WeatherTech CEO Wants More Help From Tax Reform For ‘Made In America’

David MacNeil promoted “made in America” before made-in-America was actually cool, and he’s happy to remind people of that. The owner and CEO of WeatherTech ran his company’s fifth consecutive Super Bowl advertisement on Sunday with a domestic-manufacturing theme, and he’s glad to see the Trump administration and others lately jumping on the made-in-the-USA bandwagon that MacNeil helped get rolling.

But MacNeil has other items on his domestic agenda, which is aimed at further expanding U.S. manufacturing and extending the ongoing surge in the American economy.

To wit: MacNeil believes the Republicans’ cut in the corporate tax rate and in most individual income-tax rates was a great move for the economy, but he bemoans the fact that there wasn’t a similar cut for S corporations or limited-liability corporations.

“I think the tax cuts were long overdue, and they’ll re-energize business in America,” said MacNeil, who fashioned WeatherTech into a half-billion-dollar enterprise making customized automotive floor mats and related accessories, by using only American-made raw materials, American-made machine tools and production equipment, and of course American workers at the company’s complex in Bolingbrook, Ill.

“Tax cuts are essential for R&D in America and for staying in the forefront of leadership in technology.” – David macneil.

“My guess – with a capital ‘G’ – is that 80 percent of businesses in America are either S corps or LLCs who use a tax pass-through,” MacNeil told Chief Executive. “But this 21-percent [new U.S. corporate] tax rate doesn’t apply to 80 percent of the businesses in America. That tax cut applies only to C corps, and no one talks about that.

“It’s good for the Fords and IBMs and Nabiscos and P&Gs and Apples and Googles of this country, but when you get into the real engine of the economy – small businesses – it really hasn’t affected us nearly as positively as has been portrayed.”

What’s more, many business owners’ personal income is high enough that they won’t benefit much individually, either, from the implementation of the tax cuts.

“Let’s be honest: The people who own businesses are typically the employers, and if employers have more money, then employees have a better chance of getting raises and bonuses, of having good jobs,” MacNeil said. “Tax cuts are essential for R&D in America and for staying in the forefront of leadership in technology, bringing jobs and factories and investments and money back to America.”

MacNeil continued, “I was hoping I’d be able to invest even more in my business and take even more chances and spend even more money on marketing overseas, and sell more American products overseas. I want to invest more in R&D and hire more engineers and train more people and buy more machinery because I have more money – but it’s not quite there” after the tax cuts failed to address S corps and LLCs.

“I’m not holding my breath that it’s going to be changed, but I’m hopeful.”

Dale Buss
Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other top-flight business publications. He lives in Michigan.

PARTNER CENTER