Every presidential election brings hope for change. Small business owners have been keeping a close eye on the current presidential race in an effort to understand how the political stances of the two candidates will impact their companies’ futures.
Throughout the campaign, business owners have been divided about which candidate will provide the most beneficial support. Many feel that, given the current state of the economy, the country needs the fresh, non-political perspective that Donald Trump brings. Others applaud Hillary Clinton for crafting a detailed plan for spurring small business growth.
Regardless of personal preference or party affiliation, small business owners have this in common: they are looking for a candidate who understands how their sector is being impacted by key issues.
Republican Platform vs. Democratic Platform
It hasn’t always been easy to discern where the 2016 candidates stand on key issues. However, each party has established a definitive platform, and these platforms present business owners with some difficult choices to consider as they head to the polls.
Overall, the Republican Party is proposing tax cuts that could benefit small businesses and plans to end Obamacare. It opposes an increase in the minimum wage and wants restrictions on illegal immigration.
Democrats are proposing a minimum wage boost, an easier path for legal immigration, and tax increases. Democrats also want to modify Obamacare to ease the mandates small business owners are currently facing.
Where the Candidates Stand
Donald Trump’s platform calls for deregulations and tax breaks. By advocating an across the board low tax rate for small and big businesses alike, he plans to eliminate the precedent for large companies to locate their tax havens abroad, bringing more revenue back home and stimulating the economy. He also intends to renegotiate international free-trade agreements, such as NAFTA and the TPP, in an effort to limit the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs.
Hillary Clinton’s small business plan focuses on eliminating the red tape that hinders small business owners. She has called for greater access to financing for women and minority-owned businesses. She wants to make it easier for prospective entrepreneurs to get financing and for owners to secure capital for expansions. She aims to offer tax relief for small businesses with simplified tax filing, and intends to provide training to small business owners from underdeveloped communities to promote regional development.
Here’s a quick round up of the candidate’s specific proposals on a few key small business issues.
Overall, Clinton wants tax reform that is friendlier to small businesses. She intends to provide tax relief for small businesses with simplified tax filing. She wants to end the carried interest loophole that has been a benefit to Wall Street, and she is also calling for doubling short-term capital gains tax rates to discourage short-term investing.
Trump will lower tax rates on individuals and cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent. He also aims to reform tax regulations, including the elimination of estate taxes so family-owned businesses can easily pass along assets to family members. He actively opposes corporate tax inversions, which is the practice of U.S. corporations moving their headquarters to lower tax rate countries.
The elevation of the minimum wage is a key issue for small business owners. While Trump has not fully clarified his position, he essentially opposes a hike in minimum wage. Clinton believes the federal minimum wage should be increased to $12 and, in some cases, $15, at the state and local level.
Clinton plans a nationwide effort to remove roadblocks for small businesses at every level of government. This includes the support of wage and financial regulations, along with equal pay mandates for employees and paid family leave.
Adhering to the traditional laissez-faire relationship between Republicans and small businesses, Trump believes in less government regulation and supports the REINS Act, requiring an up or down vote on regulations with significant economic impact.
Healthcare is at the forefront of the minds of business owners, who are concerned about the impact of rising costs for their employees. Trump plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and supports health savings accounts, along with a national marketplace geared toward driving competition among health insurance providers.
Clinton believes that affordable health care is a basic human right. Her plan calls for finding ways to build on the Affordable Care Act while slowing the current trend of rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Small Businesses, Big Voices
There are over 28 million small businesses across the country. They represent 54 percent of all U.S. sales and have provided over half of all jobs since the 1970s. As a small business owner, you and those who work for you are in a position to have tremendous influence this Election Day.
The candidates are each supporting very different platforms and strategies for small business success. Just as you weigh the options when it comes to finding the best way to increase your cash flow, you will need to decide which candidate best represents your vision for your business before you enter the voting booth.
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