CBPP Finds Trump Tax Plan Heavily Tilts Towards the Wealthy–Away from Small Business Owners and their Customer Base
The latest version of Donald Trump’s ever-changing tax plan is facing scrutiny from the Center on Budget and Public Policy and Main Street Alliance leaders. The plan, one that features across the board tax cuts, disproportionately benefits the highest-income earners, those grossing more than $1 million annually.
The self-proclaimed business genius and master of the tax code has failed to produce a tax plan that would not prompt a chain reaction of budget and service cuts, and he has ignored the most significant key to a small business owners success–customers with money to spend.
A 2015 report released by the Main Street Alliance, “Voices of Main Street,” surveyed over 1000 small business owners and found that 52% of respondents cited “more customers” as the most important key to increasing small business success. Doubling the number of respondents that said “lower taxes” and more than quadrupling the number that responded “fewer regulations.”
Tax cuts skewed towards the wealthy elite starve our communities of much-needed resources while further tilting the scales towards large corporations and the rich. What Hillary Clinton coined “Trumped up trickle-down economics” is at play in the Trump proposal, one that ignores history in favor of policy that aims to put his family and families like his in the driver seat of our economy.
Small business owners and our customers are the real economic drivers and to succeed we need a fiscally solvent tax plan that maintains essential services while proportionally distributing tax cuts across the bottom and middle tax brackets.
“To level the playing field for Main Street businesses our tax code must no longer skew in favor of large corporations and their shareholders,” said Deborah Field, the owner of Paperjam Press in Portland, Oregon, and a former corporate tax accountant. “Without holding multinational corporations accountable to pay what they owe and first providing relief to low and middle-income earners we shouldn’t begin to consider tax cuts for the rich.”
"Mr. Trump's tax breaks would deprive the government of badly needed funds for investments in infrastructure, transportation, education, and social services. The resulting budget cuts hinder the types of investments that drive local economies and put small businesses in a better position to succeed,” said Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of the Main Street Alliance. “A tax policy that works for the shops and restaurants on Main Street is one that supports our customer base and our communities. In that regard, Trump's plan falls flat."
“The vast majority of small business owners don’t support a tax system that augments their piece of the pie by cheating their fellow citizens out of theirs. When we contribute our fair share of taxes, those dollars get reinvested in our local communities,” said David Borris, the owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Chicago and Main Street Alliance Executive Committee member. “Local communities that support tens of millions of small businesses nationally.”
Join us in welcoming the newest Main Street Alliance staff member, Casey Thomas. Casey will serve as the National Development Associate.
This week, Casey Thomas took on her new role with Main Street Alliance as the Development Associate. Born in New York, Casey grew up in Zimbabwe, India, Bangladesh and Northern Virginia. Her family is from South Carolina and Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. She is an avid fan of the New York Mets.
Currently residing in Greensboro, North Carolina, Casey serves on the board of the Renaissance Community Cooperative, a community-owned grocery store that will open this month in a neighborhood that has been without a grocery store for 18 years.
Casey recently finished a Master's in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her undergraduate study at Guilford College. For the past five years, she has worked in administrative positions in higher education.
Working closely with the MSA National Director and national and state-level teams, Casey will focus on program planning, organizational development, campaign strategy, and coordinating and aligning fundraising plans. She will be responsible for reporting the work and advocacy of our leaders and members to our funders and allies.
Main Street Alliance staff and leadership are excited to welcome Casey Thomas to our team and look forward to the great work we will do together.
Addressing a crowd in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump claimed he could eliminate 70 percent of regulations, many of which small business owners on Main Street view as necessary protections for employers and consumers.
Just hours after a Trump campaign advisor told members of the media that his candidate could quickly remove 10 percent of regulations on businesses, Donald Trump took the stage in New Hampshire and amplified the claim stating he could remove as much as 70 percent of regulations. The rules that keep big businesses in check, ensure product safety and protect our environment could be lifted under the Trump administration in favor of a free for all for large corporations and the wealthy elite.
Among the regulations Mr. Trump promised to target is the Department of Labor's new Fiduciary Rule that demands that wealth managers and financial advisors act in the best interest of their clients. The regulation was deemed necessary by the DOL earlier this year and would prevent advisors from taking advantage of small business owners and our customers with high-fee investment plans and advice motivated by bonuses and incentives.
