A Federal Budget That's Right for You?

Often cloaked in oh-so-promising titles, a number of preliminary budget proposals now confront the denizens of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and of Capitol Hill.

There's from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan; the from Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats; as last year's proposal from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is called. And, of course, there's this week's , which doesn't yet have a fancy name.

But how would each of these affect large and small businesses? For many companies, the most significant and direct impacts concern two issues:

* Potential changes to the tax code and rates.

* The influence of the government's borrowing habits on the private sector's cost of capital.

Taxes are the top priority for most members of the National Association of Manufacturers, says Dorothy Coleman, vice president of tax and domestic policy. About a year ago, the organization laid out its strategy for boosting jobs and competitiveness, identifying four goals that are key to making that happen: a corporate tax rate of no more than 25%; a permanently strengthened R&D tax credit; a territorial, rather than a worldwide system for taxing profits earned outside the U.S.; and a permanently lowered rate for individual tax payers. (The stated U.S. corporate rate is now 35%, and .)