Sunday, June 22, 2003

John Kerry's Affordable Small Business Stimulus and Simplification Act of 2003.

This interesting new bill that Kerry has proposed just recently to the Senate would aim to help Small Businesses. As a Small Business owner, actually a home-based business, which is mentioned and supported by this act, I am happy to see that Kerry is once again in there fighting for the true cornerstone of America, the Small Business.

Another proposal by Senator Kerry is the Affordable Small Business Stimulus and Simplification Act of 2003 (S. 842). This is a nine-pronged plan offered by Kerry as a small business specific tax relief program that, he hopes, would help to stimulate the small business sector of the economy and it has some provisions that are much more microbusiness friendly than one usually sees emerging from either chamber of Congress.

One proposal is the creation of a $500 standard deduction for sole proprietorships. Under this plan, a sole proprietorship with more than $500 in expenses would still be permitted to itemize those deductions. However, for newer businesses, for many home-based businesses, and for those microbusinesses operated on a part-time basis, this provision would be a tremendous simplification of their annual tax chores and provide significant paperwork relief.

Among the other provisions in this bill is a clarification of the 100% deductibility of health insurance premiums for the self-employed. Current law disallows this deduction if the individual is eligible to participate in another plan; this provision corrects the tax law so that the self- employed person is only ineligible for the deduction if they are actually participating in another plan.

The bill would also allow married couples who co-own a business to be considered a sole proprietorship, rather than being required to file taxes as a partnership - with all the paperwork headaches that filing status entails. And it would speed up depreciation of computer equipment and peripherals from five years to three, and of software from three years to two.

According to his floor statement, Senator Kerry does not seem to think this proposal in its entirety will be acceptable to his colleagues from the other side of the aisle. However, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, he is in a position to work to secure at least some of these small business goodies. It will be interesting to see whether the legislators manage to at least salvage those parts of the proposal that will impact microbusinesses specifically or whether, as political bargaining chips, those very small businesses will fall by the wayside.

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Currently the Chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Senator Kerry has been hailed as the Senate's leader on initiatives that assist women owned businesses -- beginning with the Boston Center for Women and Enterprise, a national model championed by Senator Kerry.


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