“When small business owners make investments they need to be confident that the advice given by professionals is in their best interest. Advisors chasing bonuses and incentives lead investors down the path that is most profitable to them, putting their profits ahead of their clients’ interests. It is this type of chicanery that led us to the market collapse in 2007 that devastated small businesses and communities, and the Fiduciary Standard shakes up business as usual on Wall Street and promotes a fairer and more equitable investment process,” said Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of the Main Street Alliance.
The GOP candidate took aim at the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act claiming it stifled the growth of American businesses. The act is designed to rein in the Wall Street abuses and deception that led to the mortgage and financial crisis, which seriously impeded growth. The very financial crisis Mr. Trump boasts about profiting from when making a case for his business genius. Meanwhile, small business owners on Main Street know that real genius lies in the ability to turn a profit while protecting homeowners and creditors and refusing to repeat the same mistakes of decades prior.
“Formed as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) acts as the first and last line of defense for consumers and borrowers,” said David Borris, the owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering in Chicago and a member of the Main Street Alliance National Executive Committee. “That is why financial regulations are so important in their potential to stem the tide of financial ruin for millions of local consumers throughout the country.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency Mr. Trump's promised to abolish, a promise he has since reframed, protects the solvency of our businesses and reduces the significant impact large companies have on our environment. We have seen countless instances of lax regulations and in cases when disaster results, small businesses often suffer. Take, for example, the restaurants and cafés in Charleston, West Virginia that had to close their doors for weeks following the 2014 spill that released MCHM into the Elk River, or the hotels, charter fishers and gift shops devastated by the ongoing fallout from the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill.
Mr. Trump's proposals are the latest in a series of indications that his policies fall in line with his personal interests. They are policies designed for large businesses and real estate moguls like him that fail to consider the needs of small business owners and their employees. To ensure that our financial interests are put before our advisor's profits, to protect our businesses and our customers from a repeat of the financial meltdown, and to reduce our impact on climate change and risk for eco-disaster, we must reject the notion that regulations are bad for business. Instead, we should embrace the regulations that keep companies in check and look for new rules that provide a safer and more consistent climate to conduct business.
"We want a regulatory system that works for all of us and does not give the advantage to the largest corporations and trade groups that employee huge lobbying staffs for the purpose of rigging the system to their benefit–at the expense of the rest of us. Most of all, Donald Trump must stop using small businesses good name to justify his self-serving attacks on the regulatory safeguards that keep his company in check and ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and customers," said Kagalee "KB" Brown, the owner of Wolfpack Promotionals in Minneapolis and a member of the Main Street Alliance of Minnesota.
A coalition of business organizations and associations is backing a weakened alternative to the D.C. Council’s paid family and medical leave bill that cuts out small businesses.
Today, a consortium of business organizations and universities presented an alternative to the D.C. Council’s proposed paid family and medical leave policy in a letter to Mayor Bowser. This weakened bill fails to meet the needs of small businesses, and, if passed, would fail to help Main Street businesses match the offerings of their larger competitors and ensure coverage for their staff members.
The D.C. Council’s initial bill proposed a paid family and medical leave policy that was accessible to all employers--large and small-- in the District. This bill relied on a citywide insurance pool as its funding mechanism, requiring employers to contribute 1 percent of their payroll costs to the pooled fund. Using this funding mechanism allows small businesses to provide their employees with a paid family and medical leave policy that was previously out of reach. The alternative plan, in contrast, shifts the funding source to an employer mandate model. Under this model, each employer is responsible for absorbing the cost of their employees’ paid leave, rather than utilizing the insurance pool.
While some large businesses may prefer this model, an employer mandate is simply unaffordable for the small businesses that sit at the heart of our communities. D.C. small businesses want to offer their employees paid leave, but they cannot afford to. An employer mandate does nothing to change that reality. If enacted, large employers would retain a competitive edge, while the employees of small businesses would remain without coverage.
Touting their plan as one that takes D.C. government out of the picture and preserves the sanctity of the employer-employee relationship, the business coalition insists their proposal is better for both employee and employer. But, for the thousands of in-district businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the plan falls flat. No large businesses embrace the employee-employer relationship more than a small business, and few are as closely tied to the wellbeing of their communities and their customer base.
To level the playing field for all businesses, and to equip small companies to match the offerings of their competitors and to ensure all employees in the District have access to paid family and medical leave the D.C. Council’s plan must move forward without an overhaul.
