You have to hand it to President Trump for wanting to simplify taxes, but in my opinion this proposal hasn't risen to the level of "reform" for entrepreneurs and small business owners. For us, this is simply a tax "reduction" in the corporate rate to 15% from the current 35% rate. The numbers are lower, but the tax complexity remains for corporations.
Put simply, there are better, faster ways to spur job growth. There is no question that Trump's proposal will be a good thing for business growth, and it does get us moving in the right direction. However, there are some better methods to produce short-term results for small business expansion.
Most importantly, this plan misses the mark in 2 key areas that CEOs like me really care about: return on investment (ROI) and cash flow.
Trump's tax plan will succeed or fail on ROI. When I consider starting a business, ROI is integral to that decision. No doubt with a lower tax rate, it will automatically raise the ROI potential. However, anything that will impact cash flow would have a greater, faster effect on growth, as opposed to a tax reduction, which is a longer-term incentive.
Consider these 3 methods to generate faster small business job growth:
1. Payroll incentives, in the form of credits or deductions. If, for example, I'm going to hire 100 employees, I need to achieve a certain level of sales to pay for them. If the expenditure is reduced because I'm getting a payroll tax credit, then I need to make fewer sales to achieve the same ROI. Bottom line, I would be willing to hire more employees. Business owners need an incentive to hire.
2. Additional hiring incentives. I've already written about The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which benefits employers who hire disadvantaged workers. This is a federal tax credit available for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment, including our nation's veterans.
Why not create a program like this for all workers? If we expanded this to everyone-- to every new hire--it would create a faster, better growth plan for the economy.
So building on my earlier example, if I wanted to hire 500 new employees for Liberty Tax and I received some sort of tax credit or deduction just for hiring them, that would motivate me to do so. Mr. Trump should offer true tax reform to encourage me and other CEOs, in the form of programs like this.
3. Encourage lenders to provide more capital for businesses. Since 2008, lending has all but dried up for many small companies. Pre-2008, entrepreneurs could take out home equity lines of credit to free up funds for their business. And many did. Now that's much more difficult. President Trump needs to find a way to encourage lending to small business owners.
In analyzing Trump's proposal, we also have to factor in our staggering national debt. ROI is also key here. It is almost impossible to argue that there isn't going to be small business growth as a result of a reduction in the corporate tax rate. The question is, will there be enough growth to offset these unfunded tax cuts and keep our deficit from ballooning even more?
Does the government have plans to make this a good ROI for our country? That is yet to be seen.
Certainly, Trump's tax plan this will spur some small business growth in the long run. For entrepreneurs, however, it's all about return on investment now. With cash flow, the faster the better.