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March 25, 2016
Business Management  |  6 min read

5 Things You Need to Read: The Election Edition

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Ellis Friedman

Ah election season, the time of year when lies and rhetoric sparkle amongst the headlines; when unsubstantiated claims and false promises take gleefully to the streets.

OK, let’s pack away the cynicism for a moment—we’ve probably all had enough of that. One comforting takeaway: The candidates all pretty much agree that small businesses are the backbone of the economy. 

This election, like all presidential elections, is a big deal, and every candidate will have an impact on your small business. Since we’re still in the primaries, candidates aren’t really backing up their statements with specifics yet, but given the information we currently have, will any of them be any good for small business? 

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Let’s take a look at what the five remaining candidates say they’ll do for small business. But first, a survey. 

Do any of the 2016 Presidential Candidates Understand what Small Business Owners Need? 

The article doesn’t outline stances, but rounds up some statistics from a survey. And according to the survey cited in the article, “42 percent of the 1,001 small business owners surveyed don’t believe the 2016 presidential candidates understand how the country’s corporate tax rules impact small business.” Let’s hope this is not actually the case, and that the candidates are familiar with corporate tax rules. 

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2016 Presidential Candidates on Small Business Issues

But let’s break this down candidate by candidate, in alphabetical order, pulling only from what we find straight from their sites, then any relevant op-eds they’ve penned. Candidate descriptions reflect solely the information that was available on their site. 

Hillary Clinton 

Clinton’s site fawningly says she will be “the small business president.” She also has a fact sheet that outlines her stances and record. The gist: cut red tape (though she doesn’t say what red tape that is), expanding access to capital, providing tax relief, and simplification for small businesses, and expanding access to new markets. She also advocates raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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She goes into this a bit more in an op-ed on LinkedIn from last May.

Ted Cruz

According to Ted Cruz, small business supports Ted Cruz. Cruz states that his Simple Flat Tax plan will help everyone “see a double-digit increase in after-tax income” and lift the economy by increasing wages, the GDP, and creating jobs. His plan would make the individual rate 10 percent, with a business flat tax rate of 16 percent on net sales. He would also eliminate payroll tax.

Cruz gets more in depth in the op-ed he wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

John Kasich

Kasich’s site says he has a “strategy for dismantling Washington,” and promises that in his first 100 days as president, he’d send a comprehensive tax plan to Congress to balance the budget, cut taxes for families and businesses, and reduce regulations. Kasich would lower top individual tax rates to 28 percent and cut the top business tax rate to 25 percent. You can check out that plan overview here.

I couldn’t find an op-ed by Kasich about taxes or small business.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders doesn’t have a small business plan per se; instead he has sweeping criticisms of how the economy is and how he wants them to be. His tax reform seems targeted on large corporations, not small businesses, and he advocates for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. He wants to put “at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years” toward rebuilding infrastructure, and he wants to require employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, two weeks of vacation, and seven paid sick days.

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The whole page reads like an op-ed, so I’m not going to worry too much that I didn’t find an op-ed with his byline about small business or taxes. 

Donald Trump

Trump wants to get rid of income tax below $50,000 (for married or joint filings; $25,000 for single)—for those who would pay no taxes will get a “new one page form to send the IRS saying, ‘I win.’”

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He would simplify personal tax brackets from seven brackets to four. He also says that “no business of any size … will pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes.” It appears that that 15 percent will also apply to “entrepreneurs and freelancers.”

I couldn’t find an op-ed penned by Trump about taxes or small business.

There we are folks—the candidates’ stances straight from their mouths. See you at the polls.

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