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American Presidential Candidates Are Failing Small Businesses: An Open Letter from the CEO of TriNet

February 18, 2016

The following letter from TriNet CEO Burton M. Goldfield is in response to the TriNet 2016 Presidential Election Survey

Dear 2016 Presidential Candidates:

As the CEO of TriNet, I work to provide HR services for more than 12,000 U.S. small businesses and their 314,000 employees every day. I see firsthand the struggles these aspirational companies go through as they try to grow their businesses while navigating an increasingly volatile regulatory landscape. What’s even more challenging is that when they flourish, they face a heightened impact of ever-changing regulatory issues.

Whether it’s differing tax or labor laws at the federal, state and local levels, or the states’ varying degrees of Affordable Care Act implementation, there is a plethora of employment law with which they have to comply. What you perceive to be a minor tax change at the federal, state or local level may impact a small business to the tune of $20,000. This can put them out of business. Large companies can more easily absorb these unanticipated costs. These complexities skew the focus of small businesses away from successfully executing their business plans.

Why should you care?

According to our 2016 Presidential Election Survey, most owners of small businesses (78 percent) are more likely to vote based on expected direct positive impact on their business rather than on political affiliation. Yet, when we asked an independent firm to survey 1,000 small business owners, nearly 90 percent believe that you, our nation’s 2016 presidential candidates, don’t have their interests at heart.

What America’s small businesses want from you

I ask you to show that you care for American businesses and their employees by addressing these top issues now. Show us you’re a candidate committed to an environment where America’s emerging companies can thrive and you might win the vote of America’s small businesses.

Here are the actions small business owners want from their next president:

  • Understand small businesses Forty-two percent of small business owners say that you don’t understand how corporate tax rules can impact small business and 46 percent think you don’t understand the impact of minimum wage changes on their business.
  • Address the issues that matter most Ninety-one percent want better government resources ensuring access to capital. Small business owners also want you to do something about the impact the Affordable Care Act has on their business. In fact, 55 percent of small business owners stress that the ACA hurts their business, rather than helps, and 81 percent want more government help in staying compliant with ACA regulations.
  • Stabilize regulatory environments Seventy percent of small business owners confirm that ever-changing government regulations hinder growth of their businesses, while 73 percent argue it would be easier to increase their revenues by 5 percent than to stay fully compliant with government regulations.

Enough is enough

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and deserve your support. These organizations make up 99.7 percent of all employers nationally and 95 percent of them regularly vote in national contests. Small businesses are listening closely to you. Will you listen to them?

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

By Burton M. Goldfield

Burton M. Goldfield is President and CEO of TriNet

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