The Agenda for America's Entrepreneurs: 2023 Policy Priorities

Small Business Majority
Tue, 05/23/2023

Access to Capital & Opportunity

Entrepreneurship is essential to a thriving and equitable economy, yet too many of our smallest businesses—especially those owned by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), women, rural business owners and other under-resourced communities—face unique hurdles in accessing capital from banks and other traditional financial institutions. To ensure small businesses can thrive, we offer the following capital policy recommendations.

  • Reauthorize the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) while also expanding its programs for smaller loans targeting small minority- and women-owned businesses, including making the Community Advantage Program permanent.
  • Ensure the U.S. Department of Treasury is monitoring technical assistance programs and capital dollars through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to ensure they reach businesses in under resourced communities. 
  • Pass the Small Business Lending Disclosure and Broker Regulation Act, which would extend federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure requirements to small business loans and credit products to protect the most vulnerable small businesses from predatory lending practices. Currently, TILA requires that consumer creditors disclose critical financing information, including annual percentage rates (APR), in a clear and comparable format; however, those disclosures are not required in commercial lending.
  • Eliminate the good character criteria on all federal small business loan programs so that justice-impacted small business owners can have an equal opportunity at access to capital throughout their entrepreneurial journey. 
  • Increase funding and resources for business assistance centers that provide vital education and outreach to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, such as Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and the Minority Business Development Agency.
  • Advance policies that would codify access to all reproductive health services (including abortion). Our research shows that access to reproductive healthcare is essential to women’s ability to start and grow small businesses.

Quality Jobs

Small businesses need a modernized and robust benefits infrastructure that promotes wealth creation, financial security and quality jobs for those who do not work for large organizations and those who are self-employed. A robust benefits infrastructure means access to affordable healthcare, paid family and medical leave, childcare, and retirement savings. Without these support structures, small businesses cannot properly compete or contribute to their local and state economies in a meaningful way.

  • Lower prices for healthcare services by reining in hospital mergers and acquisitions, anti-competitive hospital business practices and predatory billing. These practices are increasing patient costs, limiting consumer choice and incentivizing high-cost, low-quality providers. 
  • Make the premium assistance provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, which has helped make healthcare more affordable for many entrepreneurs and their employees, permanent.
  • Encourage states to expand Medicaid eligibility that haven’t already done so. 
  • Expand health coverage options for immigrants who are twice as likely to own small businesses compared to those born in the United States.
  • Establish a national program that would provide partial wage replacement for small business owners, employees and the self-employed to access parental leave or to handle serious health conditions for themselves or family members. In the absence of a federal program, continue to establish state-run paid family and medical leave insurance programs. 
  • Implement policies at the national and state level that would help more working parents afford childcare, understanding that this benefit is essential to retaining a skilled workforce. This could include expanding and improving income tax credits for childcare expenses and subsidies for childcare providers who are typically small business owners.
  • Support state efforts to establish publicly administered retirement savings ("Secure Choice") programs to help more small business owners and their employees access retirement plans. Additionally, make provisions to allow self-employed entrepreneurs to access these Secure Choice programs.
  • Advance Clean Slate policies at the federal and state level to ensure that small businesses can tap into an underutilized workforce comprised of justice-impacted individuals who have remained crime-free for a period of time for non-sexual and non-violent crimes.

A Level Playing Field

Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy. However, corporate consolidations, under-regulated technology platforms, pernicious business practices and an unfair tax code stifle competition and put small businesses at a distinct disadvantage. This is also particularly pernicious for BIPOC, women and rural entrepreneurs. It is time to level the playing field for small businesses and restore our economy from the bottom up.

  • Prohibit non-compete agreements to ensure that entrepreneurs are free to start business ventures and compete in the marketplace based upon the quality of their products and services. 
  • Ensure that franchise agreements are fair and equitable. Franchise agreements are a great opportunity for entrepreneurship, particularly in communities of color, but the relationship must exist on a fair and level playing field.
  • Support additional efforts at the state and federal level to prevent corporate consolidation and mergers that prevent small and medium sized businesses from competing fairly.
  • Enact the Biden-Harris administration’s proposal to increase revenues and reduce the deficit by increasing the top marginal tax rate on the very wealthy, understanding that only 2% of businesses with pass-through income pay at the top rate. Our polling shows that two-thirds of small businesses support raising the top marginal rate to fund important programs.
  • Do not extend the Section 199A tax deductions established by the 2017 tax law that allow businesses to deduct 20% of pass-through business income. Based upon data compiled by the Tax Policy Center, 73% of the total 199A benefit flows to fewer than 5% of pass-through businesses. Instead, there are a myriad of ways to provide bottom-up tax and other support for our nation’s smallest businesses such as allowing businesses to deduct their first $25,000 of pass-through income.
  • Maintain full funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that small businesses have access to information and services from the now understaffed and underfunded IRS and to improve revenue collection from large corporations and the very wealthy. Our polling shows 62% of small businesses support increasing the enforcement budget of the IRS to audit larger businesses and the wealthy.