crisp's presidential youth debate


It takes courage to start something new, to carve a reality out of a dream -- often with few resources, sometimes in difficult surroundings -- and in an economy that demands much of it participants. America's thriving economy begins with our smallest businesses.

I have fought to improve the economic security of small businesses by pursuing a strategy that has put our economy on the right track. By cutting the deficit by 63%, we have brought interest rates down, freeing money for private investment. We now make more autos than Japan. The lowest unemployment in 7 years. 10.7 million new jobs. Exports up by one-third. Wages rising for the first time in a decade. And, in each of the last three years, American entrepreneurs have started a record number of new small businesses.

I have cut taxes for small businesses -- to help them keep the money they need to grow. Since 1993, I have provided tax relief to small businesses by raising the amount of property a small business can expense annually by 75 percent, from $10,000 to $25,000. We established a targeted tax preference for capital gains and reduced the record-keeping requirements for meals and entertainment deduction, and extended the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit and the $5,250 exclusion for employer-provided education assistance.

When I took office, I asked the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help ensure the continued growth and development of small businesses in America by increasing their access to capital while reducing regulations and paperwork, and streamlining operations.

Our initiatives have been successful on all counts. The SBA has doubled its loan volume over the last three years, while cutting its staff by 35 percent. I am especially proud that we have nearly quadrupled the number of government-guaranteed loans to women-owned businesses -- with no decrease in loans to other business owners. The SBA has cut in half the total number of pages of its regulations. We are now giving small business owners the opportunity to cure first-time violations without penalty, and allow them to apply fines to correct violations. We have simplified the application form for loans of $100,000 or less to just one page.

I believe America's more than 22 million small businesses are instrumental in driving our nation's growing economy and I will continue to pursue policies that help America's small businesses flourish.

With so many Americans wanting to start their own business, I feel it is imperative to provide every opportunity to help them succeed. My plan for economic reform makes this possible.

The existing federal tax structure is complex and imposes an unnecessary and unacceptable burden on the America's small businesses. Small business tax relief is not a mere option, but a necessity. Therefore, I propose the following:

-Simplify the tax code and cut personal taxes by 15%--this means cutting the federal red tape for small businesses.
- Estate tax relief for family owned businesses.
- Simple pension plans. Create a simplified pension plan for employees of small businesses.
- Independent contractor classification relief. Create an objective, straightforward test to determine if a new hire is an employee or an independent contractor.
-Increase the deductibility of self-employed health insurance to 100%.
- Provide for deductibility of home office expenses for the self-employed.