Startups and small business are responsible for half of GDP and two-thirds of new jobs, so the 2016 election will certainly have a major impact on the U.S. economy. Trump and Clinton have very different positions regarding a number of key issues for entrepreneurs (taxes, health care, immigration, regulation, and wages). Furthermore, a recent poll of 834 small-business owners showed that 80 percent agree on one specific key issue. Below we provide an unbiased look at what both candidates' proposed policies likely mean for entrepreneurs.
- Trump - promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires small businesses with more than 50 employees to offer health care coverage to staff or face stiff penalties, and replace it with a new free market system of insurance.
- Clinton - will fight any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If Clinton is elected, startups and small businesses with more than 50 employees will likely need to pick up more employee health care costs over the next four years.
- Trump - will implement a "hire Americans first" policy. Trump believes many companies are taking advantage of H-1B visas in order to hire foreign workers and pay them the lowest possible wages. Trump would likely restrict technology startups in particular from hiring skilled foreign engineers.
- Clinton - would provide more flexibility to startups and small businesses to tap foreign employees. However, she might focus more on facilitating entry-level roles than on expanding the H-1B visa program, which is more relevant for most startups.
- Trump - would like to lower the business tax rate from 35 to 15 percent. He believes lower taxes would help jumpstart job creation and convince more companies to stay in the U.S. instead of moving overseas.
- Clinton - is not expected to lower business taxes but has alluded to providing some tax relief to very small startups and small businesses with five employees or fewer.
- Trump - has stated numerous times that overregulation is limiting economic growth. He believes "regulations on top of regulations" are prohibiting new companies from forming, slowing down growth because of uncertainty, and causing companies to go out of business.
- Clinton - supports a larger government and more regulation than Trump. However, she has said she'd like to make to it easier for small businesses to operate in different states and make it easier for credit unions and small banks to lend to small businesses.
- Trump - has made comments that are a bit contradictory. He is likely either against a minimum wage hike altogether or potentially supportive of a slight rate increase to the $7.25 per hour federal rate.
- Clinton - proposes raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour, meaning small businesses can expect increases in overall salary costs. It's also likely she will require businesses to pay overtime wages to all employees who make less than $47,000 per year.
According to a recent poll of 834 small-business owners, almost 80 percent said raising capital was their primary concern as they decide which candidate to vote on. Both Trump and Clinton have stated they will implement new policies to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital and stimulate growth, but their positions and likely approaches are quite different. The 2012 JOBS Act was a major windfall for startups and small businesses, enabling them to raise capital online for the first time through equity crowdfunding platforms such as SeedInvest. It will be interesting to see what the eventual president does over the next four years to continue to improve access to capital for entrepreneurs.