Felicia Muftic: GOP hasn’t put its money where its mouth is on small business support
October 12, 2010
A political line getting attention recently is that Republicans care about small business. That is an urban myth if I ever heard one.
Recent Republican votes in Congress confirm what I have always suspected … with Republicans small business takes second fiddle to other issues, priorities and politics.
Our family has been engaged in small business for over 40 years, so our interest in related issues is more than just passing. I noticed in the past the extent of federal support of small business, in particular, the Small Business Administration, has swung with administrations … more when the Democrats were in power and less in Republican administrations.
Lately, Republicans have given lip service to helping small business, but something else always keeps them from voting for it. Excuses have been several: voting against anything Obama proposes because it is good political strategy to make him fail; helping small business with tax cuts has to be coupled with helping big business so they will not allow a separate vote on the small business portion; government help for anyone is just more big government and a drain on the federal deficit.
One wonders what priority small business will get with a Congress dominated or gridlocked by Republicans bent on cutting federal programs and expenses. Looking for clues , I consulted the Pledge to America just released by GOP House leaders
There are many references to small business support, but what the “Pledge” proposes, as the White House correctly pointed out, is nothing different or no more than what was offered during the Bush years. That is not good enough: The question should be put to Republicans is just what parts of Obama policies toward Small Business would they will repeal or what services would they cut, since they opposed them all these past two years.
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The Obama administration’s’ legislative victories helping small businesses were passed with Republicans voting against them all. The list is lengthy: a new small business health care tax credit; a new tax credit for hiring unemployed workers; bonus depreciation tax incentives to support new investment; 75 percent exclusion of small business capital gains; expansion of limits on small business expensing; five-year carryback of net operating losses; reduction of the built-in gains holding period for small businesses from 10 to 7 years to allow small business greater flexibility in their investments; temporary small business estimated tax payment relief to allow small businesses to keep needed cash on hand.
The small business jobs bill was just passed with tax cuts; loans backed through the Small Business Administration (SBA); and loans backed by the Treasury Department through the newly credited Small Business Lending Fund ($30 billion fund for small community banks). The cuts allow for write-offs on equipment purchases and start-up expenses, a health insurance cost deduction for the self-employed .
The SBA program is an extension of provisions initially enacted with the Stimulus Act of 2009. Those changes included a larger guarantee on SBA-approved loans, higher caps on loan amounts and reduced fees.
In addition, the Obama administration has small business’ back covered in Health Care reform and other tax policies:
The most frequent grumbling I have heard is ” I cannot afford to pay for health insurance for my employees”: Guess the complainers did not get the message that if they have fewer than 50 employees, they do not have to provide insurance, but if they wish to do it anyway, they will get a large tax credit.
Another gripe is that personal income taxes will go up to pay for Obamacare or restoration of Bush tax cuts. The truth: not if your family’s personal income is less than $250,000 per year. In either case of personal taxes and health care, only 2 to 3 percent of small business people in the highest brackets, will see any impact, and even then personal taxes would return to Clinton-era levels.