A Look Forward to Future Startup Legislation — How Obama and Romney Plan to Help Startups

The New York Tech Meetup recently published an open letter to the Obama and Romney campaigns, asking each candidate to explain their positions on helping startups. Both candidates responded with an outline of their platforms they claim will help encourage startup and small business growth.

President Obama

President Obama began by pointing out the initiatives his administration had taken to improve conditions for high-growth startups. The Obama Administration created the position of Chief Technology Officer to facilitate open government data initiatives. The President also founded the “Presidential Innovation Fellows” program, which partners entrepreneurs with government innovators with the stated purpose of “improv[ing] the lives of the American people, sav[ing] taxpayer dollars, and fuel[ing] job creation across the country”. The President signed into law the JOBS Act, which is designed to unlock equity crowdfunding for startups and provide IPO “on-ramps” for high growth-companies. The President also signed into law the America Invents Act, a patent reform law that the President claims will help “entrepreneurs bring inventions to market sooner”. The President concludes by stating his intention to implement the startup visa program that will allow foreign entrepreneurs to start companies here in the U.S., and an intention to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers and train 2 million workers for jobs in “healthcare, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology”.

Governor Romney

Governor Romney’s platform for startups and small businesses is broken down into several sub-issues. First, Governor Romney proposes to improve the labor force. His plans include obtaining and keeping skilled foreign workers by raising visa caps for highly skilled foreign workers and offering permanent residency to foreign students graduating with advanced degrees in certain fields from U.S. institutions. Governor Romney also proposes to improve K-12 education by investing federal funds in initiatives that promote parental choice, innovation, and successful results for teachers. Governor Romney also intends to make higher education more affordable, as well as include private sector participation in job retraining programs.

Second, Governor Romney advocates lowering the corporate tax rate to 25%, making the R&D tax credit permanent, keeping tax rates on investment low, cutting individual income taxes, and transitioning to a territorial tax system. Governor Romney proposes requiring all new major regulations issued by government agencies to be approved by Congress, while also imposing a cap that prevents new regulatory costs. Governor Romney also proposes creating a “Reagan Economic Zone” [sic] of nations “committed to the principles of free enterprise”, while also vowing to bring pressure on nations that have issues of violations of U.S. intellectual property.

Finally, Governor Romney vows to end the Obama Administration’s policy of subsidizing private high-tech small businesses — “play[ing] the role of venture capitalist”, as the Governor puts it — and instead shifting those federal funds into research programs instead.

Read the full text of each candidate’s response here: http://nytm.org/blog/entry/12-09-2012/letters-to-the-nytm-community-from-president-obama-and-governor-romney