DONALD TRUMP: A Small Business Snapshot on the Issues

By at 25 September, 2016, 1:21 pm

Donald Trump vows to "Make America Great Again!" Encouraging entrepreneurship and small business growth will help get us there. Will Trump's policies and direction on issues help bolster the entrepreneurial sector of the economy?

Donald Trump vows to “Make America Great Again!” Encouraging entrepreneurship and small business growth will help get us there. Will Trump’s policy proposals help bolster the entrepreneurial sector of the economy?

Donald Trump is Chairman and President of The Trump Organization. He is a successful businessman, best-selling author and television personality. Where does he stand on key small business issues?

(NOTE: This profile has been continually updated from the Republican primary period through September 25, 2016.)

Trump’s Economic Vision and Plan

The Trump Economic Vision was outlined in speech in Detroit on August 8, 2016.  He presented additional details of his plan at a speech before the Economic Club of New York on September 15, with refinements to his tax plan.

On Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News program Trump said: “I want to make America great again, that’s more important to me than my company. We will never be great if we keep going like this, we will never be great again as a country.”

Here’s a rundown on where Trump stands on key issues:


On March 2, Trump released policy reform measures on health care. The basics of the plan include: repealing Obamacare, allowing consumers and small businesses to purchase health care plans across state lines, allowing individuals to deduct their health insurance premiums, improve Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), require price transparency throughout the health care system, block-grant Medicaid to states, and making it easier for generic drugs to enter the marketplace. He would allow for importation of drugs.

Past Positions: In “The America We Deserve” Trump wrote that he supported universal healthcare and a system that would mirror Canada’s system.

A sampling of SBE Council’s positions and views on Health Care Reform:

Small Business and the Affordable Care Act at Five Years

Obamacare Ills Are Mounting

Repairing Obamacare for Small Business


Trump rolled out a new tax plan on September 15 (see previous plan below).  There is some confusion as to whether small business owners who file taxes as individuals would pay the 15% business tax featured in the first plan.  Based on our read of the plan, that does not appear to be the case, but in a Tax Foundation analysis the group includes two scenarios in their scoring and review based on their conversations with the Trump campaign.

The basics of the new plan include: Three tax brackets (12%, 25%, 33%); AMT repeal, death tax repeal (step-up in basis included with first $10 million exempt); repeal of 3.8% Obamacare tax on investment income; 20% capital gains tax rate; carried interest is taxed as ordinary income; standard deduction increased for joint filers to $30,000 and $15,000 for single filers; head of household designation eliminated; itemized deductions capped at $200,000 for married and $100,000 for single filers.

Businesses:  Corporate tax rate lowered from 35% to 15%; eliminates corporate alternative minimum tax; one-time repatriation tax of 10%; eliminated all tax deductions/incentives except the R&D tax credit. 


The Trump plan would lower individual rates, with a top rate of 25%. There would be four brackets (0%, 10%, 20% and 25%). Regardless of how a business is structured, it would pay no more than 15% in business taxes. The plan would eliminate the death tax, the AMT and the marriage penalty. (The Tax Foundation has developed a tax plan comparison tool, which details the 2016 presidential tax reform proposals. The tool can be viewed here.  The Tax Foundation has also calculated the economic impact of proposals that are comprehensive, of which the Trump plan is one. The economic impact table and details of each plan can be viewed here.)

Past Positions: On tax increases, Daniel Foster at National Review  wrote on April 20, 2011: “The last time he considered a presidential run, Trump advocated a one-time, 14.25 percent tax on the net worth of all individuals and estates worth over $10 million. The levy, he said at the time, would have raised $5.7 trillion which he would have used to eliminate (!) the national debt and shore up the Social Security trust fund.”

SPENDING:  In his current tax plan, Trump does not specifically lay out any “offsets” or spending reductions.  In the past, PBS noted Trump’s perspective on reining in the size of government: “Speaking on Fox News in 2013, Donald Trump said that automatic budget cuts, or sequester, does not go far enough and Congress must reduce spending further to address impending increases in the deficit.”

