There are no “one size fits all” issues for small business in the 2016 presidential campaign. While candidates try to appeal to all small businesses, many owners want very specific things. A sample of what’s on the agenda of some individual owners, and two small business advocacy groups:
HELP SMALL BANKS COMPETE
Community banks whose customers include small businesses are at a disadvantage because of regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act implemented following the 2008 banking crisis, says Jim Angleton, owner of Aegis FinServ, a Miami-based financial services company. While the law is needed to prevent a recurrence of the practices that led to bank failures of all sizes, it places a disproportionate financial burden on smaller banks, Angleton says.
“They can’t effectively service the business community,” he says.
The number of small banks in the U.S. dropped 14 percent after Dodd-Frank was enacted in 2010, according to researchers at George Mason University.
REACH THOSE CONTRACTING GOALS
The government needs to work harder to reach its goals for giving agency contracts to small businesses, including those owned by women and that are located in economically disadvantaged areas, says Crystal Kendrick, whose Cincinnati-based marketing company is a federal contractor.
“What I want to hear is (candidates) are going to hold those agencies accountable for those goals,” says Kendrick, owner of The Voice of Your Customer.
The government fell short of its 5 percent goal for contracts for women-owned companies in the 2013 fiscal year. It also fell short of the 3 percent goal for companies in disadvantaged areas. It is expected to release its report for the 2014 fiscal year soon.
EASE UP ON REGULATIONS
The advocacy group National Small Business Association wants regulations issued by federal agencies easier to be easier for small companies to comply with. Many are unclear, or are inconsistent with each other, NSBA Chairman Tim Reynolds says.
“Presidential candidates can have an enormous impact on how regulatory agencies would move forward,” says Reynolds, owner of Tribute Inc., a Hudson, Ohio, software company.
The NSBA is also looking for a president who can help a fragmented Congress end its gridlock.
“Effective leadership from the White House is all about organizing individuals on both sides of the legislature,” Reynolds says
FIGHT CREDIT CARD FRAUD
Carl Mazzanti wants candidates to advocate for small businesses receiving the same protection from credit card hacking and fraud consumers have. When consumer accounts are hacked, federal law requires the consumer be notified. Businesses don’t automatically get that help. Mazzanti, owner of eMazzanti Technologies, a Hoboken, New Jersey, consultancy, says small businesses need protection from fraud that could wipe them out.
“Your entire life is in that shop,” he says.
REGULATE ONLINE LENDERS
An online lending industry for small business has grown rapidly in recent years because many small companies couldn’t get bank loans. That industry isn’t regulated, and that has enabled some lenders charging high interest to enter the market, says John Arensmeyer, CEO of the advocacy group Small Business Majority.
“The issue of predatory lending is something that I’d like to see candidates focus on,” Arensmeyer says.
Small Business Majority wants tax breaks like $500,000 deductions for equipment purchases made permanent, instead of being approved annually by Congress. The group also wants self-employed people to get full deduction of their health insurance premiums; currently, if their business incurs a loss, they cannot deduct the premiums.