Moving Forward: NFIB's Main Priorities in 2017

Date: February 10, 2017

With a small business-friendly administration in place, NFIB is focusing its efforts on tax reform, regulatory reform, and health insurance reform.

After a tumultuous election season, the nation woke up Nov. 9 to a new president. Donald Trump’s win, along with NFIB victories in Congress, have given many small businesses hope that much-needed legislative reform on key issues like health insurance, taxes, and regulations could be coming.

Additionally, 91 percent of NFIB-endorsed federal congressional candidates—including 27 NFIB members—were victorious, bringing more business-friendly lawmakers to Capitol Hill. We look forward to working with these legislators and the Trump administration on policies that will allow small businesses to drive economic growth.

“There’s no question that NFIB is in a better position today than before the election,” says Amanda Austin, NFIB’s vice president of government relations. “For the past eight years, we’ve been playing defense, and now we get to play offense on our most important priorities.” Here’s a look at what’s to come in the year ahead.

Priority No. 1: Fix Tax Problems

Business tax code

Problem: Under the current tax code, large corporations pay a lower rate than many pass-through businesses (small businesses that pay their business taxes at the individual rate).

NFIB’s Solution: Tax reform starts with small business. Congress must create a significantly lower tax rate structure for all businesses, both large and small, and ensure that small businesses compete on a level playing field with their big business competitors. Make your voice heard; sign our letter to Congress >>

President Trump’s Take: He supports the NFIB position. “I am now feeling like comprehensive tax reform is alive and well again,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB’s president and CEO, in a recent interview with the Associated Press.

Estate tax

Problem: The estate tax is levied on property transferred from the deceased to heirs. This form of double taxation can force small business families to liquidate their companies to pay it. Small businesses lose crucial capital needed to invest, grow, and create more jobs. Thirty-four percent of NFIB members have incurred expenses to protect themselves and their heirs from estate tax liability. Another 15 percent expect to do so in the future, according to the NFIB Research Foundation.

NFIB’s Solution: Repeal the estate tax.

President Trump’s Take: The president’s agenda includes repeal of this harmful tax.

Priority #2: Roll Back Regulations

Problem: At the end of 2016, the Federal Register was the longest it had ever been, including 97,110 pages of regulations that affect small businesses. They led to increased costs, more paperwork, and a heavier compliance burden.

NFIB’s Solution: Fight to eliminate regulations that are harmful to small business with the new administration, in Congress, and in federal courts. Here’s what’s on the horizon:

  • EPA/Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the U.S. Rule: Small businesses and family farms would see more red tape, increased permitting fees, and a heightened risk for litigation. This rule is currently not being enforced due to a Supreme Court stay.
  • The EPA Clean Power Plan: To meet a goal of reducing carbon emissions, this rule would hike electricity costs by mandating that states use more expensive sources of energy rather than coal. There is also a Supreme Court stay on this rule.
  • The Department of Labor overtime rule: The rule requires employers to provide overtime pay to employees who make less than $47,476 annually. It would drive up labor costs, impose onerous recordkeeping requirements, and force employers to demote salaried employees to hourly or cut their hours. There is a temporary stay on this rule from a district court, so it is not being enforced.

President Trump’s Take: Trump has said he intends to eliminate needless, job-killing regulations.

You Can Take Action: Tell us how regulations affect your business so we can take your story to Congress >>

Priority #3: Heal Health Insurance

Problem: Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, small businesses have seen skyrocketing premiums, higher taxes, increasingly complicated regulations, and fewer insurer and plan choices. Twenty-five percent fewer small businesses offer health insurance than when the law passed, a significant drop in small business coverage.

NFIB’s Solution: Replace the ACA with a system that provides affordability, flexibility, and predictability for small business owners. “We’re not going to let go of the fact that the cost of health insurance is still the No. 1 issue that small business owners care about,” says Amanda Austin, NFIB’s vice president of government relations.

President Trump’s Take: Repeal can be done through a process known as reconciliation, requiring only 51 votes. That is the method Congress will pursue.

You Can Take Action: Tell us your healthcare story and help shape reform that works for small business >>


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