If a tax hike is used as part of the government's plan to avert the "fiscal cliff," that could be a problem for small-business owners such as David Curliss. "What it absolutely means is less cash for growth in my business," he said. "In the worst-case scenario, it means we let someone go or have to reduce benefits." President Barack Obama wants to raise rates on high-earning individuals as part of a "fiscal cliff" deal. Obama has noted the overwhelming majority of small businesses would not experience a tax hike.

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