SmallBiz Vote
  • More than half of American voters say President Obama’s policies toward small businesses are “too hostile,” and even more entrepreneurs (55 percent) agree with that statement. The data comes from a Rasmussen Reports survey that was published this week.

    Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely voters by phone last week, and says this is the first time its data indicate that a majority of voters call the president “too hostile” to small business. Thirty-five percent of respondents overall consider the President’s policies toward small business to be “about right,” and only three percent say his policies are “too friendly” to small business. Twelve percent are unsure.

    Asked to rate Obama’s policies toward big business, 30 percent of respondents say they are “too hostile,” and again, more entrepreneurs (33 percent) take that view.

    Not surprisingly, survey respondents who identified themselves as Republican voters are more likely to dislike the President’s policies; 52 percent say he is too hostile toRead More »from Most entrepreneurs call Obama policies “too hostile” to small business
  • Drop your group insurance? Adviser says it’s best for workers

    For small business owners still muddling through the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, Alex Tolbert has some surprising advice: Dropping your group plan might be best for your employees.

    The Obama Administration recently delayed enforcement of the ACA until 2015, so regulated employers who don’t offer insurance will not be fined this year. Meanwhile, public exchanges set to open in October 2013 will supposedly offer affordable insurance to individuals and families. And lower income families who do not have access to employer-sponsored plans will qualify for government subsidies.

    Tolbert, whose company Bernard Health offers health insurance advice to individuals and small employers the way H&R Block provides tax guidance, says dropping health insurance coverage now could actually make insurance more affordable for your employees.

    To be sure, many employers with 50 or more full-time employees have already calculated that paying the government fine of $2,000 per employee for each one

    Read More »from Drop your group insurance? Adviser says it’s best for workers
  • Small businesses get more, but smaller, loans

    Since the depths of the recession, small business lending conditions have been slowly improving, but the size of the loans is shrinking.

    An annual report on bank lending to small businesses published yesterday by the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy shows that while the number of loans to businesses in general has been steadily improving since mid-2009, lending to small firms has been slower to bounce back and the average small business loan size has continued to decline.

    In an introduction to the 2012 research report, Winslow Sargent, SBA’s Chief Counsel for Advocacy, writes: “I can report that the overall picture looks better than it did a year ago. Although lending to small businesses was still down, the decline was less than in 2010 and 2011, an indication of progress.” Sargent predicts that year-by-year changes in small business lending will be evident as the economy continues to improve.

    The SBA Office of Advocacy analyzes the lending patterns of national and local

    Read More »from Small businesses get more, but smaller, loans
  • Remember the JOBS Act? It Might Take Effect After All

    More than a year after the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law, the SEC has begun adopting rules for enforcing it. The law was designed, in part, to make it easier for small businesses to raise funding from a wider pool of investors.

    The SEC considered one proposed rule and adopted two final rules today. The most important of the new rules makes it legal for the first time since the days of the Great Depression for private companies to advertise that they are seeking investment capital. Venture capitalists and hedge funds will be permitted to do the same.

    Entrepreneurs and small business owners are especially interested in aspects of the Act that will permit small businesses to solicit crowdfunded investments from “unaccredited” investors—or people who are not high net-worth—but the SEC has yet to rule on that aspect of the law.

    The rules adopted today must be published in the Federal Register before they can go into effect.

    One of the final rules “would

    Read More »from Remember the JOBS Act? It Might Take Effect After All
  • Employers now have until 2015 to comply with healthcare law

    “We’re listening to businesses about the healthcare law” was the headline of a post on the White House blog yesterday. Presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett announced in the blog that the White House would extend until 2015 the deadline for employers to comply with the Affordable Care Act, and would meantime work to streamline the law’s reporting requirements.

    Reports in TIME and CBS News are among those that suggest the delay is merely a midterm election maneuver designed to safeguard business votes for Democrats in 2014.

    Others note that it translates to a multi-billion-dollar reduction in expected federal revenue for next year: noncompliant employers—those with more than 50 workers who do not provide health insurance—won't be assessed fines of $2,000 per employee until 2015. The Chicago Tribune reports:

    "Tuesday's delay also raised questions about initial funding for Obamacare. The employer mandate is expected to raise $140 billion in revenues over the next 10 years, according to the

    Read More »from Employers now have until 2015 to comply with healthcare law
  • Small biz growth streak suffers a reversal

    Small business’s five-month hiring streak ended in May. Small employers reported an average gain of -0.04 workers per firm last month, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. In April, small businesses saw an average increase of 0.14 employees per firm, which was the fifth consecutive month of growth reported by NFIB.

