WASHINGTON-``Flat tax'' reforms of the Internal Revenue Service, reduction or repeal of capital gains and inheritance taxes, and regulatory reform were among the promises made to small business owners by Republican presidential candidates at the National Federation of Independent Business ``Campaign '96'' seminar in Washington Oct. 22-24. Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kan.), Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), political columnist Patrick Buchanan and Forbes Magazine Publisher Steve Forbes were among the candidates who pledged to uphold the small business political agenda if elected.
When asked if he would oppose all new government mandates on small business, Mr. Gramm said, ``I will, so help me God.'' The first thing he will do for small business and the rest of America, he added, is balance the budget.
``Recent studies show that babies born today will each pay $187,000 in income tax over their lifetimes just to pay the interest on the national debt,'' he said. ``That is not only economic suicide, it is immoral. . . .''
Mr. Forbes said he will strive to reduce government mandates on business. ``Like you, I know what it's like to have to meet a payroll every week,'' he said. ``It's interesting how Democrats and even moderate Republicans say we can't afford to cut taxes. I say we can't afford not to cut taxes.''
Mr. Buchanan, praising the efforts of small business to expand the U.S. economy, also lambasted large multinational corporations. ``They (big businessmen) are the people exporting American industry and American jobs and downsizing as fast as they can,'' he said. ``At the same time, small business has been creating jobs.
``Thirty years ago, Fortune 500 companies employed 21 percent of American labor. Now it's 10 percent, he said.
While all four candidates promised a variation on the flat tax, Mr. Dole said Americans at the very least will want to keep their present home mortgage and charitable contribution deductions. But a middle-class tax cut, he added, is inevitable with the GOP in charge.