Unemployment Insurance Modifications Help a Utah Family-Owned Business

Governor Herbert and the Canyon Craft Cabinets Family

By Governor Gary R. Herbert

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of signing S.B. 129, Unemployment Insurance Modifications. The signing took place at Canyon Craft Cabinets, a family owned business in Salt Lake which will be greatly affected by the reductions in unemployment insurance premiums.

Chris Buckingham, owner of Canyon Craft Cabinets, who works with his three sons and a few other “like-family” employees, spoke briefly at the event and, frankly, he stole the show. Chris’ moving remarks brought the room to tears as he recounted his experiences as an honest businessman who fell on hard times due to the economic downturn. He emotionally spoke about having to let go valued employees throughout the years and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the much-needed unemployment insurance reductions.

I am so grateful to Chris for perfectly representing what this legislation was all about: helping good, decent business men and women to get back on their feet and start hiring again. I know there are many other businesses like Canyon Craft Cabinets who will greatly benefit from this much-needed legislation and I commend Senator Bramble and Representative Peterson for sponsoring it, and the Utah State Legislature for unanimously supporting it.


Chris’s Buckingham’s Remarks:

Good morning. I would like to extend a welcome to all of you who have come to visit us here at Canyon

Craft Cabinets. We are honored to have you Governor Herbert and our state legislators here to visit our small business. We consider our business as an average small business trying to offer a quality product an affordable price.

I started Canyon Craft Cabinets on October 1, 1989. I started this business with a $5000.00 investment and a lot of faith and hard work. As my three sons grew to adulthood, I invited them to be a part of this company. I have spent the last 22 years along with my three sons, building a business that would be an asset to this community and provide a modest living for our families.

We have worked hard and played by the rules of government and we feel like we have succeeded in building a successful small business. I would like to share one thought with you that will demonstrate why we are so grateful to the state legislators and to Governor Herbert for this tax break that will ease a little stress of trying to keep our small business going.

In 2007 our gross sales was 2.9 million dollars with 33 employees. We paid $1800.00 in state unemployment tax. That was a 0.3% tax rate. In 2008 our gross sales was 1.7 million dollars with 21 employees. We paid $450.00 in state unemployment tax. That was a 0.1% tax rate. It was during the end of 2008 and all of 2009 that our sales dropped dramatically.

During the good times we saved as much money as we could, knowing that someday we would see a slowdown in business. When our sales dropped so dramatically, we used what savings we had to keep our employees hoping the economy would get better.

When our savings ran out, we were forced to lay off several of our employees. That caused me a great deal of sadness. I hated the thought of taking away a man’s income. We valued our employees and wanted to keep them. However, we had no choice. We bring back as many employees as possible, temporarily, when we have work enough for them to do. However, it is only temporary.

Last year in 2011, our gross sales were 960 thousand dollars with 11 employees. We paid $13,200.00 in unemployment tax. That is a 5.9% tax. Since 2008 we have suffered an almost 6000% increase in our unemployment tax rate. It has been extremely difficult to continue to operate under such a heavy tax burden along with all the other taxes we must pay.

Before this tax break, that Governor Herbert signed today, we estimated, that this year, in 2012, we would probably pay as much as $19,000.00 in unemployment tax. That is an 8.1% unemployment tax rate. That would have been an almost 40% tax rate increase in unemployment tax over last year.

We are grateful to the state legislature and to Governor Herbert for this tax relief. We hope that more tax relief will be coming our way. It is so difficult to pay 6% or 8% unemployment tax along with all the other taxes with which we are burdened.

Thank you Governor Herbert and thanks to you state legislators for this tax relief you have given to us.

Chris Buckingham, Owner of Canyon Craft Cabinets, Giving His Remarks

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