Yesterday when HRC released her detailed agenda for promoting and facilitating small businesses, she called the plan an outgrowth of HRC’s numerous conversations with small business owners over the past several months. From the beginning, HRC has said she wants to be the “Small Business President.” Recently citing her father’s experience as a small business owner, HRC underscores how small businesses are the “fuel of the American economy,” creating roughly two-thirds of all new jobs.
She acknowledged that small businesses were hit hard by the Great Recession and need a targeted economic framework to help the huge sector succeed. The below discusses the six major planks of HRC’s plan for small businesses, looks at the plan from a battleground state perspective and contrasts her plan with Trump’s opaque signals.
Easier to start a small business
First and foremost, HRC seeks to assist small businesses in their earliest stages of development. She stressed the need to streamline state and local licensing while continuing to safeguard health and safety. HRC proposed an innovative deal by which state and local governments that improve their licensing process for small businesses receive federal funding to offset forgone licensing revenue.
HRC also pledged to support undeserved communities by providing incubators, mentoring, and training to 50,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses in such areas. HRC wants government to form partnerships with local business leaders, community colleges, universities, and other institutions and leveraging both public and private investments.
Assist financing and finding investors
HRC’s aims to help small businesses acquire sufficient access to capital to grow and sustain their activities. She aims to streamline regulation and cut red tape for community banks and credit unions, the “backbone of small business lending,” while maintaining the rules on Wall Streetfirms that require strong regulation. HRC noted the potential of to use online lending platforms in this mission, particularly in undeserved communities.
HRC also seeks to allow entrepreneurs to defer their student loan repayments, with no additional interest, while getting their small business ventures off the ground. In addition, HRC would increase access to capital in underserved communities by expanding the New Markets Tax Credit and doubling support for community development financial institutions and the State Small Business Credit initiative. And as she mentioned in July, HRC would promote full tax exclusion of capital gains for long-term small business investments.
Throughout all of her efforts, HRC would work to improve and expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) existing programs for small businesses and give them further authority to help small businesses get affordable loans.
Cheaper, faster tax filings and relief
HRC seeks to reduce the onerous burden of tax filings on small businesses, while providing additional tax relief. She would create a new standard deduction for small businesses, similar to that available to individual filers at present. The plan would permit small businesses with gross receipts under $1 million to utilize “checkbook accounting,” under which filing taxes would be as simple as keeping a checkbook or filing out a bank statement. A similar “cash accounting” method would be available to businesses with gross receipts of $25 million or less.
HRC reiterated her support for allowing small businesses to immediately expense up to $1 million in new investments, and suggested quadrupling the start-up tax deduction for small businesses.
Enable health care and other benefits for employees
To help small businesses provide health and other benefits to their employees despite the significant costs and qualification requirements, HRC proposed simplifying and expanding the healthcare tax credit for small businesses under the Affordable Care Act, and to ensure small businesses with up to 50 employees qualify for this credit. She also supported simplifying the complex phase-out process and eligibility rules for the healthcare credit.
In addition, HRC proposed allowing more small businesses to pool together in offering retirement plans to their employees, thus facilitating the benefit process.
Reforms in federal contracting
HRC acknowledged the difficulties for small businesses in working with the federal government, expressing her belief that federal agencies should bear the burden of hard work to make government more “simple and user-friendly.” She stressed that small businesses should be treated “like a customer” in their relations with the government.
To achieve this goal, HRC proposed a full revamping of the digital experience for such interactions, by directing the US Digital Service, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and other agencies to coordinate in making the business web experience more user-friendly, helpful, and convenient. She also guaranteed a 24-hour response time of agencies to small businesses with inquiries on federal regulations or access to capital programs, and pledged that Small Business Development Centers would be centered in highest-need communities with staffers able to speak the local languages.
In addition, HRC proposed leveraging more than $400 billion in federal government contracting to encourage businesses to better pay suppliers. She is invested in increasing federal contracting opportunities for small businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans. HRC also pledged to defend and support the efforts of the Export-Import Bank as a partner to small businesses, and to expand SBA funding for export development.
The plan dovetails with efforts to rally the small business communities in the battleground state of the campaign in three ways:
• small businesses can assist in registering voters in key battleground states. Small businesses are an excellent place to host a voter registration box, and the process is nonpartisan, benefitting the entire electoral process.
• the campaign seeks additional “staging locations” for staffers to work out of on battleground locations. This will augment the campaign’s the presence, vital to GOTV efforts on Election Day and for early voting.
•small business owners serve as important validators in their communities, who can share how HRC’s policies would affect their experiences. The campaign thus encourages small business leaders to write op-eds and letters to the editor to the local papers, connecting the dots between HRC’s policies and their everyday lives. Such pieces could play a vital role in persuading undecided voters to support HRC.
Trump’s Sparse Agenda
Donald Trump has offered few details regarding his plans for how he will assist small businesses. Under his tax plan, the Trump Loophole would allow small businesses to classify their earnings as “business income” rather than individual income and thus qualify for the 15 percent marginal corporate rate — an enormous tax cut that helps explain the additional $3 trillion his plan would add to the national debt. Trump has said he would cut regulations “massively” to benefit small businesses and to allow immediate expensing of new business investment.
If the past is prologue, Trump’s history of stiffing small businesses and refusing to pay them the original promised price and threatening expensive litigation should they challenge his decision is cautionary. This type of behavior is exactly what HRC’s plan aims to address, stopping large companies from using litigation hurdles and giving small businesses recourse to take on predatory behavior. Trump has never fought for small businesses before; there is no particular reason to think he would start doing so as president.