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Responding to President’s “American Jobs Act” Speech

Last evening, President Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress about his proposed American Jobs Act (you can watch all 32 minutes of the speech here; and here is the text of the speech, including the one-page fact sheet here).

A search of the speech found at least nine references to small business or small companies. Consequently, it seems appropriate to feature the reaction of two small business associations to the President’s speech.

A portion of the response of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council includes the following:

"We are pleased small business was featured prominently in the President's speech, and we look forward to reviewing the details of the American Jobs Act.  Specifically, as it relates to the payroll tax cut for employers and various hiring credits aimed to boost hiring, we hope these provisions are not unduly complex or have conditions attached that may prevent small firms from fully utilizing these incentives.

[ . . . ]

“Unfortunately, the President did not broach the subject of fixing his health care law. The burdens and higher costs associated with ObamaCare are keeping small firms from hiring.  The new law is driving health coverage costs higher for small businesses, and the unknowns relative to various provisions currently in the rulemaking or implementation stage continue to drive uncertainty. In addition, the President did not directly address the issue of new regulations in the pipeline and whether his Administration will take a more thoughtful approach to a system that is currently out of control. In fact, he seemed to defend the existing approach, which is a source of anxiety and concern for small business owners.

“I hope the President is open to ideas that will add value to his proposal.  He needs to embrace a more collaborative approach with Congress - Republicans and Democrats alike - and consider their ideas to improve his plan. The President may get the 'jolt' desired if he includes legislative ideas that stem the tide of regulation, make permanent key tax provisions and fix the parts of the health care law that impose higher costs, taxes and new burdens on small businesses. Entrepreneurs and millions of Americans are hurting right now. This is a time for leadership, and we hope President Obama steps up to the challenge."

The response of the National Federation of Independent Business was more succinct, consisting of just two paragraphs:

“Small-business owners needed to hear something bold from President Obama tonight, but instead just heard more of the same. His plan does not address the fundamental problems facing small business today. In addition, recent history tells us that a huge federal stimulus program is the wrong approach, and again sends the message that the president thinks he can spend his way out of this recession.

“The truth is that small businesses need the government out of their way. Tax breaks are always a welcome help to small businesses, especially in these tough economic times. But those outlined tonight by the president are temporary, and avoid the question of meaningful business tax reform. Lack of sales is still a major concern and there is a great deal of uncertainty among small businesses thanks to the threat of higher taxes and the thousands of pending federal regulations. The president’s speech did little to ease those concerns.”

We’ll growl an additional response to President’ Obama’s “American Jobs Act” speech in a future Growls. Until then, further reading is available at the references provided at the Tax Prof Blog, where he provides a list of more than a dozen readings concerning the tax portions of President Obabma’s jobs speech.


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