As temperatures continue to rise, so does the level of action on the small business front, both in our nation’s capitol and across the country. We’re pleased to announce we’ve launched a new campaign to work with small businesses to address the growing problem of unemployed youth, and we’ve identified some best practices small business owners can implement in their own businesses to help solve this problem. We’ve also committed to the Clinton Global Initiative to get 100 small business owners to sign our pledge to help create professional opportunities for young people.
On June 24, Small Business Majority staff members Jarvez Hall and Tim Gaudette joined our Small Business Council Member Lisa Goodbee on stage with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to announce Small Business Majority’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to get 100 small employers to sign a pledge vowing to create job opportunities for young people. The pledge aims to help bridge the gap between youth who are out of school and out of work and small businesses having a hard time filling entry-level positions.
On June 23, our Small Business Council Member Lisa Goodbee joined Chelsea Clinton at the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings event in Denver to discuss more ways to get young women into STEM fields. Lisa and Small Business Majority’s Tim Gaudette also joined Secretary Clinton for a roundtable event on June 2 focused on youth opportunity.
New EPA Standards Will Benefit Economy, Small Businesses
On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed first-ever rules that would limit carbon emissions from power plants. Reducing carbon emissions will help curb climate change and reduce the extreme weather events it causes, which hurt our economy and wreak havoc on small businesses’ bottom lines.
States Opting Out of Employee Choice Could Harm Small Businesses
The Department of Health and Human Services recently approved all 18 state requests to opt-out of employee choice for an additional year, which is bad news for small businesses looking to offer more comprehensive health coverage options for their employees.
Small Business Majority’s scientific opinion polling found two-thirds of small employers believe allowing employees to choose among multiple carriers is an important element of the healthcare marketplaces.
According to the new HHS regulations, in order to be granted a delay states needed to provide concrete evidence that implementing employee choice would cause adverse selection and raise prices. Small Business Majority obtained the letters of many of the requesting states, and most did not meet the minimum standards to prove their state required a delay. Read our statement about why allowing states to further delay employee choice is harmful for small businesses.
We look forward to working with the other 32 states (plus DC) offering choice this year and next year to ensure that small business owners understand that this important benefit is available in their state’s small business marketplace.
Small Business Majority Staff Updates
We’re pleased to announce several staff updates within the Small Business Majority Team.
Jarvez is heading up our new Opportunity Youth Campaign, and is continuing to oversee our outreach efforts in the Pacific Northwest from our Portland office.
Elliott Long, Policy and Development Associate:
In addition to assisting members of our leadership team, Elliott is now researching a range of policy and legislative issues, along with helping to engage new funding opportunities for the organization.
Chamber Chatter with Labor Secretary Perez
On June 18, Small Business Majority hosted Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to discuss raising the minimum wage and other topics important to small businesses during our monthly Chamber Chatter call with the White House Business Council.
Our Chamber Chatter calls take place on the third Wednesday of every month from 1:30 to 2:30 PM (EST). Click below to register for upcoming calls.
Every month is busy for our nation’s small businesses, but May was particularly significant. It’s the one month out of the year that has an entire week dedicated to honoring small businesses. And I’m happy to say, this year’s National Small Business Week was a huge success. We held a host of events, from Twitter storms to educational events and contests, to help keep small businesses up-to-date on the most important topics of the day. Read more about the week here or check out our National Small Business Week blog.
With the start of hurricane season right around the corner, we’re doubling up our efforts to ensure that small businesses are spared the impact of extreme weather. The EPA is releasing its new carbon emissions standards on June 2, and in anticipation of the release we are publishing opinion pieces, letters to the editor and more about the impact of clean energy policies on small businesses.
Graph: Small Business Support for Clean Energy Policies
We worked hard to urge Ohio lawmakers to oppose SB 310, legislation that would “freeze” Ohio’s energy efficiency standards at 2014 levels. This would be bad news for the countless small business owners who have already realized the benefit of these standards. Unfortunately for Ohio small businesses, the legislature passed the bill.
We will continue educating Ohio small businesses about opportunities in the clean energy economy.
New Guides Walk Small Employers Through Ins and Outs of Family Leave Policies
In celebration of National Small Business Week, we released several comprehensive guides focused on family medical leave policies in states across the nation, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. The guides help entrepreneurs learn more about their state’s policies or proposed family leave programs under consideration. Check out all of our workforce fact sheets here.
On May 27, CEO John Arensmeyer participated in a panel about California’s family medical leave program at the San Francisco Lead Up Event to the White House Summit on Working Families.
