May 2011

IN THIS ISSUE

Healthcare tax credits—it’s not too late
Exchanges: the most important part of reform for small businesses
House of Representatives steps up attacks on healthcare law
The debt ceiling—a big issue for small business
SBIR reauthorization held up in Senate
Attacks on Clean Air Act continue

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VIDEOS

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Got a cool video you think other small business owners should check out? Send it our way and we’ll post it on our new video page! We’re always looking for well-informed videos about the issues small business owners care about most. To submit your video, send it to info@smallbusinessmajority.org and make sure to view all the clips we’ve already got in our video library.

PEOPLE, PLACES & EVENTS

5/24: California Outreach Director David Chase spoke to a group of small business owners and employees in Los Angeles about Small Business Majority’s policy priorities for the small business SHOP exchange. Nonprofit organization One LA IAF sponsored the meeting.
5/18: Outreach Manager Jessica Stone attended the Virginia Hispanic Women in Business luncheon to spread the word on healthcare reform’s benefits to area small businesses.
5/11: California Outreach Director David Chase attended the State Health Insurance Exchange Board meeting and offered the small business perspective on what the exchange will need to include to lower costs and expand coverage for small businesses and their employees.
5/10: Terry Gardiner, Vice President of Policy & Strategy, joined Jessica Stone for a National Association of Women Business Owners meeting in Richmond, VA to discuss how women entrepreneurs can take advantage of the new law.
5/5: CEO John Arensmeyer presented Small Business Majority’s activities, capabilities and key issues of focus to the annual Washington, DC Summit of the Progressive Business Leaders Network. The Summit included meetings with senators, members of Congress and top administration officials.
4/28: California Outreach Director David Chase spoke to the Southern California Minority Business Development Council on the aspects of the Affordable Care Act that are most important to small businesses, such as the creation of state health insurance exchanges, tax credits and cost containment measures. To find out more about upcoming events and webinars, click here.

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FEATURED NEWS

Some small businesses confused about health care tax credit
Billings Gazette
5/24/2011
The Debt Ceiling: A Big Issue for Small Business
The Huffington Post
5/20/2011
Too Many Small Businesses Still Overlook Health-Care Tax Credits
AllBusiness.com
5/3/2011
Key business group tells GOP to stand up to Tea Party on health care exchanges
Denver Post
4/28/2011
NY must act quickly, wisely in designing a health marketplace
Crain’s New York Business
4/24/2011
Debate continues on impact of health care act
Northern Colorado Business Report
4/21/2011

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Letter from John Arensmeyer

We’re continuing our work across the country to educate small businesses about the Affordable Care Act, clear up confusion and answer entrepreneurs’ questions about how it will impact their bottom line. We’ve held numerous meetings, webinars and conferences to inform small businesses and policymakers about the law. During our outreach we’ve found that a number of provisions in the new law, such as the small business tax credits and health insurance exchanges, are popular but still not well understood. It’s our goal to help small businesses understand what these and other parts of the law mean to them.

Despite our efforts to smoothly implement the new law, some states aren’t moving as quickly as they could to get small businesses relief from high healthcare costs. A number of states haven’t begun creating state health insurance exchanges—marketplaces the new law requires be up and running in every state by 2014, which will lower costs by allowing small businesses to pool their buying power when negotiating for insurance. We’ve been working closely with partners in various states to encourage policymakers to keep small businesses in mind and pass strong exchange legislation as soon as possible that will give small business owners the most bang for their buck.

While implementation of the healthcare law remains a key focus of ours, we’ve been keeping a close eye on other important issues as well, including small businesses’ need for the continued growth of our clean energy economy and the debate over the debt limit. Check out my new blog on the Huffington Post to see how the debt ceiling, and the debate over whether to raise it, impacts small businesses. And as always, get updates on all of our work at www.smallbusinessmajority.org.

 

HEALTHCARE

Healthcare tax credits—it’s not too late

Tax filing season is over, but our outreach to small business owners, advocates and tax professionals on tax credits isn’t. Even if entrepreneurs have already filed their taxes but didn’t realize they were eligible for a credit, they can still amend their returns to claim the credit. The same remains true for those filing an extension. Simply fill out an amended return, Form 1040x, and attach the Form 8941 to complete the process. For more information, contact your local IRS office.