“With a paid family and medical leave policy on the books, one funded by employer contributions of just 1 percent of payroll, we will all have the opportunity to provide a benefit that helps our employees, our businesses, and our community,” said Doron Petersan, the owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats in Columbia Heights and a member of the DMV Small Business Alliance, a project of Main Street Alliance. “Policy that is socially conscious, accessible and cost effective is a no-brainer for small business owners in the District.”
“The business lobby’s proposal for employers to pay directly for their employees’ leave may sound nice, but it’s motivated by a desire to save money for the city’s largest employers and corporations, hanging small and medium size business owners like me out to dry,” said Fatima Nayir, the owner of Mama’s Pizza in Anacostia and a member of the DMV Small Business Alliance, a project of Main Street Alliance.
This week, two of our most active members in Minnesota shared some great news with us, and they are owed huge congratulations from the Main Street community. Lynn Hoffman and Kate Davenport, are moving into new roles at Minneapolis-based Eureka Recycling. The two will serve as co-CEO’s, leading a team of more than 80 employees.
Lynn and Kate's forward-thinking leadership and commitment to Eureka's mission of both environmental and economic sustainability prove that high-road, zero waste social enterprises can succeed when they invest in their employees and community. Honoring a zero-waste commitment, Eureka’s focuses on reuse, recycling, composting, waste reduction and producer responsibility. Company-wide they employ more than 80 members of the community, providing each with living wages.
Eureka recently won long-term contracts with the Cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Roseville to provide recycling services for the next 5 + years. Eureka's success shows that businesses don’t just survive but thrive on the high road, and it also demonstrates how local municipalities can align their values with companies that invest in their employees and protect the environment.
Kate and Lynn have long led Eureka's advocacy efforts on a range of issues from zero-waste to clean energy. They have served as founding advisory board members of Main Street Alliance of Minnesota and were part of the cohort of business leaders who helped shape and pass the state's first Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance in Minneapolis by testifying, attending press conferences and writing op-eds. They continue to support policies that work toward economic and racial justice and help shape the kind of cities and states in which we live and do business.
For all of their great work and for taking on new and exciting roles with the company we offer them our sincerest congratulations on this huge step and look forward to the work we can do together in 2017 and beyond.
DOL Issues Final Rules on President Obama’s Executive Order Granting Paid Sick Days to Federal Contractors
The final rule, coupled with the success of state and local policies advocated for by Main Street businesses, should encourage Congress to pass broad federal legislation.
In an address delivered on Labor Day, 2015 President Obama said his Executive Order granting paid sick days to federal contractors would “increase efficiency and cost savings in work performed by parties that contract with the government.” Cost savings and increased efficiency are among the reasons Main Street small business owners support paid sick days legislation at the local and federal level in addition to protecting fellow employees and customers from communicable illnesses and matching the offerings of their larger competitors.
Main Street Alliance members have played active roles in paid sick days in crafting and passing paid sick days legislation across the country at the state and national level, most recently in passing a comprehensive earned sick and safe time policy in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Advisory Board members in the Twin Cities sat on task forces to explore the language, implementation, and efficacy of the policy and determined it was in the best interests of small businesses to implement a minimum standard for paid sick days.
“Not only is an earned paid sick days ordinance the right thing to do, but it makes business sense. The advantages we gain in the areas of employee acquisition, retention, and productivity will help us do our jobs better, and will make St. Paul, and our country a better place to do business,” said Shannon Forney, the owner of Workhorse Coffee in St. Paul, MN
Joining cities like Seattle, Portland, Burlington, Jersey City, and Minneapolis, the Federal government will now serve as an example to private sector business owners and big business lobbyists who fail to see the benefits of a policy that levels the playing field for all businesses and employees while mitigating costs through increased productivity. As well, such programs reduce a phenomenon known as “presenteeism,” where an employee is present at work but due to illness is not performing well and at greater risk of making a costly mistake or becoming injured in the workplace.
The final rules and subsequent implementation of President Obama’s order will provide yet another example for Congress to consider when taking action on pending legislation aimed at reducing barriers to paid sick leave access and making such policies accessible to small business owners who can’t afford to offer the benefit to their employees while remaining competitive with low-road competitors without a policy on the books.
