Here is what small business advocates would like to hear from President Obama when he delivers his State of the Union address.
No. 1: Simplifying the tax code.
In last year’s State of the Union address, President Obama touched on the importance of tax code simplification for small business owners. With not much changed since then, NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg says he’d like this to be a focus once again.
“He has talked about corporate-tax changes, but two-thirds of [small businesses] pay taxes as pass-throughs,” says Dunkelberg.
No. 2: Providing increased access to capital.
When it comes to pro-small business policies, National Small Business Association Vice President of Public Affairs Molly Brogan Day says grants for small business owners is the first place to start.
No. 3: Cutting back on regulatory uncertainty.
Both Dunkelberg and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council President Karen Kerrigan say a regulation-heavy business environment is bad for small businesses.
“On the left, people say that business always complains that the world is going to come to an end, but there is too much regulation,” says Kerrigan, citing the 3,500 new business rules created last year. “It really does create massive uncertainty.”
No. 4: Acknowledging ObamaCare’s shortcomings.
Kerrigan says she’d like to see the president address the ways that ObamaCare has not worked in the favor of small business owners.
“We don’t have a small business portal, and business owners and entrepreneurs are seeing costs go up and uncertainty as to whether their plans will meet the government’s definition of ObamaCare-compliant,” says Kerrigan. She says she’d like to see the president touch upon these issues, as well as make a move toward improving the ObamaCare small business tax credit, which she says is too restrictive – not to mention the fact that it’s only temporary.
No. 5: Creating a fair patenting process.
Both Brogan Day and Kerrigan say they’d like to see changes to the patenting process. Kerrigan, in particular, would like to see intellectual property protections strengthened for small business owners.
No. 6: Improving export opportunities.
“I’d like to see the president use the bully pulpit to urge trade promotion authority from Congress,” says Kerrigan. This would allow President Obama to fast track international trade agreements – and potentially make it easier for small businesses to participate in an international marketplace.