As we approach the final hours of this election there is little time for the presidential candidates to earn the confidence of undecided voters. Regardless of the many distractions created by both the Clinton and Trump campaigns, Americans still overwhelmingly say that the economy is the most important issue facing the country today. Business owners particularly have a lot riding on the outcome of top of the ticket races. Business owners and operators rely on government leadership that is focused on policies which aim to stabilize the economy and provide opportunities for growth. Furthermore, these individuals and entrepreneurs pay a multitude of taxes, both personal and business, giving them a tremendous vested stake.
In August, a few days after Hillary Clinton released her six-pronged plan to “make life easier for small business at every step of the way” I wrote a blog post asking for feedback. None of the small businesses responded that felt that Clinton’s plan would effectively help their business.
Unlike Clinton, Donald Trump has not formally produced or released a plan to specifically address the needs of small businesses. It is possible that as a business owner, Trump has not felt compelled to woo small business owners with his ability to lead the nation’s economy. Confirming this notion, polling results of small business owners suggests that Trump holds a double-digit lead over Clinton. Possibly more surprising, more women business owners favor Trump than do men.
However, Trump has released a tax plan which includes components which he believes will positively impact small business. For instance, “The Trump Plan will repeal the death tax, but capital gains held until death and valued over $10 million will be subject to tax to exempt small businesses and family farms”. Also, Trump wants to lower the business tax rate from 35% to 15% (for small and large businesses) and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which many small businesses end up having to pay. This is in stark contrast to Clinton’s plan which does not explicitly call for a decrease in tax rates, but instead focuses on small business tax simplification and an expansion of certain deductions. Trump says that Clinton’s plan includes a $1.3 million tax increase that would ultimately tax many small businesses at a rate of nearly fifty percent.
Finally, small business men and women have at least one important characteristic in common: they are active voters. In fact 95% of them claim to vote in national elections. It may be late in the game but our question to you is, “which candidate has the better plan for small businesses?” E-mail me your thoughts, firstname.lastname@example.org.