“We thank and applaud President Obama and Labor Secretary Perez for this important step in providing working families a choice beyond caring for their families or making a living,” said Beth Sachs, the Founder of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), and a member of Main Street Alliance of Vermont. “As a federal contractor and a mission-driven organization that seeks to promote a healthy planet with thriving people, VEIC supports this action through our existing policies. We recognize that our employees are our most valuable asset and that their ability to care for their families is paramount not just to them, but to society as a whole.”
Main Street Alliance and our member businesses applaud the President for putting a policy in place for federal contractors and the DOL for issuing strong rules on implementation and compliance. We urge Congress to heed the call of small business owners and our employees and move forward with a universal standard for paid sick days, like the Healthy Families Act, which applies to all businesses regardless of size or location.
“As a CEO and mother, I believe that we need to change norms in corporate America to enable working parents to succeed, both in the workplace and at home. This begins with paid sick days. When parents get the time they need to help a child get well they come back to work as more loyal and productive employees,” said Sabrina Parsons, CEO Palo Alto Software, Eugene, Oregon.
“In a civilized society workers should not be penalized for taking time off from their jobs to care for themselves and their families. Allowing employees to earn paid sick days ensures the health and welfare of our workforce and instills loyalty and a sense of personal well-being that will translate to a stronger bottom line for business. The Healthy Families Act makes sense for employers and employees,” said Melinda Moulton, CEO Main Street Landing, Burlington, Vermont.
"When you stop being scared and do the math, paid sick days become more attainable to small businesses. This is especially true for the Healthy Families Act, which would make paid sick days the standard nationwide and level the playing field between businesses that allow their workers to earn paid time off and those that don't,” said Molly Moon Neitzel, Owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Seattle, Washington.
Read the DOL's final rules HERE.
MSA Leaders Urge Congress to Support the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act
Members of the Main Street Alliance National Executive Committee and the National Action Committee penned the following letter today to Congress asking for their support on an Act aimed at increasing incorporation transparency and reducing the use and resulting harm caused by anonymous shell companies.
September 27, 2016
Dear Member of Congress,
As national leaders of the Main Street Alliance, the following businesses owners write to urge you to support the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act (S.2489/H.R. 4450). The Main Street Alliance is a national network of small businesses who engage on important public policy issues that work for business owners, their employees, and the communities they serve. This bill, which would help curb tax evasion, corruption, and fraud facilitated by anonymous shell companies, is central to this mission.
The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act would require the owners of companies to put their own name on an incorporation form. This simple act is critically important to those of us who have seen or experienced the harm resulting from anonymous shell companies. Anonymously-owned companies or those whose owners are hidden, fuel corruption, and corruption distorts markets. Shell companies win contracts on the basis of false promises, rather than legitimate competitive advantage. Consider the following:
- One couple created a string of anonymously owned companies and won U.S. government contracts by submitting extremely low bids. They then subcontracted to other businesses for the actual goods and services. The couple received the fees from the government but never paid the subcontractors. They shut down their anonymous company and set up new ones, frustrating law enforcement investigations and creating new opportunities to repeat the scam. (1)
- A U.S defense contractor used his position to secure more than $1.1 million worth of contracts for a Tennessee-based company that he secretly owned, but his wife ran under her maiden name to hide their conflict of interest. (2)
- Anonymous companies are used by patent trolls to file lawsuits, costing the companies they target $80 billion per year in lost profits and legal costs. These lawsuits serve to squash innovation and harm fragile start-ups. (3)
Sadly, these are just a few of the countless examples of the harm caused by anonymous companies and the consequences for small business. Whether losing out on an initial contract or finding themselves on the fraudulent end of a commercial transaction, small businesses cannot be expected to compete with the ever-changing scams perpetrated by the owners of anonymous companies.
Requiring secretive businesses to come out from the shadows will benefit small businesses in several ways. It will reduce conflicts of interest and cronyism in contracting, as well as curb false billing of contractors and fraudulent certification for small, disadvantaged, veteran, or disability-owned businesses. Furthermore, ownership information will help prevent those who previously defrauded taxpayers from establishing a new sham operation and winning new contracts. And speaking for those businesses who honestly pay their taxes, it will make it harder for bad corporate actors to gain advantage through tax evasion.
In short, transparency levels the playing field so that businesses will engage in open competition based on product or service quality, organizational efficiencies, and talent. That is a market in which we can compete.
