The Agenda for America's Entrepreneurs: A Level Playing Field

Small Business Majority
Thu, 04/20/2023

Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy; they employ nearly half the private sector workforce and create two-thirds of all new jobs. 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. Small businesses face unfair competition challenges across multiple industries—technology and non-technology alike. This is particularly true for BIPOC, women and rural entrepreneurs, who face greater barriers than their white counterparts. It’s time to level the playing field for small businesses and restore our economy from the bottom up.

Level the playing field via policies that ensure free, fair and robust competition

  • Prohibit non-compete agreements, with few discrete exceptions, to ensure that entrepreneurs are free to start business ventures and compete in the marketplace based upon the quality of their products and services. Nearly 6 in 10 of small business owners support banning non-competes (versus only 14% who do not). Moreover, non-compete agreements exacerbate the concentration of economic power and harm workers’ ability to earn a competitive wage. Non-disclosure agreements are more than sufficient to protect confidential information and trade secrets.
  • Strengthen the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, also called Anti-Price Discrimination Act, that protects small businesses from being driven out of the marketplace via discrimination in pricing, promotional allowances and advertising afforded large, franchised companies. 
  • Curtail the ability of technology platforms to impede free and fair competition through practices such as self-preferencing, forced advertising copycatting and exclusion. 
  • Ensure that franchise agreements are fair and equitable and that franchisees have the right, including through private action, to enforce claims against the franchisor and protect themselves from unscrupulous one-sided business practices.
  • Support efforts to rein in corporate consolidation and mergers that prevent small and medium sized businesses from competing on a level playing field.

Enact fair and equitable tax policies to ensure a true level playing field for Main Street entrepreneurs

  • 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. 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. There are a myriad of other ways to provide bottom-up tax and other support for our nation’s smallest businesses.
  • Maintain full funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that small businesses have access to information and services from the now-understaffed IRS and to improve revenue collection from large corporations and the very wealthy. Our polling shows 62% support increasing the enforcement budget of the IRS to audit larger businesses and the wealthy.
  • Pass healthcare tax equity for the self-employed so that freelancers can deduct their healthcare expenses from their FICA tax obligations—just like other business entities.