A sampling of SBE Council’s positions and views on Taxes and Tax Reform:

Four Big Points on Tax Reform

Five Quick Rules on Tax Reform for Entrepreneurs and Small Business

Is Tax Reform Still Possible?


Trump says federal regulation is out-of-control. He has endorsed specific proposals to bring accountability to the regulatory system.

On his campaign website, it is noted that Trump supports a “pause and review” of federal regulation. He would require the federal agencies to inventory regulations and determine those that are the least critical, which may get priority action for repeal. Trump specifically mentions the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Waters of the US Rule, as well as the Department of Interior’s moratorium on coal mining permits that he would upend.  Trump would rescind President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Executive Order.

According to American Commitment, Trump said he would sign the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act” (REINS Act) into law. Trump responded to a survey on the REINS Act by American Commitment: “I will sign the REINS Act should it reach my desk as President and more importantly I will work hard to get it passed. The monstrosity that is the Federal Government with its pages and pages of rules and regulations has been a disaster for the American economy and job growth. The REINS Act is one major step toward getting our government under control.” (Endorsed by SBE Council, the REINS Act would make Congress vote up-or-down on every major rulemaking finalized by a government agency. The House passed the REINS Act on July 28.)

A sampling of SBE Council’s positions and views on Regulatory Reform: 

Fixing the Nation’s Broken Regulatory System

Stop the Empty Rhetoric on Regulatory Reform

Outsized Regulation Always Slams the Little Guy: This Time it’s the FCC’s Oppressive Internet Rules

Small, Community Banks Suffering Under Dodd-Frank

The NLRB vs. Small Business America


Trump supports a robust effort to develop U.S. energy. Trump is a vocal advocate for more domestic energy production, including offshore development and fully supporting the coal industry.

According to The Fuse, Trump stands in support of constructing the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking, and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.  Regarding fracking, he has tweeted:  “Fracking will lead to American energy independence. With price of natural gas continuing to drop, we can be at a tremendous advantage.”  As noted by The Fuse, Trump repeatedly refers to oil as “the lifeblood of our nation and job market.”

Trump has expressed opposition to wind turbines, which he sees as an “environmental and aesthetic disaster.”

A sampling of SBE Council’s positions and views on Energy Policy: 

Four Big Points on Energy Exports and Small Business

Energy: America’s Future and Competitive Advantage

U.S. Energy Infrastructure Needs

The Energy Outlook and the Agenda to Expand Opportunity 

Who Benefits from America’s Energy Revolution 

U.S. Energy Exports: A Big Economic Plus 


Trump’s statements have been critical of U.S. trade deals.  He said he would renegotiate NAFTA, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), apply tariffs “to countries that cheat,” and focus government resources on pursuing trade violators. listed some of Trump’s more interesting quotes, including this one: “Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people.”

A sampling of SBE Council’s positions and views on Trade: 

Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Benefit from Trade

Four Big Points on Trade and Small Business

Advancing Free Trade: Clear Upsides, Especially for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Free Trade Agreements, Small Business and Imports

Free Trade Agreements, Small Business and Exports


Trump supports a national e-verify system (that would be implemented through employers); a “hire-Americans” first policy; an increase in the prevailing wage for H-1B visas; a visa tracking system; more stringent measures for immigrant applicants; the defunding of sanctuary cities; the deportation of all criminal illegal aliens; and the end of birthright citizenship. He proposes to build a wall on the southern U.S. border, with Mexico paying for it (but also seeks possible funding through a variety of increased fees, such as on Mexico visas and border crossings, and higher tariffs).

A sampling of SBE Council’s positions and views on Immigration and Reform: 

Entrepreneurship, Immigration Reform and the Economy

Immigration Reform and Entrepreneurship

Startup Visas and Strengthening Entrepreneurship

The U.S. Must Welcome Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Sources: The Fuse (, PBS.orgThe New York Times,  National, American Commitment, Fox News, Twitter (@RealDonaldTrump),,

SBE Council will update this profile as warranted.



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