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The President's Small Business Agenda

Every new business starts with an idea for a better product or process. These ideas become reality only when confident entrepreneurs are willing to take economic risks. Small businesses are the heart of the American economy because they drive innovation – new firms are established on the very premise that they can do a better job. For innovative small businesses, adequate performance is never good enough and excellence is an endless pursuit. These dynamic companies also drive the job creation process. In fact, small and young companies create two thirds of the net new jobs in our economy, and they employ half of all private-sector workers. Entrepreneurship has become the path to prosperity for many Americans, including minorities and women.

The role of government is not to create wealth, but to create an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish. The President believes that low taxes and clear, sensible regulations are essential to helping all 25 million small businesses in America. Equally important, the President believes we must work to ensure that employees of small businesses have access to high-quality health care and reliable pensions. And for those small businesses that deal with the federal government, the contracting process should be fair, open, and straightforward.

New Tax Incentives for Job-Creating Investments

High tax rates inhibit entrepreneurial activity because they act as a tax on success, claiming a larger share of income from flourishing enterprises, while the government shares little of the risk of loss. For most entrepreneurs, taxes reduce their companies’ cash flow – the money businesses need to expand, buy more equipment, and hire more workers. To ensure continued innovation, President Bush believes that the government should leave as many resources as possible with the entrepreneurs and companies that are generating new ideas, better jobs, and greater wealth.

The President congratulates the Congress for already taking bipartisan action to help small businesses. The 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act and the 2002 Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act were historic steps that reduced the tax burden on small businesses and increased the prospects for economic recovery. The President believes that the following proposals would build on this strong record:

  • Increase small business expensing. This proposal would allow more small businesses to immediately expense more new investment. Under current law, firms with up to $200,000 in new investments can immediately expense (rather than depreciate) the first $25,000. Under this proposal, firms with up to $325,000 in new investments could immediately expense the first $40,000. The cost of this proposal is $7 billion over ten years.
  • Simplify taxes for small businesses. The Treasury Department will shortly announce final rules to allow service-oriented businesses with less than $10 million in gross receipts to use cash accounting rather than accrual accounting. This change will significantly reduce the paperwork burden for hundreds of thousands of small businesses. The simplification will also allow these businesses to immediately deduct the cost of supplies and to defer paying taxes until income is actually received. In addition, the President has directed the Treasury Department to finalize the proposed rules on the capitalization of intangible assets as quickly as possible. The lack of clarity in this area has consumed too much time and produced too much uncertainty for small firms. This change will allow small businesses to focus their resources on their customers and not the IRS. Finally, the President has instructed the Treasury Department to conduct a study on additional ways to simplify taxes on small businesses.
  • Permanently repeal the death tax. The death tax can fall most heavily on small businesses that are asset rich but cash poor. This proposal would permanently repeal the death tax, allowing family-owned businesses to be passed from one generation to the next without having to sell assets to pay a punitive tax. The President believes that the bias of the death tax against the family-owned small business is the antithesis of the American Dream. The cost of this proposal is $104 billion over 10 years.