Obama Unveils Plan to Boost U.S. Startups
Posted on February 3, 2012
In last week’s State of the Union, President Obama championed the start-up spirit and pushed Congress to pass legislation that helps boost entrepreneurs and pave the way for the next Steve Jobs.
“Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow,” Obama said. Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.”
Expanding on that, Obama today sent Congress a proposal intended to assist startups and small businesses. The effort, dubbed the Startup America Legislative Agenda, would rework small business taxes, facilitate new funding options, and look to broaden the pool of foreign-born entrpreneurs allowed to start businesses in this country.
The proposal comes on the one-year anniversary of the White House “Startup America” initiative, which Obama outlined during last year’s State of the Union.
“One year ago today, I called for an all hands on deck effort to ensure that America remains the best place on Earth to turn a great idea into a successful business. The private sector responded, with the Startup America Partnership launching new entrepreneurial networks all across the country,” Obama said in a statement.
The includes the Startup America Partnership from AOL co-founder Steve Case and the Kauffman Foundation, which mobilized over $1 billion in business resources to serve as many as 100,000 startups over the next three years. Today that effort expanded to nine new networks in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont.
“Today, we’re taking new steps that build on that progress, and I urge Congress to send me a common-sense bipartisan bill that does even more to expand access to capital and cut taxes for America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Obama said.
Obama’s plan includes a number of tax proposals, including: cutting taxes for small businesses; expanding and making permanent zero capital gains on small business investments; a 10 percent income tax credit for those who add new jobs this year; doubling the amount of start-up expenses entrepreneurs can deduct from $5,000 to $10,000; and an extension of 100 percent depreciation.
Obama also proposed a federal Kickstarter of sorts via “crowdfunding,” as well as an IPO on-ramp that would change securities laws as they relate to small businesses in the first years after they go public.
One of the top complaints among tech execs, meanwhile, is the lack of available talent. The U.S. lags in math and science education, while highly trained foreign workers, who earn degrees from U.S. universities, are often forced to return home after graduation, they argue.
As a result, Obama’s plan calls for immigration reform that would include a Startup Visa that would strengthen the H-1B program and essentially staple green cards to the diplomas of certain graduates.
Of course, getting this accomplished requires the cooperation of Congress. But getting the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate to agree on much of anything lately has been an uphill battle, a struggle to which Obama alluded in his speech.
31 Jan 2012