It's official: Barack Obama will reprise his role as President of the United States for a second term.
While Florida remains the only swing state that's still too close to call, Obama bested his Republican challenger Mitt Romney regardless, as he raked in at least 303 electoral votes during yesterday's election. He needed to win 270 electoral votes to declare victory.
In his acceptance speech, Obama vowed to work with members of Congress to push through reforms that would help put Americans back to work. "Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual," he said. "In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do."
But for specifics on how the next four years under Obama might look for small businesses, we reached out to his campaign. Here's the president's agenda for small businesses, according to a statement from Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher:
Tax cuts. To speed up the recovery, Obama is proposing to expand upon the 18 small-business tax credits he enacted in his first term. In addition to permanently doubling the tax deduction for start-up expenses and zero capital gains on small-business investments, he would create a new 10 percent income-tax credit to offset the cost of hiring or increasing wages.
Access to capital. The president "will do even more" to expand access to capital in a second term, according to Fetcher. Obama is a supporter of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which has already permanently raised the maximum loan size for its largest lending programs. Going forward, Obama plans to promote the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which he signed into law in April, which is designed to help small businesses access financing while keeping investor protections in place. The JOBS act contains a popular provision on "crowdfunding," that is, selling equity to anyone who has the cash and interest, not just to accredited investors. The law also creates an IPO on-ramp that gives young companies temporary relief from certain SEC regulations, making it easier and more feasible to go public.
Streamlining regulations. The president "recognizes that the government must take steps to streamline regulations on small businesses," according to Fetcher, noting several initiatives begun during Obama's first term, including a government-wide review of regulations and support of the JOBS Act.
Boosting exports and trade. Looking ahead, the president "will make sure that no foreign company has an unfair advantage over American companies by offering more generous financing through the Export-Import Bank," Fletcher says. The Export-Import Bank supported a record $6 billion in financing and insurance for small businesses last year, and more than 85 percent of the bank’s transactions were for small businesses.
The president will also negotiate a new, expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact with nations including Australia, Singapore and Mexico, among others. In 2010, President Obama set a goal of doubling exports over five years and created the National Export Initiative to promote U.S. goods and remove trade barriers, expand access to credit, and promote strong growth worldwide.
Investing in small businesses. The Obama administration has awarded nearly $300 billion in federal-prime contracts to small businesses since 2009, and one-third of all federal-contracting dollars in the Recovery Act went to small businesses. Obama, in recent months, has further renewed his call for an infrastructure bill that could boost construction and engineering jobs across the country. The president plans "to create an economy built to last that relies on small-business growth, investments in entrepreneurship, advanced manufacturing and increased exporting," Fetcher says.
For more on where Obama stands on small-business issues, check out Entrepreneur.com's Election2012 coverage.
How do you think Barack Obama will help small businesses in his second term? Let us know in the comments section below.