- October 30, 2020
Election cycles, particularly presidential election cycles, are inescapable.
That’s particularly true in this era of hyper-partisanship, in which the American electorate has never been more divided. But hidden within the thicket of campaign fliers in your mailbox, or the steady rotation of TV spots invading your evening respite, are actual issues and policy implications that will impact the way you work and how you grow your business.
To learn more about some of these issues, we put the question to top executives and business owners across St. Louis. Understandably, many of the people we contacted opted to stay out of the fray. Politics, even when focused on core issues, can be a sticky wicket.
Here’s a sampling of some of the responses we received, some of which have been edited to fit the available space.
WE ASKED: What state/local election issues may have an impact on your business?
“We will be watching closely the race for Missouri attorney general, which as lawyers we always do, but perhaps a little more closely this year, since each of the two major party candidates has turned to one of our St. Louis Husch Blackwell partners to serve as their campaign treasurer – Christina Moore for Rich Finneran, and Jim Monafo for Eric Schmitt.”
— Bob Tomaso, St. Louis office managing partner, Husch Blackwell
“Dramatic curtailments to U.S. immigration programs is a critical issue that has been receiving very little attention, except in the context of border security as well as legal status for Dreamers and other undocumented. Most of us simply do not understand the complexities of how immigration boosts the U.S. economy, supports our foreign policy, and helps to ensure that our nation continually reinvigorates itself to be the best we can possibly be. … The two presidential candidates have sharply opposing views on immigration. So whether the next generation of business development and innovation occurs on American soil or not could well hinge on the upcoming election results.”
— Anna Crosslin, president and CEO, International Institute of St. Louis
“It goes without saying that it is impossible to predict the future. But thinking about the specific implications of each outcome for the fintech and financial services industries, I would expect decreased resources for regulatory functions, as well as a continued push by the GOP Senate to undo more regulations in a second term for President Trump. A mixed Congress would (obviously) make large-scale stimulus less likely. With a Biden presidency, I would wager that we’ll see significantly more antitrust examinations of tech companies perceived to be monopolies, and depending on who controls the Senate, either continued status quo (with a GOP majority) or a significantly stronger push on small and midsize business economic development, as well as more corporate and consumer stimulus.”
— Sultan Meghji, co-founder and CEO, Neocova, a St. Louis-based startup developing software used by banks and credit unions
“Mental health will always be a crucial public health issue. One in five adults experience a mental health disorder, and sadly, those numbers will likely increase due to the many stressors from the pandemic. Unfortunately, among the big concerns behavioral health care providers currently face is a mental health workforce shortage. … President Donald Trump indicates he will increase funding by nearly 25 percent (a low percentage) for behavioral health workforce development programs, and former Vice President Joe Biden states he will double the number of psychologists, guidance counselors, and other mental health professionals in schools. He also says he would “redouble” efforts to enforce existing mental health parity laws and expand funding for mental health. “
— Pat Coleman, president and CEO, Behaviorlal Health Response
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE
“I’m closely watching what Congress does with regard to the next round of COVID relief. The association and I have been pushing for more rental and mortgage assistance to avoid a looming eviction crisis and are also supportive of more PPP money and making the program as user friendly as possible. The St. Louis County administration has been working on streamlining the permitting process and trying to take it online, which I’m very supportive of, as it helps our industry, economic development, and improves customer service. I’m closely watching the County Executive race to see if those efforts will continue. St. Louis Realtors and I are also supportive of the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA), which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in Missouri for employment, housing, and public accommodations.”
— Matt Muren, president-elect of the St. Louis Realtors trade group, broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties in Town & Country
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
Raj Tut, founder and principal of O’Fallon, Illinois-based developer Gateway Multifamily, offered thoughts on three distinct topics:
1031 Exchanges: “I have read that the Biden tax plan would drastically limit 1031 exchanges. I think having the ability to perform like-kind exchanges, while deferring capital gains taxes, is a vital part of our industry. With further limitations on 1031 exchanges there will be a massive decrease in the number of deals that trade. Ultimately, that would impact many aspects of the industry. For us, that would mean fewer opportunities to acquire deals and fewer investors interested in real estate as an investment.
Federal Stimulus: “Collections have slowed down the last few months, and I think people are in need of another round of federal stimulus. Regardless of who gets elected, I am hoping this gets passed after the election.”
Immigration: “This is probably more of a personal matter, rather than one related to our company, but I haven’t seen much talk about immigration. I think this should be a higher priority. I think the U.S. should make it easier for high-quality young people to enter the country and ultimately become citizens. Perhaps enacting an immigration strategy similar to Canada where they are using immigration to boost the economy and help spur population growth in areas where populations may have otherwise been declining.”
— Raj Tut, founder and principal of Gateway Multifamily
Located at: Seattle
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