says Hughes.

When property taxes increase, rent increases. Hughes says Stouthaus isn’t the only small business struggling with property taxes. He knows several business owners in Austin who are also trying to manage the increasing cost of doing business.

Wednesday marks the start of the Austin Small Business Festival where area small businesses get to introduce themselves to new customers and network with each other. Hughes plans on attending. He feels he’ll hear similar stories to his own.

He and his wife hope they and other small businesses get some tax relief so they’re able to keep up with the rapidly growing and evolving area economy.

“That same passion that pushed you through [starting a business] is important in pushing you through the new challenges of dealing with property taxes going up and how we address that while still serve our community and our staff.”

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