Senior staff writer
Southside business co-owner Bob Dapper revealed that the most interesting moments of last week’s economic roundtable in Plainfield took place with other panelists before going on stage.
Dapper, co-founder of Royal Spa Corp., said the eight panelists mingled for more than 90 minutes in a tent before going inside TKO Graphix to be with Vice President Mike Pence, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
“We developed real camaraderie,” said panel member Dapper. “The time together also eliminated any butterflies before we went on stage – and the table wasn’t round.”
“None of us were 1-percenters,” laughed Dapper, referring to the nation’s richest business moguls.
Dapper said he felt right at home with Pence because they had met several years ago when the politician was host on a radio show sponsored by Royal Spa. Dapper, who has served as a pit crew member in several Indianapolis 500 mile races, also has introduced Pence to several guests and team members during his visits to the Speedway.
Dapper said he was impressed with Secret Service agents who swept the building with bomb-sniffing dogs.
“It was really interesting how guarded he (Pence) was,” Dapper said. “I petted one of the dogs, which I found out later you’re not supposed to do.”
The roundtable was one of several stops throughout the nation to hype the proposed Republican tax overhaul. The proposal, according to Pence, would benefit families, businesses and small farms and condense tax brackets.
Dapper agreed that the tax code works against entrepreneurs and business owners.
“There are so many tax burdens to overcome,” he said. “Entrepreneurs are getting pounded intellectually. It seems when you pay taxes to the government one week, they’re asking for more the next week.”
Dapper said business owners seek an environment in which they can re-invest in product development so that new equipment and product could lead to more jobs. If there were less taxes on corporate profits, business owners could re-invest in employees to bolster the economy.
Panelist’s conversations involved bringing back dollars to the United States by American corporations that operate in other countries; in turn this would stir the economy here.
Dapper agreed that the tax issues before Congress should be bipartisan. Acosta also contended that the GOP tax package would create more jobs.
“They are going around the country talking to business people and letting them know what to expect from the new tax plan,” Dapper said. “Overall they want business leaders to pressure Democrats they can participate in a bipartisan manner instead of sitting it out and trying to shut the other side down.”
Dapper, a graduate of Cathedral High School and Purdue University, co-founded Royal Spa in 1981. The company has three central Indiana locations, including its factory headquarters at 2041 W. Epler Ave., with dealers in 10 states and Belgium and the Netherlands.
“I was very proud to help my friend Mike in this project,” Dapper said. “It was nice to hang with other business owners who were very kind and supportive. The Secret Service guys were nice too. The whole event was a great experience.”
Aside from his business interests, Dapper can cheer for Cathedral in its football semifinal Friday against Columbus East and make plans for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 next year.