We celebrate an unbelievably successful 2012, one that many of you have helped us make possible. And, we look forward to an exciting new year with many challenges and opportunities ahead for America’s small businesses.
This year we began intensive work in new issue areas, particularly tax and budget policy, while redoubling our efforts in healthcare, clean energy, access to capital and workforce development. We opened fully-staffed offices in four new states, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia, and expanded the work of our California and New York operations. We also launched our growing strategic partnership program for business organizations across the country, and we formally established our national Small Business Network Council, highlighted by two days of meetings with policymakers in Washington, DC in September.
Our extensive research continued with the release of 26 scientific polls and three economic studies. We partnered with business organizations to conduct hundreds of seminars and webinars with small business owners across the country; and we generated a staggering 2,500 media placements in national and state (and international) publications.
And, finally, many thanks to our unbelievably dedicated, hardworking team across the country (now 18 strong and growing.)
Listed below is a quick recap of some of our biggest moments of 2012.
Thank you all for your support, collaboration and friendship. Our very best wishes to you for the Holidays and the New Year.
TAXES & BUDGET
From December 18-20, Small Business Majority held nine tele-press conferences where small business owners across the nation joined senators and representatives to discuss how fiscal cliff uncertainty is impacting their businesses and the middle class.
We released two sets of national small business polling on October 25 and November 14 that found the majority of small business owners believe tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent should expire in light of our budget crisis, and 78% are worried about the fiscal cliff. John Arensmeyer presented the results at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ annual Fiscal Policy Conference.
Small business owners in our network, including Network Council member Lisa Goodbee of Centennial, Colo., visited Washington, D.C. in November as two of 15 entrepreneurs selected to meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden to discuss what a balanced solution to our nation’s fiscal dilemma might look like for small business.
Small Business Majority recommends a balanced approach to taxes and spending that is capable of driving our long-term goal of creating jobs while beginning to address our national debt in a responsible manner. Our tax and budget policy recommendations can be found here.
Several days prior to the June 28 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, we released national opinion polling that found 50% of small business owners wanted the law upheld with minor or no changes, and only one-third wanted it overturned. Entrepreneurs polled showed resounding support for many of the law’s key provisions, particularly state SHOP exchanges.
To mark the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law on March 22, 2010, we held a series of press conferences where small business owners and representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Health and Human Services discussed the importance of reform for small business.
Over the course of 2012, John Arensmeyer was regularly featured on MSNBC’s Your Business, Bloomberg TV, various NPR affiliate stations and other television and radio programs, as an expert on the benefits of healthcare reform for small employers and the self-employed.
We conducted extensive healthcare outreach in 20 states, holding statewide listening tours, in-person seminars and online webinars to help educate small employers about reform. Many of you have been instrumental in the success of these events.
Our extensive work to help shape California’s SHOP exchange continues pushing forward. We attended numerous meetings of the state Exchange Board in 2012 to present our policy recommendations and give the small employer perspective on exchanges. We also stepped up our assistance to exchanges in New York, Colorado, Nevada and Maryland.
Read our policy recommendations on some of the remaining legislative aspects of healthcare reform, and check back frequently for updates on our progress as we continue to help with implementation and education efforts at state and national levels.
Over the summer, we released polling in six states revealing small business owners’ attitudes toward clean energy. Polling showed overwhelming support for government investment in clean energy, along with widespread support for the 54.5 mpg standard finalized this summer, which we’ve long advocated for.
We released polling in four Western states revealing small businesses in those states want to see protections for public lands as lawmakers continue developing a balanced energy strategy. Our Denver television ad highlights local small business support.
We launched a nationwide Discover & Prosper energy series to help educate small firms about local energy efficiency programs designed to help them save money on their energy bills. The series is set to continue well into 2013, with webinars in many more states.
JOB CREATION & ACCESS TO CAPITAL
We released national opinion polling of micro-business owners, those with 10 or fewer employees, that found these entrepreneurs are very optimistic about the future of their businesses and plan to hire soon, however, they often face barriers when trying to access capital they need to grow. A bipartisan bill stalled in Congress would help them get it.
Small business owners from our Network Council traveled to D.C. for a roundtable on accessing capital, at which they shared their businesses’ experiences with the lending landscape, and John unveiled a joint economic report on this issue.
OUR GROWING NETWORK COUNCIL & STRATEGIC PARNERSHIP PROGRAM
In September, we brought 14 entrepreneurs from across the nation to Capitol Hill and the White House to meet with lawmakers and elected officials including Senator Mary Landrieu, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chairwoman, Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to discuss the most pressing issues facing their business.
We launched our strategic partnership program, made up of organizations around the country that educate small business owners in various states about legislation being debated on state and national levels that would affect them. Our strategic partners are essential to helping us offer small business owners resources and educate them about important issues affecting their companies.