For Immediate Release
April 13, 2006
Fact Sheet: the President's Small Business Agenda: Helping Entrepreneurs Prosper
Today, President Bush Addressed The Small Business Week Conference And
Outlined His Agenda To Help Small Businesses Grow. The President
discussed three broad areas where the Administration is improving the
environment for small businesses - keeping taxes low and spending tax
dollars wisely, making health care more affordable and available, and
expanding business opportunities at home and abroad.
- America's Small Businesses Are Thriving. Small businesses create two
out of every three new jobs and account for nearly half of America's
overall employment. They have played a vital role in helping our
economy add more than 5.1 million new jobs since August 2003 and have
helped reduce America's unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, below the
average rate of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Small businesses
are also vital for supporting our communities.
- Small Businesses Create New Opportunities - Especially For Women And
Minorities. Women own more than a quarter of all businesses, and the
number of women-owned businesses is growing. Hispanic Americans are
opening their own businesses at a rate three times the national average.
Keeping Taxes Low And Spending Tax Dollars Wisely
The President Has Lowered Taxes For Everyone Who Pays Income Taxes. The
President's tax relief has helped workers keep more of their paychecks;
helped families by lowering rates and doubling the child credit; reduced
the marriage penalty; and put the death tax on the road to extinction.
- The President Also Cut Taxes On Small Businesses. Whether as sole
proprietorships, limited partnerships, or subchapter S corporations,
most small businesses pay taxes at the individual income tax rate. By
reducing the tax rates on individuals, taxes on small businesses were
cut - increasing the amount of capital available to hire new workers and
expand businesses. The President also increased investment expensing
tax provisions and proposed more in the 2007 budget to help small
businesses grow and create more jobs.
- To Keep The Small Business Sector Strong And Creating Jobs, Congress
Needs To Make Tax Relief Permanent. Congress can start by sending the
President a bill extending the tax cuts on dividends and capital gains -
so that businesses can plan with confidence and keep creating jobs.
Congress Needs To Restrain Spending So We Can Stay On Track To Cut The
Deficit In Half By 2009. All business owners have to live within their
means - and so should the government.
We Are Making Progress Restraining Spending. Every year since the
President has been in office, we have slowed the growth of discretionary
spending that is not related to the military or homeland security; we
have actually cut this spending in the last two budgets. One of the
best tools to eliminate wasteful spending is the line-item veto, and the
President urges Congress to pass it quickly.
Reforming Our Healthcare System To Make Coverage More Affordable And
To Help Make Coverage More Affordable For Small Businesses, The
President Proposes Expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). HSAs allow
Americans to save tax-free dollars to pay for near-term medical expenses
and save for future long-term costs. HSAs provide catastrophic coverage
at a low price and allow employers and employees to contribute to a
tax-free account that the employee owns and can use for routine medical
expenses. These accounts are accompanied by an HSA-qualified insurance
plan covering major medical expenses and preventive care. HSA-qualified
insurance plans are an alternative to traditional health insurance
policies and have lower premiums and higher deductibles. Savings from
lower premiums can be put toward funding the HSA.
- HSAs Are Already Making Coverage More Affordable. More than a third of
those who have chosen HSAs were previously uninsured. Forty percent of
those who own HSAs have family incomes below $50,000 a year. Over the
last year, the number of Americans who have bought HSAs has tripled -
from one million to more than three million.
The President's Proposed Expansion Of HSAs Will Help Small Businesses
And The Self-Employed.
- Giving Those Who Purchase HSA Policies On Their Own The Same Tax Breaks
As Those Who Get Their Health Insurance From Their Employers. Under
current law, employers and employees pay no income or payroll tax on any
health insurance provided through the workplace. But people buying
insurance on their own do not get the same tax break, which puts the
self-employed, unemployed, and workers at companies that do not provide
insurance at a disadvantage.
- Raising The Amount That Can Be Contributed To HSAs Tax-Free. The tax
code limits the amount that can be contributed to an HSA tax-free. This
limit is usually tied to the deductible but sometimes out-of-pocket
expenses are greater than the deductible. To help Americans cover all
their out-of-pocket expenses with tax-free dollars and make HSAs even
more practical, the cap on the amount of money that can be put into an
HSA tax-free needs to be raised.
The President Has Proposed Association Health Plans (AHPs) So Small
Businesses Get The Same Discounts On Health Insurance As Big Businesses.
AHPs would allow small firms to band together across state lines to
create larger risk pools - and that would let them buy insurance
coverage for their employees at the same discounts that big companies
get. The House has already passed a bill allowing AHPs - and the
President calls on the Senate to do its part.
To Make Healthcare More Affordable, We Need To Reduce Frivolous
Lawsuits. Good doctors are being forced to practice defensive medicine
- ordering unnecessary tests, visits, and procedures to protect
themselves from getting sued. Defensive medicine raises the cost of
Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and other Federal health programs
by an estimated $28 billion a year. The House has passed a good piece
of legislation - but it is being blocked in the Senate. The President
calls on Congress to pass medical liability reform this year. To help
small businesses, the President supports the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction
Act, which would penalize frivolous lawsuits.
The President Is Also Pursuing Other Reforms To Make The Healthcare
System More Efficient And Cost-Effective. The President is promoting
transparency so patients know exactly what procedures cost and what they
entail. The President is also pushing for better use of information
technology to expand electronic health records and help doctors improve
efficiency and eliminate preventable medical errors.
Making It Easier And Less Expensive To Do Business Here And Abroad
At Home, The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Is Working Hard To
Make It Easier For People To Start Their Own Companies. Since the
President came into office, the Administration has doubled the number of
small business loans and increased the number of loans to minority
entrepreneurs by 175 percent. We have also reduced administrative costs
and bureaucracy so that small business loans are now much cheaper to
fund. Overall, the cost of running the SBA has been lowered by more than
20 percent - and we have increased the amount of loans to entrepreneurs
by 80 percent.
Abroad, The Administration Is Opening Markets. Small businesses account
for about a quarter of America's exports and have great potential for
expanding their sales overseas, but the cost of doing business overseas
is often too high for small firms. Small businesses need markets to be
open and easy to navigate, which is why the President has concluded free
and fair trade agreements around the world. When the President took
office, the United States had three free trade agreements. Now we have
free trade agreements with 11 countries and 18 more are pending - and
the President is pushing for an ambitious conclusion to the Doha round
of world trade talks.
Making It Easier For Small Businesses To Export Also Means Ensuring
America's Trading Partners Play By The Rules. Next week, the President
will welcome President Hu Jintao of China to the White House. America
values China as a trading partner but also expects China to live up to
its commitments. By standing up for free and fair trade, America will
contribute to China's development and ensure a level playing field for
The President Has Proposed Bold Initiatives To Keep America The Best
Place In The World To Do Business.
- The American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). The ACI keeps America
competitive by doubling funding for vital basic research in the physical
sciences, making the R&D tax credit permanent, and ensuring students
have needed math and science skills.
- The Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI). The AEI speeds up investment in
promising new technologies that will move America beyond a
petroleum-based economy and free the Nation from our dependence on
Middle Eastern oil.
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The President is working with
Congress for a fair immigration system that protects the country,
secures our borders, and meets the economy's legitimate needs in a
lawful and orderly way.
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