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Candidate Showdown: Is Clinton A Small Business President?

Candidate Showdown: Is Clinton A Small Business President?

With the Associated Press announcing Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee among controversy last week, it’s safe to say the stage has been set for the presidential primary. After what seems like a never-ending media storm of “he said, she said,” Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will square off to see who gets to take a seat in the oval office. In an election year that has turned out to be one for the ages, we wanted to take a look at each candidate's proposed small business initiatives, and how they may affect the companies Eastern Foundry works so hard to serve. This week we delve into Hillary Clinton’s campaign.


In a speech made in New York City almost one year ago, Hillary boldly stated that "I want to be the small business president, I'm going to be talking about how we empower entrepreneurs with less red tape, easier access to capital, tax relief and simplification." She touted her upbringing by her father who ran a small printing business in Chicago and realizes that what she had growing up is what every family in the country deserves. Clinton’s roadmap to make this a reality for small business includes: unlocking access to capital, cutting red tape, providing tax relief, tapping new markets, and supporting small-business owners and entrepreneurs. Let’s dive in.


Unlocking Access to Capital

Hillary Clinton is passionate about empowering women who run small businesses, especially minority-owned ones. She aims to ease the regulations on community banks that tend to place a burden on parties who try and invest in their startups. She also claims to double support for community development financial institutions and the pre-existing State Small Business Credit Initiative as well as invest $25 billion to support entrepreneurship and small business growth in underserved communities.  “Small business owners need access to financing and credit to build, grow, expand and hire,” Clinton said. “Lending has recovered since the crisis, but it’s still hard for new firms to get credit.”


Cutting Red Tape

“It shouldn’t take longer to start a small business in the United States than it does in Canada, France, or South Korea,” Clinton said. Most Americans would agree that this is a valid statement, in the land of opportunity where freedom reigns supreme, citizens should not have to struggle every step of the way to realize their dreams just because of unnecessary regulations. Hillary plans to build a comprehensive roadmap that will reduce compliance costs associated with federal, state, and local regulation.


Providing tax relief

Hillary plans to simplify tax filing and provide targeted tax relief for small businesses who don’t have the luxury of working with lobbyists and corporate lawyers. Her tax relief plans do not vary much from the typical models candidates formulate when running for office, but one interesting difference is her tax incentives to employers that offer apprenticeships and training programs. The plan would enact a tax credit for businesses of $1,500 per apprentice, and relies on accountability for employment and earnings outcomes for programs receiving the credit. This credit could potentially sway small businesses to add talent to their teams and by expanding their workforce the economy swells as a whole.


Tapping new markets

For small businesses to reach new markets, Clinton plans to invest in infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and ports, making it easier to find new customers. She also plans to work closely with the Export-Import Bank to expand its small business program. In the fiscal year 2015, close to 90% of EXIM Bank transactions directly supported small business. The bank helps keep business in America and stops them from manufacturing overseas, another key to economic growth. Clinton has dubbed that initiative, “Make it in America Partnerships,” dedicating $10 billion in funding towards partnerships that link the supply chain and build up specialized regions in every industry.


Supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs

Clinton believes that small business is the engine of job growth, that’s why she is proposing a $25 billion fund to support entrepreneurship and small business growth in underserved communities. Clinton plans to expand training programs for entrepreneurship, business skills, and certificate programs through partnerships with local business leaders, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions. She will support more business incubators in underserved areas and call on leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to support new entrepreneurial talent throughout our nation.   


As for the technology sector, Hillary Clinton has not made as many friends in the community as she would have liked to, raising only $2.7 million as compared to her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, who raised closer to $6 million, according to recent Crowdpac research. Although the money may not have been flowing her way, Politico reports that Clinton has mustered an impressive cadre of powerful tech and telecom advisers including Jennifer Pahlka, a founder of U.S. Digital Services and Bruce Gottlieb, a former top lawyer at the FCC.  These names, among others, provide insight into the type of tech policy’s Clinton would put into place. When it comes to telecom, a Clinton presidency would be like "a third Obama term,” said Blair Levin, a former FCC official who's now a policy adviser to New Street Research.


Regardless of her close ties to the telecom industry, some tech leaders are not impressed with her proposals it seems. “Clinton's [tech] policies aren't great either. Obama has been fairly tech friendly and he turned 180 degrees to become more trade friendly [by supporting agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership],” said Tech Association President, Gary Shapiro.” But now, both campaigns are running away from trade agreements [like TPP] that the economy needs. I'm disappointed that tech isn't a bigger part of campaign discussions.”


Come election day on November 8th, Americans will have an important decision to make that could change the future of small business. With Clinton’s plan to free up capital for small businesses, make it easier to start a company and find a wide variety of customers, and advocate for the well-being of the nation’s small business and underrepresented community, Hillary has fought a hard case for being the “small business president.” Check back in a few weeks when we bring you our analysis of Donald Trump’s small business policy.

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Dan Bowman is the Communications Associate at Eastern Foundry