The 2018 Policy Agenda for Entrepreneurs and Small Business

By at 5 February, 2018, 11:09 am

By Karen Kerrigan

Entrepreneurs have entered 2018 with solid optimism and a strengthening economy.  Indeed, the keys to small business growth and healthy entrepreneurship hinge on strong and sustainable economic growth and the continuance of policies that lift government imposed barriers, encourage capital formation and investment. To that end, entrepreneurs are hopeful that President Trump and Congress will prioritize their agenda and provide them with every opportunity to succeed in 2018.

When entrepreneurs and small businesses are successful, they create the quality jobs and innovative breakthroughs that are needed for a dynamic economy that benefits everyone.

The big tax relief package that just kicked in will certainly power economic growth this year. Regulatory actions taken by the President and his Administration have already paid dividends for the economy by boosting business optimism, which has fueled more investment and positive economic activity.

The 2018 Agenda: Still, there is more to be done to make the U.S. more globally competitive for all U.S. businesses and to revitalize the ecosystem for entrepreneurial activity.  Transforming the outdated regulatory system, improving capital access, lowering health coverage costs and increasing choice and competition, global market access and intellectual property protection, additional tax code fixes, affordable energy, and ensuring all communities across America have access to quality broadband are some of the key areas for action.

Regarding a big infrastructure package (and other priorities for the Trump Administration and Congress) the voice of small businesses will be vital to ensuring that new initiatives and changes in these areas are beneficial to our sector.

You can review the details of SBE Council’s 2018 Policy Agenda by clicking on the link to each issue area below:

Access to Capital

Capital is the fuel that drives entrepreneurship and economic growth. It’s no secret that small businesses and startups need a continuous flow of capital to launch, compete and grow. During the depths of the financial crises and in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, the inability to access capital was a massive crises for our economy. Conditions have improved since then; lending is on the rise (but still not back to pre-recession levels) and the capital provided by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” will certainly help many entrepreneurs self-finance expansion, new projects and provide employees with raises and perhaps new benefits. Still, there is much that can be done on the policy front to encourage capital formation and improve business lending and financing.

Regulatory System Transformation and Reform

The regulatory process is seriously outdated and complex, and reforms are long overdue to improve accountability, transparency and how the regulatory sausage is made. The current system is gamed to align with pre-determined outcomes and the “Washington knows best” ideology of federal regulators. The “Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act” would transform such thinking by providing small business with a meaningful voice, better engagement tools, and more protection during the rulemaking process.

Tax System Modernization

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” signed by President Trump at the end of 2017 is already paying dividends for small businesses and our economy.  As SBE Council noted following House and Senate passage of the tax legislation, 2018 will be an opportunity to address changes that were not included in the final bill.  Tax writers and congressional leaders have said that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) – while historic – is a sound launching point for other reforms.  This is good news, as there are many changes and adjustments to the tax code that are needed to support our nation’s entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Broadband Access and Deployment

Many communities – especially rural areas – still lack broadband, which means people do not have access to the digital economy, and its tools, that enable opportunity. Revitalizing Main Streets, rural communities and urban areas across America is contingent upon investment and new business creation. For entrepreneurs, access to broadband is vital.

Health Care Affordability and Innovation

Crushing health coverage costs are a top issue for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.  These costs are a major pain point for their firms, and an administrative headache to boot.  Employee wages and big growth in our economy are being held back by oppressive health care costs.  Imagine what U.S. investment and business optimism would look like if costs began to move down and if there was real price sensitivity in the healthcare marketplace? Small business owners and entrepreneurs want affordability, flexibility, more choices and competition.

Growth via Global Markets and Strengthening IP

Ninety-five percent of global consumers live outside of the United States, and given the vast growth in wealth creation across the world, more entrepreneurs and small businesses are eyeing global markets for growth opportunities and expansion.  America’s small businesses already play a significant role in the global marketplace. Opening global markets for our entrepreneurs and strengthening intellectual property (IP) must be a top priority for the Administration.

Other big pieces of SBE Council’s agenda include keeping energy affordable, improving federal government procurement for small businesses, streamlining government to make it more cost-effective for taxpayers and doing more on the educational front to showcase how entrepreneurs and innovation are solving are nation’s most complex challenges.

Please keep checking our website, or follow us on Twitter –@SBECouncil – for late-breaking development and news. SBE Council also posts regular updates on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

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