Congress should quickly pass S. 2489/H.R. 4450 to end the corrupt practices associated with anonymous companies and support a healthier environment for small business. Further, we ask that you ensure any additional bill on incorporation transparency include a robust standard for beneficial ownership and make available this information to both law enforcement agencies and financial institutions.
Main Street Alliance Executive Committee Members
David Borris, Hel's Kitchen Catering Northbrook, Illinois
Melanie Collins, Melanie’s Home Childcare Falmouth, Maine
Kelly Conklin, Foley-Waite and Associates Bloomfield, New Jersey
Jim Houser, Hawthorne Auto Clinic Portland, Oregon
Reshonda Young, Popcorn Heaven Waterloo, Iowa
Main Street Alliance National Action Committee Members
Paul Heroux, Handyman Orlando, Florida
Andy Lytle, Receptor Sound & Lighting Orlando, Florida
Sumner Richards IV, S. Fernald's Country Store & Deli Damariscotta, Maine
Frank Brown, Minuteman Press Minneapolis, Minnesota
Todd Mikkelson, Sprayrack Minneapolis, Minnesota
Samia Bahsoun, Capwave Technologies Ashbury Park, New Jersey
Tony Sandkamp, Sandkamp Woodworks LLC Jersey City, New Jersey
Amy Collins, New Shelves Pittsford, New York
Jayson Waits, Bloomtastic Florist Columbus, Ohio
Molly Dullea, General Denver Hotel Wilmington, Ohio
Rosalind McCallard, Snackrilege Portland, Oregon
Maurice Rahming, O’Neill Construction Group Portland, Oregon
Caleb Magoon, Power Play Sports & Waterbury Sports Morrisville, Vermont
Matthew Birong, 3 Squares Cafe Vergennes, Vermont
Download a PDF of the letter HERE
1 FBI, Conspirator Sentenced to Prison in $2.3 Million Government Contract Fraud Scheme,
http://www.fbi.gov/baltimore/press-releases/2014/conspirator-sentenced-to-prison-in-2.3-million-government-contract-fraud-scheme; US DOJ Press Release, Clinton Woman Pleads Guilty In $2.3 Million Government Contract Fraud Scheme, http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/news/2013/CLINTONWOMANPLEADSGUILTYIN2.3MILLION.html
2 United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia, Former employee of defense contractor and wife sentenced for conspiring to obtain millions in fraudulent scheme involving vehicle parts for Afghan National Army, February 14, 2014, available athttps://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/former-employee-defense-contractor-and-wife-sentenced-conspiring-obtain-millions.
3 James Bessen, Jennifer Ford, & Michael J. Meurer, “The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls,” Regulation 26, 2012.
As Councilmembers consider a Paid Family and Medical Leave policy for the District, D.C.'s "cupcake queen" extends her support to the measure that she says will help her business and improve the lives of her employees.
Doron Petersan owns Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in Columbia Heights and Farewell, a bakery, diner and bar on H Street. Today, the two-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars stepped out of the bakery and spoke as a member of the DMV Small Business Alliance (a project of Main Street Alliance) in support of a Paid Family and Medical Leave policy for D.C. Doron told the crowd of around 100 that as a small business owner she knows her employees and business will benefit from a Paid Family and Medical Leave policy, particularly from one funded by small contributions to an insurance pool.
“Paid Family Leave is a benefit that everyone should have access to, regardless of the size of their employer,” she said. “Policy that understands the demand for employees to balance time between their careers and their families makes good business sense. When we as employers can meet the needs of our staff and their families, we can attract and retain a talented and committed workforce that will grow our businesses.”
Doron was joined by a dozen other speakers who spoke to the need and impact of time off to recover from illness, care for a sick loved one, or welcome a new baby to the home. Doron was in a unique position to speak as both a business owner whose employees would benefit from the policy and as an individual who would personally benefit from access to the protections. In DC, the pooled insurance fund could be used by small business owners, too.
“I am someone whose business plan reflects my values,” Doron continued, “health, wellness, and social responsibility top my list of priorities, right alongside turning a profit and creating more jobs. An insurance pool funded Paid Family Leave policy allows more small and micro-businesses to live their values and match the offerings of their larger competitors and helps level the playing field for the shops and restaurants on Main Street.”
