What Small Biz Can Expect From Obama


After an historic election, entrepreneurs, along with the rest of the country, await the inauguration of a new President with an ambitious agenda. Given the nearly unprecedented financial situation and two ongoing wars, entrepreneurs are understandably anxious that their concerns will get short shrift.

Restoring confidence in the economy is a tall order, but two important elements will undoubtedly be job and economic growth. President-elect Barack Obama and the new Congress are likely to view an economic stimulus package as a critical tool for addressing both.

But vanquishing the pessimism that currently pervades the markets and economic decision-making will also require some symbolic moves. Faucher says people want to see that “the President understands what is going on in the economy and is acting not reactively, but proactively.”

Thus, the right economic team is critical. National Federation of Independent Business Executive Vice-President Dan Danner is encouraged that so far, the President-elect seems to be surrounding himself with experienced advisers, including likely Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Many are from the Clinton Administration, “seasoned pros who have been there and who understand the importance of business.”

Business owners’ greatest concern about the next Administration can be summed up in one word: taxes. “Small businesses are very fearful of being overtaxed and overburdened. What incentive is there to work very hard if you hardly get any gains for it?” asks Ann Blackburn, a leadership consultant in Lafayette, Calif.

The first tax break for small businesses will probably come in the stimulus bill, which is expected to include an extension of the $250,000 limit on the first-year depreciation of equipment (otherwise, the deduction will fall to about $125,000 in 2009) and possibly Obama’s promised cut in the capital gains tax to zero for investments in small businesses and startups.

Photo by BusinessWeek.

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