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Perrysburg businessman talks to White House


Tom Schlachter and Tony Knight visit during the reception for The Art of Robert Heindel at the Sur St. Clair Gallery, July 18, 2012. Mr. Knight recently discussed the fiscal cliff with White House council members.

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Tony Knight wasn’t exactly sure what to make of a recent invitation to participate in a White House Business Council telephone conference call about the approaching fiscal cliff.

He considered that the invite could be a scam. But, the chief executive officer of Perrysburg-based New Waste Concepts, Inc. was intrigued and registered for the call. On Wednesday, he dialed the number at the appointed time, punched in the proper code, and waited for clearance. As promised in the invitation, Mr. Knight listened as two White House administration officials spoke with about 19 business leaders from around the country regarding one of the biggest, post-election, headline-grabbing topics--the fiscal cliff.

“... (T)he discussion is really about revenue and expense-- (a) pretty simple concept,” said Mr. Knight, 64. “What the president is trying to do is say, ‘We need a balanced approach.’ The issue is we don’t really know what the full side of the balance is.”

A collision with the so-called fiscal cliff could occur at year’s end unless President Barack Obama and Congress compromise on upcoming, across-the-board tax increases. The President wants to keep tax rates at current levels for households earning less than $250,000 and has called for a tax increase for those earning more. His plan to reduce the deficit would increase tax revenue by about $1.5 trillion and cut spending by a similar amount over 10 years.

Republicans have opposed plans to raise tax rates on the wealthy, contending a hike would hit some businesses and crimp the economy. They have urged tax code changes to eliminate loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy.

Mr. Knight, who voted for Mitt Romney, said a three-prong approach would help avoid the cliff. That includes tax increases, spending reductions, and tax code simplification to eliminate loopholes.

“Tax reform has got to be a big, big part of this,” he said. “We are going to have to raise taxes on the wealthy; we just have to figure out how we are going to decrease the cost of government.”

The President’s plan doesn’t provide enough details, such as defining where revenues and reductions will come from, Mr. Knight said.

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

The telephone conference appeared focused on rallying business support for the President’s plan, Mr. Knight said. He believes he was asked to join the call because New Waste Concepts, which manufactures environmental cleanup and control products, was among the 2012 recipients of the President’s “E” Award for Exports. The award recognizes those who increase U.S. exports.

Information from The Blade’s news services was used in this report.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: or 419-724-6065.

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