    NFIB’s chief economist, William Dunkelberg, says small business growth “can’t seem to maintain any steam,” and he points to Washington for the reasons why.

    "Owners are still quite pessimistic about economic recovery, though far less so than six months ago,” Dunkelberg says in a statement previewing NFIB’s May jobs survey—to be published in full on June 11. “It will take a marked improvement in sales to convince them to hire more workers and prospects for that are not good."

    NFIB’s survey reveals that most small employers made no staff-size changes over the past few months, 12 percent cut an average of 3 workers and only 9 percent added an average

    Read More »from Small biz growth streak suffers a reversal
  • Initiative to help women business owners get government contracts

    The Small Business Administration has teamed with American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy to launch a national initiative aimed at boosting government contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. Representatives of the three participating organizations unveiled the program, dubbed ChallengeHER, at a luncheon for women business owners in Washington this week.

    ChallengeHER will help women business owners compete in the government contracting marketplace by providing  online curriculum and resources, mentoring with experienced women contractors, and access to government buyers and prime contractors. A series of 9 free events and workshops to take place around the country will kick off on May 23 with a Department of Energy event.

    SBA Administrator Karen Mills said one of the agency’s top priorities is making sure that more qualified women-owned, veteran-owned, and minority-owned small businesses have access to government and commercial supply chain

    Read More »from Initiative to help women business owners get government contracts
  • What’s good and bad for small business in the President’s budget

    On the White House’s list of “the top 10 things you need to know about President Obama’s 2014 budget” that was released yesterday, numbers 1, 2, and 3 are all designed to please small business. The White House says that the $3.78 trillion budget, proposed for the fiscal year starting in October:

    • Ends tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas and rewards businesses that hire here at home;
    • Creates jobs and builds the communications and transportation network that businesses need to succeed by fixing roads, bridges, and other infrastructure most in need of repair first; and,
    • Gives small businesses a 10 percent tax credit to hire new workers or increase wages.

    In fact, the President’s 179-page budget proposal invokes the term “small business” 93 times, including proposals to extend increased expensing for small business, eliminate capital gains taxation on investments in small business stock, double the amount of expensed start-up expenditures, and expand and simplify the tax credit

    Read More »from What’s good and bad for small business in the President’s budget
  • Health care reform delay extends uncertainty for business

    A key small-business friendly component of the Affordable Care Act won’t go into effect as soon as planned. The Act, passed in 2010, stipulated that Small Business Health Options Programs would establish group health insurance exchanges for small employers in each state. The so-called SHOPs would, beginning in January 2014, offer employees of those businesses a choice of coverage options.

    The idea was to streamline the administrative process for small employers, enable groups of them to access the rates that large employers enjoy, and let employees shop around, presumably driving down costs by forcing greater competition among insurance providers.

    But on March 11, the Health and Human Services Department proposed an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that delays by a year the offer of a choice of health insurance providers to employees:

    “The effective date of the employer choice requirements ... and the premium aggregation requirements ... for both State-based SHOPs and FF-SHOPs will

    Read More »from Health care reform delay extends uncertainty for business
  • Initiative will support “the entrepreneurial revolution”

    Think the government is not crucial to fostering entrepreneurial success? Some experts would beg to differ.

    A national American Express OPEN initiative that launched today in Milwaukee is based on the idea, conceived by renowned entrepreneurship thinker Daniel Isenberg, that public sector leaders, including government officials, are key to boosting the development of entrepreneurship ecosystems. Milwaukee is the first of several select U.S. urban areas where the new program, called OPEN for Enterprise: Coalitions for High-Growth Entrepreneurship, will attempt to channel government power to supporting entrepreneurship and existing businesses with great growth potential.

    OPEN for Enterprise uses a model developed by Isenberg, professor of entrepreneurship practice at Babson College and founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, also known as BEEP. BEEP is dedicated to promoting high-growth entrepreneurship by “pioneering a new way of thinking and acting

    Read More »from Initiative will support “the entrepreneurial revolution”


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SmallBiz Vote discusses candidates, policy, and news of the 2012 U.S. elections from the perspective of business owners and entrepreneurs.

SmallBiz Vote Bloggers

  • Adrienne Burke, Blogger/Writer, Yahoo! Small Business

    Adrienne Burke has been editing and writing for B2B publications since 1993 …

  • Virginia Hines, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

    Virginia Hines leads the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor product team.



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