What can West Texas businesses expect from a Trump presidency?
Before he was elected, it was expected Donald Trump would be good for American business, and a flurry of early action has supported that expectation.
But what does it mean for business in Lubbock and West Texas? “It’s going to be more business friendly, but to what extent remains to be seen,” said Will Griffis, McCleskey attorney.
Griffis and Bill Lane, who specialize in representing businesses, shared their insights:
Oil & Gas
Expect a stronger relationship with the oil and gas industry because Trump wants to be energy independent. A sign of that is nominating former Texas Governor Rick Perry to run the Department of Energy. Trump also signed an order reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access projects and expect drilling bans to be lifted on federal lands.
“Expect a more friendly regulatory market because oil companies want to export our oil and there are too many rules and regulations,” said Lane.
“If Saudi Arabia drops the price and floods market,” though, it could offset some of the gains, said Lane. But, Trump could counter by offering incentives, Lane added.
The Trump Administration is expected to put the brakes on the Obama Administration’s overtime changes that were expected to start Dec. 1 of last year but were put on hold by a judge’s ruling in November.
The annual salary threshold at which companies could have denied overtime pay was supposed to be doubled from $23,660 to nearly $47,746. “I think he’ll raise the minimum salary threshold,” said Griffis, “but much more gradual than had been proposed.”
Trump will take away regulations holding small business back, the attorneys said.
An example is the requirement of Obamacare if a business has more than 50 employees. “A business would cut number of employees to stay under 50, which is an incentive to not grow,” said Lane.
“Also expect the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Department of Labor to become more advisory and outreach than enforcement,” said Lane.
“This approach will be positive for small business. Small business should do well under Trump,” he added.
“He’s tired of what he sees as job-killing treaties and alliances,” said Lane, adding Trump took a train trip through Pennsylvania and was struck by how he felt the American worker was left behind in a world of TPP, NAFTA and a growing world economy.
But, Griffis said, as Trump revamps trade pacts to keep more manufacturing in America, expect higher costs because American labor is not as cheap and and costs will be pushed to the consumer. “Do Americans want cheaper products or fellow Americans to have jobs?” he said.