So entrepreneurs don’t leave that money on the table, we’ve held a series of webinars to educate and remind the small business community on the specifics of the tax credits and other key provisions of the law. Learn about how New York small business owner Matt Grove, owner of Bagel Grove in Utica, saved big this year thanks to the credits.

We’re also working with AARP, Maryland Health Care for All! and Maryland elected officials to get the word out on the tax credits to local small business owners. Small Business Majority’s Outreach Manager Jessica Stone attended a press conference today publicizing an ad campaign helping to educate the state’s small business owners about this major component of reform.

Exchanges: the most important part of reform for small businesses

The Affordable Care Act requires each state to have a health insurance exchange up and running by January 1, 2014.  The exchange is an online marketplace where small businesses and individuals will be able to pool their buying power to have the kind of negotiating power big businesses currently have when shopping for insurance. It’s critical that states pass exchange legislation now so they have enough time to manage the complex nuts and bolts that an exchange requires. We’ve been heavily engaged in the states, urging lawmakers to enact bills as soon as possible. Some states have made progress and others haven’t. Click here to see how your state is faring.

 

California ahead of the game—exchange board holds inaugural meetings

California, which has been a leader on healthcare reform from the get-go, continued its proactive approach and held its first health insurance exchange meeting on April 20, with follow up confabs this month. Board members heard from stakeholders and health policy experts about the must have components an exchange needs, including employee choice and a business-friendly customer service function. California Outreach Director David Chase attended some of the meetings and provided the small business perspective on how best to set up the small employer (SHOP) exchange. For more details on what took place at these meetings, check out our blog.

 

Urging New York to follow California’s lead

New York Special Projects Director Ben Geyerhahn testified before the New York State Insurance Department on May 18 on the need for the state to create a strong health insurance exchange, and outlined specific details on what an exchange should include in order for it to lower costs and expand choice for small business owners and their employees. Click here to read his remarks.

 

NEWS FROM THE HILL

House of Representatives steps up attacks on healthcare law

The House has held a series of partisan votes and hearings in an attempt to defund healthcare reform. We sent letters to representatives letting them know the small business community opposes any bill that threatens the future of healthcare reform, and we’ve provided oral and written testimony offering the small business perspective on the need for healthcare reform and its benefits to America’s 28 small businesses. Learn more here.

The debt ceiling—a big issue for small business

The United States reached its debt limit last week. The Treasury Department took measures to extend the deadline that Congress has to vote to raise the ceiling or allow the country to default on its debt to August 2. However, this is only a temporary fix. If Congress doesn’t vote to raise the limit, the economic consequences will be dire. Although much of the debate has focused on big businesses, small businesses have a lot at stake, too. We’ve weighed in to inform lawmakers of the consequences a default would have on the small business community and economy as a whole. Click here to learn more about how this issue is affecting one small business in particular, a hobby store in Laurel, MD.

SBIR reauthorization held up in Senate

On May 4, some members of the Senate put politics over good public policy and blocked the long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program—the latest in a series of political games some lawmakers are playing that ultimately deny small businesses the tools they need to innovate, grow and create jobs. The SBIR program, supported in the past by both parties and whose reauthorization is endorsed by all major business organizations, makes critical investments in America’s small businesses. Taxpayers get a great return on those investments through job growth and economic expansion. Studies show the program has been responsible for 25% of all innovations in the last decade, and it has ushered in more than 50,000 patents, an average of seven a day, since its creation. Learn more here.

Despite this defeat, Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced legislation to file a one-year extension of this vital program. The bill passed the Senate on May 19 by unanimous consent and now heads to the House for consideration.

Attacks on Clean Air Act continue

Opponents of the Clean Air Act have made repeated attempts to gut the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to enforce the law—the benefits of which have far exceeded the costs imposed on businesses. Some senators are using the fragile economy as an excuse for a ‘yes’ vote on legislation attacking the Clean Air Act, but we helped set the record straight through letters to legislators reminding them of the economic benefits the law provides. We’re continuing to monitor new developments on this issue as they unfold, and will keep you informed on any new votes that might occur in the weeks and months ahead.


 

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Copyright © 2011 Small Business Majority. All rights reserved.

 

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