Will Clinton’s Plan Help Small Business?

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton released a six-pronged plan aimed at making “life easier for small businesses at every step of the way”.  It has been reported that since 2007, new business formations have fallen by 15 percent. Clinton has stated that there are too many obstacles for small businesses to achieve success.  Consequently, at this point in her campaign she is apparently taking an interest in small business growth and vitality.  Candidate Clinton is touting visits with small business owners across the country in hopes of better understanding the barriers that exist.

In her plan, Clinton pledges that she will:

•Make it easier to start a business and become profitable
•Make it easier to get financing and find investors
•Make it cheaper and faster to file taxes and provide tax relief
•Make it easier to offer health care and other benefits to employees
•Make it easier to work with the federal government
•Make it easier to fight back when you’re getting stiffed

As mentioned, the first step in Clinton’s plan is to make it easier to start a business and become profitable.  The plan cites an international study which indicates that the U.S. is ranked 49th in starting a business, well behind Canada and Denmark.  Clinton’s plan says that she will push states to make it faster and cheaper to start a business. This means that she would like to reduce the number of required forms, licenses and fees associated with registering a business.

However, in Ohio, entrepreneurs have already seen relief in this area.  Since taking office, Secretary of State Jon Husted has modernized the process of registering a business. In fact, it now can all be completed online.  Additionally, in House Bill 3, which passed last year, various filing fees- including articles of incorporation- were reduced by an average of 21 percent.

Many of the other ideas contained in Clinton’s plan are related to creating access to financing as well as tax relief for small businesses.  These include promoting the 100 percent tax exclusion on capital gains for long-term small business investments.  Also pertaining to taxes, Clinton wants to create a new standard deduction for small businesses, much like the one available to individual filers. This allows small businesses to:

•Immediately expense up to $1 million in new investments,
•And quadruple the start-up tax deduction to significantly lower the cost of starting a business.

Another area of significance to small businesses is that of regulations.  Clinton’s plan states that she will push federal agencies to make government simple and user-friendly.  Specifically, her plan calls for a 24-hour response time to small businesses about federal regulations and access to capital programs.

As always, the battleground state of Ohio is expected to be extremely important to the success of both presidential candidates.  Small business owners and operators will have an impact on the upcoming election.  In fact, it has been reported that small business owners are divided on whether Clinton or Trump would make a better president for small business.  On the one hand, Trump offers a business perspective at a time in which businesses need certainty from government.  But on the other hand, amidst Clinton’s call to boost the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, there are still small business owners that think she is best suited for the job.

Given Ohio’s continued success as it relates to small business creation, I am not certain that the impact of Clinton’s plan will be as profound or significant as she may suggest.  However, I would like to ask for your thoughts.  Do you believe that Hillary Clinton’s plan for small businesses could be a much needed catalyst for Americans, specifically Ohio entrepreneurs considering starting a business or growing their existing small business?

Email me your thoughts at bogden@ohiochamber.com