While shaking hands with employees and checking out Murray and Holt Motors in Bend, Congressman Greg Walden's appeared relaxed. But what the Republican was there to speak about was serious business.
"We've got kind of a couple (different) front wars going on between regulations from Washington, that feel more like opposition than partnership,' Walden said.
The congressman was referring to the looming tax hike, if Congress does not act by the first of the year.
President Obama wants the end the Bush-era tax cuts for those making more than $250,000. Walden could not think of one positive thing to say about the proposal.
"They'll tell you they're going to raise money to reduce the deficit," he said. "The problem is they end up spending more than they cut, so you can raise taxes and the deficit still goes up."
Surrounded by small business owners, Walden warned that tax hikes will only create more red tape for them to cut through. He said he worries higher taxes and more regulations will discourage growth, and Bend car dealer Jack Holt agreed.
"It's taking away the incentive, and it really is creating a penalty for success," said Holt.
With plans to pass down his business to his sons, Holt expressed concern over the "death tax" coming back if the Bush-era tax cuts are not renewed. (An initiative to eliminate Oregon's estate tax just made the November ballot.)
Walden believes many families across the country would face a similar struggle, as that would mean a dramatic jump of 20 percent in estate taxes.
"When the patriarch or matriarch of the family passes away, the government doesn't want your farm -- it wants cash," said Walden.
Walden argued that extra cash to pay the government is something hard-working Americans battling a bad economy simply don't have.
Democrats strongly disagree with Walden, their main argument being that only 3 percent of Americans actually make more than $250,000 per year.
Democrats also believe not extending tax cuts for the rich would create close to $1 trillion that could be used to fund infrastructure, create jobs and reduce the deficit.