Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina wants small businesses in this country to survive and thrive.

Carly Fiorina. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Carly Fiorina. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

“You guys are the job creators of our nation,” Fiorina told a coalition of building sector associations during a recent presidential teleforum. “Our economy depends on you.”

The former technology executive was the latest candidate to take part in the teleforum series hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the Associated General Contractors of America, BIPAC, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Retail Federation. As many as 7,600 members of the coalition listened in on the call, and a handful were able to pitch questions to Fiorina during the 30-minute forum.

Fiorina said her business experience running Lucent Technologies and Hewlett-Packard are key qualifications for the Oval Office.

In politics, we’ve been talking about passing pro-business legislation for a really long time,” she said. “But we keep electing politicians who, while well intentioned, may not understand what it takes to run a business. We keep electing people who are part of the system instead of being willing to challenge the system. I’m running for president because we have to challenge the system.”

And like her fellow GOP presidential hopefuls, she wants to rein in the government regulations that she sees as discouraging people from going into business on their own.

“We actually need to really hack through the regulatory thicket,” she said. “To do that, it will take somebody with the track record to challenge the status quo. We are slowly crushing the entrepreneurial and risk-taking spirit of this nation.”

Her economic plan includes repleaing Obamacare and reforming the tax code.

“I want to take a 73,000-page tax code down to three pages,” she said. “Most accountants say they don’t even understand the tax code anymore. We have more IRS agents than CIA and FBI combined. That’s a real problem. It’s a crushing problem. My plan lowers every rate and closes every loophole.”

She also wants to shrink the size of the federal government.

“We have to work on efficiency in our small business,” she said. “The federal government is bloated. We have to be able to reduce headcount and re-allocate money and resources. In the next four years a couple hundred thousand federal workers will retire. We have to take that headcount reduction and bank it.”

Additionally, she said the government should spend money like a small business would.

“The government has to go to to zero-based budgeting,” she said. “That’s a fancy term for how you budget in your business. It means you examine every dollar.”

[Read about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s teleforum here, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s here, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s here  and Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s here]

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