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Melton International Tackle, which sells fishing gear worldwide, is marking 20 years in business in Anaheim during 2013. It may be the last. Owner Tracy Melton is consulting with his financial experts and exploring other locations for his 30-employee company. He says recent state tax hikes may be the last straw that drives him out of what he considers to be a state unfriendly to businesses.

"I am not rich by any means," Melton said. "I work hard, keep 30 people off unemployment, and my reward is that the state and feds want to take more than half of any profit I make."

Melton has not made a decision on whether he should stay – or go – but his complaints are a familiar refrain among local small business owners who struggled through the recession and express concerns about any new taxes and regulations.

In November, California voters approved Proposition 30, which increases the sales tax a fourth of a percentage point (now 8 percent in most of Orange County), and raises the state income tax for individuals earning more than $250,000 a year. That income tax increase hits many entrepreneurs, including Melton, because they structure their companies to pass their revenues through to the owners who pay individual income tax.
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