With Election Day just one week away (on November 6), we have many candidates and many issues to consider. Stacy Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance created a helpful guide for determining which candidates support independent and local businesses. Take a look, and consider asking your local and federal candidates if they are in favor of these issues:
1. Restructuring the Banking System
"Congressional candidates should support the SAFE Banking Act, which would cap the size of banks and force the largest banks to be split up." Surveys show that nearly half of independent and small businesses are not getting the financing they need, as a majority of small business lending is provided by small and mid-sized banks (even though the largest 18 banks control 60% of total bank assets).
Local candidates should support depositing public funds with local banks. The City of Phoenix recently took steps to invest up to $50 million in public funds with local banks and credit unions. Local candidates should also favor "creating a public partnership bank similar to the Bank of North Dakota, which has expanded the lending capacity of local banks and thereby made credit more available for local businesses." Bills similar to this have come before the Arizona Legislature, but have not become law.
2. Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes
Congressional candidates should support the "CUT Loopholes Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Carl Levin that would sharply curtail the use of offshore tax havens and mandate that large companies pay their fair share." Currently, local businesses are not able to take advantage of the current loopholes, thereby leaving them at a disadvantage.
Local candidates should favor adopting combined reporting. "This tax rule prevents companies from hiding in-state profits by transferring them to out-of-state subsidiaries." Arizona has already adopted this rule for reporting.
3. Extending Sales Taxes to Large Internet Retailers
Congressional candidates should support the Marketplace Fairness Act (or Marketplace Equity Act). This legislation would create a level playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers by allowing the states to require large online retailers to collect sales tax.
Local Candidates should support enacting state laws that would require large online retailers to collect and remit sales tax. Bills that would accomplish this have come before the Arizona Legislature, but have not become law. Although it was recently reported that the State of Arizona and Amazon have come to an agreement that would require Amazon to begin collecting sales tax early next year.
4. Getting Corporate Money Out of Politics
Congressional candidates should support the DISCLOSE Act and a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. As Mitchell puts it: "State and federal policies will continue to favor big corporations at the expense of independent businesses so long as corporate money continues to steer the political process."
Local candidates should favor a public financing matching system and a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Arizona currently has a public campaign finance system (The Arizona Clean Elections Commission), but it does not have a matching funds component.
5. Capping Credit Card Swipe Fees
Congressional candidates should support "capping credit card swipe fees and strengthening the Durbin rules on debit card fees," as "many independent retailers pay more in credit card fees than they earn in profits," adding up to $50 billion a year.
6. Increasing the Small Business Share of Government Purchasing
Congressional candidates should support "more aggressive incentives for federal agencies to meet the small business procurement goal." The federal government has failed to meet its goal of giving 23 of its contracts to small business, as last year only 21.7% of contracts were awarded to small business.
Local candidates should favor adopting a local business purchasing preference. In March of this year, the City of Phoenix voted to adopt such a policy. A bill to require a similar policy at the state level has appeared before the Arizona Legislature, but has not become law.
So there you have it. Make sure you do your research, and cast your vote for candidates that are committed to supporting Arizona's local and independent businesses! Remember that Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, and you can consult your local County Recorder's office to find your polling location.