One candidate doesn’t fit all businesses

Oct 12, 2012

Written by Rhonda Abrams– Gannett

During election season, everyone loves small business.
President Barack Obama loves small business. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney loves small business.
During the first debate, they mentioned the words “small business” 25 times. But where do the candidates stand on small-business issues?
Of course, small businesses care about a range of concerns. If you think the deficit is the most important issue, you’ll probably lean toward Republicans. If, on the other hand, you believe that supporting the middle class is vital, you’ll probably support Democrats.
If you’re not sure who to vote for Nov. 6, I’ve devised a fact sheet to help:
1. Your company’s legal structure is a “C’’ corporation.
2. You are in a health-related industry.
3. You make more than $1 million in taxable income, i.e. income after expenses and deductions, and are a sole proprietor, “S’’ corporation, LLC, or partnership.
4. You have more than 50 full-time employees and do not provide health insurance.
5. You want to start a business, are older than 40 years or have a medical condition.
6. You are in the coal, gas, or oil industries.
7. You’re in an environment-related industry.
8. You are in residential real estate, construction , home remodeling, or design.
9. Your business is incorporated and pays part or all of your health insurance, or you are an employee of a business that pays at least part of your health insurance.
10. You expect to inherit more than $5 million or leave more than $5 million to your heirs.

Who’s your small-business presidential pick?
1. Romney. Romney’s tax plan includes reducing the corporate federal tax rate to a maximum of 25 percent, instead of the current top rate of 35 percent, and eliminating the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax. Obama proposed lowering the top corporate rate to 28 percent with a maximum of 25 percent on manufacturers.
2. Obama. Under the Affordable Care Act, what detractors call Obamacare, an estimated 14 million more Americans will have health insurance by 2014; 29 million more by 2019. That means a huge number of new patients and opportunities for health-related small businesses and providers.
3. Romney. Both Obama and Romney propose continuing Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans. However, Obama would let the tax rates for the wealthiest return to Clinton-era levels to help reduce the deficit. Romney would keep those cuts, and someone with $1 million in taxable income would save more than $390,000.
4. Romney. Romney is committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses with more than 50 full- time employees to provide a minimum level of health coverage or pay a fine.
5. Obama. Many would-be entrepreneurs can’t start a business because they can’t afford — or get — health insurance, especially those older than 40 or with health problems. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, creates competitive health care exchanges, and provides tax credits on health insurance premiums for those with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty level. In 2010, that’s $88,000 for a family of four.
6. Romney. Romney’s plan calls for reduced regulation of energy production, which should help those in extraction industries such as coal, gas, natural gas, and hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking.
7. Obama. Because his energy policies contrast with Romney’s plan, above.
8. Obama. Romney says he will offset his tax breaks by eliminating other deductions. A likely target:home mortgage interest. In early October, the Republican nominee suggested that deduction might instead be part of a “bucket” of all deductions with a combined maximum total of $17,000. Many small businesses are in home-related industries, and it’s likely those businesses would suffer with the elimination of tax incentives for home ownership.
9. Obama. Another likely deduction to be eliminated to offset Romney’s tax breaks would be the exemption of taxes on employer-provided health insurance. If your employer pays all or part of your health insurance, that could easily become taxable income under Romney — even if your own small business is your employer.
10. Romney. Romney proposes eliminating the estate tax. Currently, estates worth $5 million or less are exempted from taxes, and estates worth $5 million or more are taxed at a maximum of 35 percent.

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