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Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 3, 201805:30 AM EST

Cawton Report: SBA administrator says tax cuts will boost wages, hiring

Linda McMahon visits Jacksonville on tour of regional offices.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a member of President Trump’s Cabinet, began a four-state bus tour across the South on Tuesday in Jacksonville.

McMahon, co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., spent time at Sunshine Peanut Co. in Northwest Jacksonville after speaking to SBA members at the local regional office.

“It’s incredibly important to come out and meet with small businesses, have small business roundtables and to tour their businesses to see what they do,” McMahon said.

According to the SBA website, the agency’s mission is to “maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters”.

Since becoming the country’s 25th SBA administrator, McMahon has visited 36 states and made stops at 41 regional offices.

“I’ve been traveling all over the country since this time last year,” she said. “I promised I would visit all 68 regional offices during my first term.”

McMahon touched on several topics during her visit, including the Tax Cuts and Job Act that Trump signed into law in December.

The bill, among other things, lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It also doubles the standard deduction to 20 percent for pass-through businesses, like sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and S corporations.

“They have more money to invest in their employees, they can provide more benefits, they can raise wages, they can give bonuses, and hire more employees,” she said of local entrepreneurs.

She said the standard deduction for pass-through companies is particularly significant.

McMahon said Jacksonville is a great place to live and start a small business and that the sheer size of the city gives entrepreneurs and investors “a lot of opportunity.”

One of the companies Jacksonville recently courted is Inc. to establish its second North American headquarters in Downtown.

The online retailer is expected to select either Boston or Washington, D.C., for the site after more than 250 municipalities solicited the Seattle-based company to choose their cities.

Jacksonville, like most others, missed the cut.

Part of the city’s bid included donating riverfront property and other unidentified financial incentives.

McMahon said incentives for companies like Amazon, which is promising a $5 billion investment into the community it selects, is up to local and state officials.

“Clearly, tax incentives are done to get companies to come in because it’s going to be of a great benefit to the area,” she said.

McMahon said local officials should balance the positive and negative impacts of incentives for big businesses, since those companies influence small business growth.

“Anytime big businesses come in, small businesses grow up around them,” she said. “Either being part of the supply chain or being part of the service chain for the employees who work there.”

McMahon’s tour runs through May 5 and takes her to cities in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina where she’ll give the commencement speech to her alma mater, East Carolina University.

She said speaking with local entrepreneurs helps when it comes to recommending policy to the administration.

McMahon said despite reports of chaos in the White House, she has the utmost confidence in the president.

“I think he’s bold and I think he’s a disruptor,” she said.

McMahan and her husband, Vince McMahon, have had a personal and business relationship with Trump for decades, she said.

“I think he thinks outside the box and he’s often, I think, not given enough credit for what an incredibly smart man he is.”

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