You may love him or you may hate him. But if you're a small-business owner, you need to know: How would a Donald Trump presidency affect you?

At this point in a frankly exhausting election cycle, you likely know whether you think a President Trump would be good news or bad news. But here's a look at how some of his key priorities--and expected overall reaction to a Trump presidency--would affect business:

1. The stock market will crash. But the economy might improve.

In a CNBC survey of economists and fund managers late last week, a slim majority (3 percent) said Trump's policies are likelier to improve the economy than Clinton's. Yet about half predicted that a Trump victory would lead to a stock market downturn of an average 10 percent. Why? Because financial markets loathe uncertainty and a President Trump would bring plenty of that.

2. Your business taxes may go down. Your personal taxes definitely will.

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center has analyzed both candidates' tax plans and concluded that Trump's will cut personal taxes for everyone, with the very top earners--more than $699,000 a year--seeing average annual tax reductions of about $215,000. (Clinton's plan would cut taxes for anyone earning less than $143,000 a year, and raise taxes if you earn more than that.)

When it comes to business taxes, Trump has promised a simplified tax code that would have every business paying 15 percent. However, many small businesses pay less than that today. Incidentally, if you're a federal government contractor, a Trump win means you should start looking for other customers. Unless the economy catches fire (which Trump says it will), his plan will reduce federal tax revenues by $6.2 billion over 10 years, the Tax Policy Center says. With so much less revenue coming in, the federal government will almost certainly have to cut some programs--so government contractors could be affected.

3. Obamacare may go away.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and as president he might actually be able to do it. Remember that if President Trump is elected, Vice President Mike Pence will have a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, which will likely be nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The Republican-controlled House has already voted several times to abolish Obamacare. And the program's taken a lot of flak this fall for rising prices and diminishing options. So if Trump is elected--and the Republicans also hold onto control of the Senate--he stands a decent chance of making good on this campaign promise.

Whether that's good news or bad news depends on your business. If you have more than 50 employees and are fretting about the law's requirement you provide them insurance, its repeal might be a relief. If the availability of Affordable Care Act options has made it easier for you to hire contractors or full-time employees without buying them health insurance--or if you're using it for your own insurance--the law's repeal might be a big headache.

4. It will be harder to hire immigrants.

"I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions," Trump declared in one of his statements to the press. This is bad news if your company depends on immigrant labor, or frequently hires H-1B visa holders--and look, in particular, for tech companies like Facebook, which have lobbied furiously for more H-1B visas, to howl in response.

5. Oil, gas, and coal industries will benefit. Green energy may suffer.

Trump has promised to tap into America's vast resources of coal, natural gas (by fracking), and oil. He has promised to approve the Keystone Pipeline XL phase, which has been rejected by President Obama.

Trump has promised to "cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama-Clinton," which would include global warming payments to the United Nations but also incentives for clean energy here at home. He has also promised to reduce regulations, some of which have supported the development of clean energy. Depending on where your business is and what it does, these changes could be good or bad for you.

6. The minimum wage might still go up, but not as much.

Though he once was against raising the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25, Trump now supports an increase to $10 per hour. (Some states and municipalities have their own minimum wage requirements which are higher than the federal minimum.)

It's interesting to note that Trump was against any increase earlier in his campaign. By calling for an increase now, he's breaking ranks with the rest of the Republican Party. He's done that plenty throughout his campaign, but it's at least possible that if elected, the G.O.P. could bring him back to the fold and inspire him to change his position again. (Or a G.O.P.-controlled House of Representatives could simply refuse to pass any legislation that boosts the minimum wage.)

7. You'll be doing less business with China.

Trump has repeatedly called China out for its currency manipulation, and he's determined to bring manufacturing--and manufacturing jobs--back to the U.S. (Trump has even promised to force Apple to start making its iPhones and iPads in America, though it's unclear how he'd accomplish this.) If your business model depends on manufacturing in China, it's a good bet that doing so will be harder under a Trump presidency--and that it's time to start exploring your options at home.

Would Trump be better for small business than Clinton? In a recent survey, 59 percent of small business owners said they preferred him. Those preferences varied along racial lines, with 77 percent of white business owners favoring Trump, while most Asian and Hispanic small business owners did not--and only 19 percent of African American business owners favored a Trump presidency.

Published on: Nov 7, 2016
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