Linda Hondros was almost too busy to take the call.
The president of Hondros College only had a couple of minutes, she told the governor's chief of staff Feb. 2, but she could set up more time next week if he needed it.
This call, however, couldn't wait.
"He said, 'Can you be in Washington Tuesday morning to meet with the president?'" Hondros says. "I said, 'You bet.' I felt like a kid in a candy store."
Hondros, No. 23 on the SBN Power 100 list [SBN Magazine, February 2001], was one of three Ohio executives selected to go to the nation's capital, where President Bush told a group of 100 small business owners about his tax relief plan before he released it to the public.
"When you see him on TV, he has a certain type of presence, although in a small group he was very passionate about what he was saying, to get the message across so all taxpayers would embrace the plan," Hondros says. "I'd hate to see any of it diluted because the basic premise is anyone who pays into the tax system should be getting some type of tax relief."
Hondros took advantage of an opportunity to shake the president's hand and to participate in a question-and-answer session later with Larry Lindsey, the president's chief economic adviser. There, business owners expressed particular concern about the estate tax repeal and a desire for an energy plan to address gas and electricity issues, Hondros says.
"As small business owners, I think everyone walked out of there saying he's on track," she says, noting the president's proposal to eliminate the estate tax and to make research and development tax credits permanent were among items of special benefit to businesses. "This is good stuff that will help to drive the economy, especially as we all now are seeing the economy start to soften." How to reach: Linda Hondros, Hondros College, 508-7203