Obama Hosts Cyber Town Hall

And a final question: As a veteran, would you please see if we can enforce the existing laws for veteran and other small-business set-asides? Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. Well, thank you for the question. Obviously, I’m not completely familiar with your circumstances or your tax status. But we want to do everything we can to relieve the tax burden on startups and small businesses, and as they grow, then their tax burden is going to grow accordingly.

So one of the things that we have already proposed and is reflected in our budget is that we are eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses. That’s something that we’ve already proposed and put in place.

Now, what’ll happen is, you won’t see that reflected in an immediate benefit because it will kick in five years from now. The law starts now, but you have to have those capital gains accumulate over the course of five years before it counts, because we don’t want people gaming the system. But that’s an example of the kinds of tools that we are already putting in place in the tax code to provide you relief, so that as you’re reinvesting, that you are not penalized for that reinvestment.

And we will do everything we can to enforce the existing rules with regard to small businesses for veterans.

Okay, this young lady back here.

Q Hi, Mr. President. Thank you so very much for having me, a public school teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, here to be with you.

THE PRESIDENT: What’s your name?

Q Bonnee Breese.

THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you, Bonnee.

Q Thank you. I’m from Overbrook High School. I have to say that, because I know all the children are watching. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: All right. Hello, Overbrook. (Laughter and applause.) There you go.

Q Thank you. Two questions in reference of education, since this is a major part of your budget plan and platform. Definitions of charter schools and definitions of effective teachers — how do you plan to define those two categories? And are you willing to have teachers on the platform, in the committees, as a part of developing those plans?

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. Well, as I said, the teachers are the most important person in the education system. So if we don’t have teacher buy-in, if they’re not enthusiastic about the reforms that we’re initiating, then, ultimately, they’re not going to work. So we’ve got to have teacher participation in developing these approaches.

The definition of charter schools is pretty straightforward. And that is that in most states you now have a mechanism where you set up a public school — so this is not private schools, these are public schools receiving public dollars — but they have a charter that allows them to experiment and try new things. And typically, they’re partnering up with some sort of non-for-profit institution.

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