World / Politics

Clinton wraps up Iowa swing with pledge to help small businesses, ease their tax headaches

Reuters

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton promised on Wednesday to help small businesses, saying U.S. tax rules were skewed in favor of big corporations and made it time-consuming and costly for small employers to navigate the tax code.

On the second day of her campaign rollout in Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest in early 2016, Clinton told small business owners she wanted to make it easier for them to get loans and cut through regulatory red tape.

“I want my campaign to figure out how we’re going to jump-start small businesses,” she said at a roundtable with small business owners held at a family-owned fruit distributor in Norwalk, Iowa, just outside Des Moines.

The complex U.S. tax code is often more easily exploited by large multinational corporations, which can take advantage of tax loopholes and find the best tax lawyers and accountants to find them.

“How do we level that playing field?” Clinton asked, offering no specifics but promising her campaign would be rolling out “a package of recommendations.”

Clinton said she was struck by a World Bank survey that found the United States ranked 46th in the world in the ease in which small businesses can be started.

“We need to be, we have to be, number one again,” she said, adding the United States was “really missing out on economic opportunities” by not passing comprehensive immigration reform.

“We are turning down people who really want to work,” she said.

Clinton, who entered the Democratic race on Sunday, is the commanding Democratic front-runner in the 2016 race and the only declared candidate for the party’s nomination. The Norwalk stop concluded her two-day visit to Iowa.

When one of the roundtable participants said his company was struggling to afford a health insurance plan for employees, Clinton said she was committed to building on President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law.

Clinton said allowing the free-market sale of health insurance across state lines should be examined to see if it would reduce costs.