Delaying Employee Choice Disappointing for Small Employers
On May 16, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that postpones for one more year the Affordable Care Act requirement that employee choice be a feature of the federally run small business marketplaces. This rule, which allows states to request exemptions from the requirement to offer a full range of health insurance choices to small business owners and their employees, is incredibly disappointing for small business owners and their workers. We know from our polling that small business owners want their employees to be able to choose among multiple insurance carriers when picking a health plan.
While we are disappointed by this continued delay, we hope the Administration only grants the exemptions in rare cases and honors its commitment that this will be the last such delay, so next year, when insurance carriers in every state are determining prices for 2016, they will all factor employee choice into their calculations.
Designation of New National Monument Will Give Boost to NM Entrepreneurs
On May 21, President Obama signed a proclamation establishing Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in south-central New Mexico as a national monument. This is good news for New Mexico entrepreneurs who believe the preservation of the state’s natural assets is essential to their financial success and that of local economies.
Our opinion polling found nearly half of entrepreneurs in New Mexico do business in the state because of opportunities tied to public lands, and 4 in 5 small business owners support designating more public lands as national monuments.
Spring is in full swing, and with it a slate of exciting news on the small business front.
From enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces to federal minimum wage legislation, patent reform, energy efficiency and more, Small Business Majority has been hard at work on a plethora of critical small business issues across the nation this month. Read on to see what we’ve been up to.
The president recently announced 8 million people have signed up for coverage through the new insurance marketplaces. While open enrollment for the 2014 individual marketplace has closed, there’s still good news for small business owners looking to provide coverage to their employees. Employers with fewer than 50 employees looking for a plan for their workers can enroll in the small business marketplace year-round.
Learn more about the marketplaces on one of our free webinars or visit our Health Coverage Guide for information on the healthcare law, information on how to enroll, tips and more.
This month, Small Business Majority also sent comments to the Department of Health and Human Services urging the Administration not to confirm a rule allowing states to delay a critical requirement that SHOP marketplaces allow employees to choose among multiple insurance carriers. Adoption of this rule would not only be a major letdown for small business owners, but might have legal ramifications if the rule is adopted.
Small Biz Support Reforming Patent System to Protect Against “Patent Trolls”
On April 29, Small Business Majority scientific opinion polling both nationally and in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada and Minnesota showing small business owners agree our nation’s patent system needs to be reformed and support legislation that would strengthen it.
The national poll found that by more than a 3:1 margin, small employers support the Innovation Act—legislation that would change the rules and regulations surrounding patent infringement lawsuits to reduce frivolous lawsuits brought by patent assertion entities. Small employers also showed strong support for several reform proposals within the legislation.
On April 21, Small Business Majority released a scientific opinion poll showing 74% of NY small business owners support raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. What’s more, two-thirds of New York entrepreneurs agree cities and countries in the state should be able to set and increase their own minimum wages above the state’s wage to compensate for cost of living.
Small business owners support raising the minimum wage because they believe this would help boost customer demand at small businesses and grow the economy, and that it’s the right thing to do. In fact, nearly three-fourths of New York small business owners (72%) agree that increasing the minimum wage would not only help the economy, it would make low-income consumers more likely to spend money, driving up demand for small businesses’ goods and services.
Urge Ohio Lawmakers to Stop SB310
On April 9, Jackiethia Butsch, Ohio Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority, testified in front of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee on the impact to small business owners from SB 310—legislation that would eliminate the state’s energy efficiency standards.
Eliminating Ohio’s current energy efficiency benchmarks for electricity utilities, which SB 310 aims to do, would be bad news for the countless small business owners across Ohio who have already realized the benefit of these standards. Small Business Majority’s scientific opinion polling found the majority of Ohio small business owners agree the state’s current clean energy standards help them by reducing utility costs, spurring innovation and creating business opportunities.
If you agree Ohio lawmakers should keep these standards in place, sign our letter.
New SBA Administrator is Sweet News for Small Businesses
On April 7, Vice President Biden swore in Maria Contreras-Sweet as administrator of the Small Business Administration.
We look forward to working with Administrator Contreras-Sweet as she takes the SBA’s reins.
Family Medical Leave Legislation Impacts Small Firms
On April 11, Colorado Outreach Manager Tim Gaudette joined the Department of Labor at its regional Working Families panel in Denver to discuss the impact of family medical leave policies on small businesses. Small Business Majority Network Council Member Lisa Goodbee also testified on April 28 to the importance of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act in Colorado.