What businesses can expect with new Congress
NEW YORK — The shift in power in Congress may give small businesses help with taxes and regulations, but there's little expectation that sweeping changes are in store.
But the approaching 2016 presidential election might motivate lawmakers to come up with legislation Democrats and Republicans can agree on, says Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association.
Party differences dim chances for a big federal income tax overhaul, says Dan Danner, president of the National Federation of Independent Business. That would keep many individual business owners in a higher tax bracket than many corporations have.
But there could be support for a permanent extension of a deduction that allows small businesses to deduct up-front rather than depreciate costs of some equipment.
Republicans aren't expected to try to repeal the health care law, but they are likely to try to change parts of the law small businesses oppose, NSBA's McCracken says.
Some owners oppose a portion of the law that declares employees who work 30 or more hours a week full-time. Those workers must be offered affordable coverage if a business will have 100 or more employees in 2015. There's a good chance Republicans will try to ease that requirement, Danner says.
Republicans have opposed Obama's calls for the federal hourly minimum wage to be raised to $10.10 from $7.25. But voters in five states cast ballots in favor of a higher minimum, including usually conservative Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The success of those referendums and legislative votes this year to raise the minimum in 10 other states may encourage Republicans to support a higher federal minimum, says Holly Sklar, director of the advocacy group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.