President’s Executive Orders Burden Small Business, Sow Confusion, and Erode Social Security

President’s Executive Orders Burden Small Business, Sow Confusion, and Erode Social Security

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Conan Knoll
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Statement by Frank Knapp Jr., Small Business for America’s Future co-chair and Founder and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce

Washington, D.C., Aug. 10, 2020—Because Senate Republicans failed to meaningfully engage in debate around a relief package, we are left with a hodge-podge of poorly conceived and legally questionable executive orders from a president more interested in gaining headlines than doing the hard work of negotiating a package that actually helps small business owners, workers and families.

Typical of its Covid-19 response, the Administration has overpromised and under delivered. None of the president’s executive orders directly help the small businesses that are suffering from the economic fallout of the pandemic. In fact all they do is offer bureaucratic headaches:

  • The executive order on payroll taxes is a mess. It does not cut employees’ payroll taxes, it defers them, meaning employees will have to pay five months worth of back payroll taxes down the road. Small business owners will have to deal with the major headache of adjusting payroll withholding formulas on the fly. And the order undercuts crucial safety net programs including Social Security. With no direct aidto small businesses, this will deliver little economic stimulus.
  • Under the executive order on unemployment benefits, in the best case scenario, the president unilaterally cut enhanced payments by a third from $600 to $400. But the order puts a burden on the states to pay a 25% of the benefits to receive any of the federal money. Yet states are already struggling with budgets depleted by plummeting tax revenues and may not be able to contribute–potentially resulting in no enhanced unemployment benefits.

Like the Administration’s overall response to Covid-19, these orders are incoherent, sloppy and ignore the reality that combating a global health crisis and economic collapse require more than cheap political tricks and empty promises. We need leaders serious about doing their jobs to create a thorough, coordinated national plan to contain Covid, save our small businesses and stave off economic collapse. By any measure this vapid response falls short.

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About Small Business for America’s Future

Small Business for America’s Future (formerly Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform) is a coalition of small business owners and leaders nationwide working to provide small businesses a voice at every level of government. We’re committed to ensuring policymakers prioritize Main Street by advancing a just and equitable economic framework that works for small business owners, their employees and their communities. Visit www.smallbusinessforamericasfuture.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. #SmallBizAF.