September 14, 2004 -- As Republicans wrapped up their speeches at last week's convention in New York City, it's clear that the party decided to steal a line from their Democratic rivals: We know it's about the economy, stupid.
Though the re-nomination of George W. Bush as the Republican presidential candidate for the November's election highlighted the four-day event, the convention also gave delegates the opportunity to approve a platform heavy with economic issues of critical interest to small business.
"My plan begins with providing the security and opportunity of a growing economy," said Bush as he addressed a sea of delegates in his acceptance speech. "We now compete in a global market that provides new buyers for our goods, but new competition for our workers. To create more jobs in America, America must be the best place in the world to do business."
The president's speech highlighted several key economic and small business issues that are addressed in the 2004 Republican Platform, such as:
- Making the 2001 tax cuts permanent. Not only did the president's controversial package lower all income tax rates, it quadrupled the expensing limits for investments made by small businesses.
- Creating several new tax-favored accounts, including a new Lifetime Savings Account (LSA) to stimulate savings.
- Continuing to implement tax incentives and other support for small business such as:
1. The elimination of the estate tax.
2. Expansion of contracting opportunities for small firms.
3. The enforcing of trade agreements and expanding access to foreign markets by, as the president stated, "by leveling the playing field to sell American goods and services across the globe."
- Generating new support for meaningful tort reform. As the president stated in his speech, "we must protect small business owners and workers from the explosion of frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across America."
- Supporting new and existing legislation that allows small employers to collaborate in offering Association Health Plans (AHPs). As the president said in his speech, "I've met many workers and small business owners who have told me they are worried they cannot afford health care. In a new term, we must allow small firms to join together to purchase insurance at the discounts available to big companies."
To access the entire 2004 Republican Party Platform, visit http://www.gopconvention.com/platform/2004platform.pdf.
Darren Dahl is a contributing editor at Inc. Magazine, which he has written for since 2004. He also works as a collaborative writer and editor and has partnered with several high-profile authors. Dahl lives in Asheville, NC.