With a paid leave policy on the books, one funded by employer contributions of just 1 percent of payroll, DC businesses will have the opportunity to provide a benefit that helps employees, businesses, and the community. “Policy that is socially conscious and cost effective is a no-brainer for small business owners in the District. I urge lawmakers and my fellow entrepreneurs to work together to build a stronger local business climate and heed the call for Paid Family and Medical Leave,” said Doron.
New Jersey Steering Committee member Marilyn Sealy's testimony, delivered Tuesday helped ensure Morristown became the 13th New Jersey municipality to pass an earned sick day policy.
"When I heard other businesses didn't offer earned sick days I couldn't believe it," Marilyn testified before a packed town council
meeting."I've always offered them, and it's good for my business."
Marilyn owns Wells Rugs Service, a carpet and rug cleaning service that has operated in Morristown since 1921. Shortly after her testimony, the township passed the earned sick day ordinance by six votes to 1.
The law enables employees to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Staff of businesses with 10 or more employees can earn five paid sick days per year; while those in firms with nine or fewer employees can earn three paid sick days per year. Food service and healthcare workers can earn five sick days regardless of company size. Employees may use sick days to care for themselves or their sick children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren.
Morristown joins New Jersey municipalities Jersey City, Newark, East Orange, Irvington, Passaic, Paterson, Trenton, Montclair, Elizabeth, Plainfield, New Brunswick and Bloomfield in having enacted an earned sick days policy at the municipal level. In total, 35 municipalities throughout the United States have passed earned sick day ordinances.
Marilyn dismissed concerns played up by those opposing earned sick days that the ordinance would hurt businesses, or that employees would take advantage of their employees.
"We don't want workers coming to work sick, they could infect their co-workers, our customers, or even get into accidents," she said. "And I think the fact that my employees have stayed with me for 10 or 20 years has something to do with the fact that I offer earned sick days. It creates very loyal workers."
On September 13, Main Street Alliance members in San Diego gathered to discuss what they care about, what affects their businesses and how they can advocate for a San Diego that helps them thrive.
The small business leaders kicked off their first roundtable by exploring a foundational principle of Main Street Alliance: when everyone in our communities can afford to live, our businesses and economy thrive.
What does this mean for the business community in San Diego?
The group considered several opportunities. First, they reviewed options for local campaigns:
- Supporting the “Invest in San Diego Families” coalition work, to ensure that the County puts some of the $1.9 billion dollars it holds in cash reserves back into local neighborhood services - and consider ways it can invest in small business’ well being.
- Enforcing the minimum wage and earned sick days ordinance that the City of San Diego is implementing after it was voted into law in June. The City has a mandate to proactively roll it out, letting business owners know how to stay on top of all the ordinance’s compliance requirements. Most San Diego employers are honest and play by the rules, but it will be vital to ensure that unscrupulous businesses aren’t allowed to skirt the law to gain a competitive advantage.
- Ensuring that San Diego is putting dollars saved by Prop 47 (dollars not spent on incarcerating people for common petty drug offenses) into preventative and supportive services, so we can proactively address issues like drug treatment programs, mental health treatment or homelessness.
Member businesses connected these local opportunities with national Main Street Alliance campaigns such as:
- Advocating for paid family leave
- Supporting a raise in the minimum wage
- Speaking out against the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign
- Addressing the gap in access to capital for small businesses
The creativity kept flowing as members continued to share their ideas. They brought up the issue of how the “small business” classification may be misleading since the Small Business Administration or Internal Revenue Service definitions range from under 50 to under 500 employees. Throughout the conversation, members stressed the importance of addressing hyper-local issues that excite San Diego’s small business owners.
The business leaders asked each other: What issues in San Diego do we have an opportunity to tackle together for the benefit of all small businesses? They quickly generated some starting points, including:
- Public transit and infrastructure
- Pushing for an office of small business at the city level
- Government contracting
- Collective healthcare purchasing
As the meeting ended, the handshakes were more than a polite gesture. “There was a sense that a major movement for San Diego business had just begun,” says Main Street Alliance of San Diego Director Karim Bouris. “Members are fired up to advocate for a better San Diego that works for everyone.”
If you live in San Diego but weren’t able to make it to the September meeting, we invite you to share your own thoughts about opportunities for small business to advocate for a better San Diego. Simply get in touch with Karim at firstname.lastname@example.org