At the heart of America is the idea that you can start your own business and build it to be successful. In San Diego, we know a commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and startups is essential to economic progress and creating jobs. Small businesses account for 99% of all businesses, 48% of private sector employment, and the majority of net new job growth. They are more innovative than large businesses — as measured by patent filings — and most of them sell their products in markets outside the United States.
By helping small businesses access capital and talent and compete on a level playing field, and decreasing overly burdensome by government regulations, we can help small businesses thrive. Here’s my plan:
As a former tax attorney, I understand our tax code is outdated and stifles entrepreneurship with rates that are too high and loopholes that are too numerous. A modernized tax code, coupled with a federal budget that protects America’s economic recovery and helps reduce the national debt, will give business owners certainty as they start new ventures. San Diego knows better than many that a functioning infrastructure is important to local economic growth and competitiveness — it creates jobs in the short term and stability in the long term. Fixing our broken immigration system would give us the high skilled workers to fill the jobs of the future and keep top talent in the United States.
Here are some ways I’m working to make our nation’s economy stronger:
· Supported a long overdue, six-year investment in our roads, bridges, and transit systems
· Helped introduce the Partnership to Build America Act, which creates an infrastructure fund paid for by repatriating overseas earnings, not by raising taxes.
· Supported the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
· Helped introduce the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, which makes reforms to our nation’s high-skilled immigration program.
· Developed a six-point plan to Fix Congress Now, break gridlock, and make Congress more productive
San Diego’s talented workforce and innovative culture have made it an attractive destination to launch a new business, but one of the biggest barriers our small business owners still face is access to capital. To expand access to capital for growing businesses, we need to modernize how we look at angel investing and cut red tape for entrepreneurs using crowdfunding. We also need to make it easier for banks and credit unions to increase small business lending, including through lending programs with the Small Business Administration. Finally, we need fund the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which support scientific and technological innovation in small businesses.
To make it easier for entrepreneurs to get the capital they need to start or grow their businesses, I’ve:
· Helped introduce the Helping Angels Lead our Startups Act, which makes it easier for entrepreneurs to meet investors through venture fairs, demo days, and similar events.
· Voted for the Supporting America’s Innovators Act, which increases the limit on the number of investors who can form a venture fund, resulting in more funds being available to growing businesses.
· Voted to add a provision to the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act, which requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to certify that any new regulation won’t impair access to credit for small businesses.
· Voted for the Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act, which provides a means for small publicly traded companies to increase the trading increment from one cent to five or ten cents per share.
· Helped pass the America COMPETES Reauthorization, which makes investments in programs to help transfer federal discoveries to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
· Voted for the Fair Investment Opportunities for Professionals Act, which expands the SEC definition of “accredited investor” to allow more individuals to invest in small businesses.
· Voted for the Small Business Capital formation Enhancement Act, which pressures the SEC to take action on a list of 98 recommendations for increasing small business capital formation.
[i] Export-Import Bank, FY2015 Annual Report
We know that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and that employer-provided benefits increase employee retention rates. Finding ways to make it easier for employers to provide quality health care, as well as education and retirement benefits will help small business attract and retain talent. To stay competitive in the global war for talent, we need to make it easier and more affordable for qualified students from every community to get a high-quality college education. We also need to support public-private partnerships that help students develop the skills needed to fill the jobs of the future. Finally, we need to ensure innovators in San Diego and across the country can maintain a competitive workforce and keep jobs here at home.
Here are some ways I’m working to accomplish this:
· Helped introduce the Helping Entrepreneurs Lower Prices Act, which enables small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to receive tax credits to help offset the cost of health insurance.
· Helped introduce the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which funds important workforce development programs across the country.
· Introduced the Veteran Employment Transition Act, which provides a tax credit to employers who hire veterans.
· Introduced the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act, which enables employers to put money, tax-free, toward an employee’s student loan debt, and the Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act, which automatically lowers all federal student loan rates to 4%.
· Cosponsored the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act and recently helped to introduce the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, which makes reforms to our nation’s high-skilled immigration program.
Currently, there are roughly 80 steps necessary for businesses to become eligible for federal contracts, a process that can take months and puts innovative small companies at a disadvantage. Streamlining the process for small businesses across the country to become eligible for the federal contracting process will increase competition, save taxpayers money, and yield a more efficient government. To encourage innovation, we need to reform our patent laws so they don’t target small businesses, but still allow entrepreneurs to defend their intellectual property. Finally, we need to ensure business are not burdened, nor targeted, by predatory lawsuits.
To help level the playing field for small businesses, I’ve:
· Helped introduce the Make Every Small Business Count Act, which makes federal contracting more accessible to small businesses. This is now law.
· Introduced the Open Government Technology Work to More Businesses Act, which streamlines and shortens the registration process required to compete for federal contracts.
· Helped introduce the ADA Education and Reform Act, which provides a cure period for ADA violations before a lawsuit can commence.
· Advocated for the defeat of the so-called Innovation Act, which made changes to the U.S. patent system that would undermine the rights of smaller inventors.
· Voted to expand the SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion grant program, which assists small businesses in reaching new markets created by trade agreements, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private partnership providing services to small manufacturers, and he helped to introduce the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act, which increases funding for the SBA’s Women’s Business Center.
To reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, Congress needs to make it easier to comply with existing regulations, and lower the tax burden on small businesses.
Some of the ways I’m working to reduce regulatory burden are:
· Introduced the Cut and Reduce Excess and Duplicative Tax Assessments and Paperwork for Entrepreneurs Act, which allows businesses with less than $1 million in sales to file federal taxes annually instead of every quarter.
· Voted for the Save American Workers Act, which changes the definition of a full time employee under the Affordable Care Act from someone who works at least 30 hours per week to someone who works at least 40 hours per week.
· Helped introduce the Small Business Investment Act, which lengthens the time during which small businesses can use accelerated depreciation for depreciable business property.
· Voted for the Jobs for America Act, which makes bonus depreciation permanent and raises the allowable expensed amount for small businesses.
· Introduced the Igniting American Research Act, which makes the tax credit for research and development permanent. This is now law.
· Voted for the Fostering Innovation Act, which provides an exemption from certain audit requirements for small public companies.
· Voted for the Encouraging Employee Ownership Act, which increases the amount of stock a company can use for employee compensation before it has to disclose publicly information about its finances and operations.