SmallBiz Vote
  • More credit union loans to small business? Banks say no

    New York Democratic Senator Kristin Gillibrand is grabbing headlines in her state this week for pushing her colleagues to vote on the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act. The legislation, introduced by Colorado Senator Mark Udall in 2011, would address ongoing complaints about limited access to business loans by raising a cap on commercial loans that credit unions are permitted to make, based on a percentage of their assets.

    Senate Bill 509, as it is known, "would amend the Federal Credit Union Act to advance the ability of credit unions to promote small business growth and economic development opportunities, and for other purposes." It has been sitting in the Banking Committee since March 2011.

    According to a report published by public media aggregator Innovation Trail,

    Passing the act would mean that credit unions could gradually increase their lending capability through a tiered system, with a new upper cap of 27.5 percent. Senator Gillibrand says passing this act would increase

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  • How can Congress help small business? 7 owners, 7 answers

    While Congress and President Obama come down to the wire on fiscal cliff negotiations, small business owners hold their breath for a solution that will not be an economic setback for them or their customers. After averting the cliff however, there is still much to be done to improve conditions for small business in the U.S. We asked small business owners around the country what else they'd like to see from the federal government in the coming year.

    Seven entrepreneurs in seven industries answered the question: "What is the most important thing President Obama and Congress could do in the next year to improve the outlook for your small business?" Here are their seven (quite different) answers:

    Lenore Davies, Partner, Pripstein and Davies Architects, Wyncote, Pa.

    We are a very small business; an architecture firm of 2 people. Our industry has been decimated by the economic downturn. We specialize in small projects, predominantly residential renovations and additions. Our clients

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  • infographic: National Federation of Independent Businesses

    Most small business owners will be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow unsure of whether or not to be grateful for what's in store for them in the coming year. That's because few have any clear idea how the two biggest issues on the table in Washington today--the approaching fiscal cliff and the Affordable Care Act--will impact their small business next year. That's a recipe for indigestion.

    Government agencies and small business organizations are rising to the occasion to help you understand what might be in store for you if, indeed, the nation goes over the so-called cliff, and when the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect. Here are some resources they offer.

    The Affordable Care Act and your business

    The Department of Health and Human Services posted information to its website this summer to help entrepreneurs understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act specifically for small business. Now, the National Small Business Association is helping owners keep up

    Read More »from Still wondering what a fiscal cliff and healthcare proposals mean to you?
  • Small businesses on fiscal cliff roller coaster

    In a post-election panel discussion Monday evening this week, the Economist's Matthew Bishop asked five Washington insiders whether they believe Congress and President Obama will arrive at a deficit reduction plan in time to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Tax increases and spending cuts will automatically go into effect in the absence of such a plan on January 1.

    The panelists at a technology industry conference represented a spectrum of political ideologies: Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes, a two-time GOP presidential nominee; Hill + Knowlton Strategies U.S. President and CEO Dan Bartlett, who was White House Communications director under George W. Bush; AOL founder Steve Case, Chairman of President Obama's Startup America Partnership; Markle Foundation President Zoe Baird, former associate counsel to Jimmy Carter and a Clinton nominee for Attorney General; and Andrew Rasiej, the founder of Personal Democracy Media.

    All five panelists, Republicans and Democrats alike, said they

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  • Questions remain about equity crowdfunding rules

    In the run-up to the enactment of the JOBS Act, passed by Congress in April 2012, officials are scrambling to meet their January 2013 deadline for nailing down regulations for equity-based crowdfunding portals, which will be legalized by the bill. Proponents of the new fundraising method predict that it will make as much as $300 billion in investment capital available to entrepreneurs to start new businesses.

    More than 70 crowdfunding industry stakeholders participated in a discussion on rulemaking with Securities Exchange Commission and White House officials in Washington yesterday.

    But the conversation made clear that many details remain to be sorted out before the legislation goes into effect. Joining the conference by phone or in person were industry pioneers including SoMoLend founder Candace Klein, International Crowd Funding Association board chairman Mark Jones, Jason Burmer of EarlyShares, A KickIn Crowd founder Tony Reynolds, RocketHub COO Jed Cohen, and Crowdnetic founder

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  • Experts see exports opportunities for small services businesses

    Business services are big business in the U.S., but they're missing out on major opportunities overseas, say experts. How to increase exports for small- and medium-sized businesses was the focus of a discussion at a tech conference in Tucson this week.

    Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation, which pursues tech solutions for healthcare and national security, moderated the discussion at Techonomy12, a meeting of tech industry CEOs and investors. She said that as technology and networks are lowering barriers to markets worldwide, a new focus on exports, especially from the service sector, could be a way to create jobs and reverse the flow of the outsourcing pipeline that is exporting jobs. By taking advantage of internet and cloud capabilities, exporting services can be done largely from home without sending U.S. employees overseas, she noted.

    Baird asked a panel that included Bradford Jensen of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and Ambassador Miriam Sapiro,

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  • Pessimistic small business owners react to election

    Which of the following describes how you feel about the general economic outlook for your business now that the presidential election has been decided? More optimistic, less optimistic, or exactly the same? Judging by reader responses to our post-election post in this blog, SmallBizVote readers largely agree with the 59 percent of the 1,227 small business owners surveyed immediately after the election by Manta who say "less optimistic." Only 23 percent of respondents to that survey said they feel "more optimistic."

    Several commenters to our blog suggested that they would be making layoffs, selling their companies, or entering retirement due to the hardships they foresee during four more years of Obama Administration policies.

    Some might sympathize with a Las Vegas business owner who, as Salon reported today, fired 22 of his 100+ employees after the election, citing the cost of Obama's policies to his business. Or they might applaud the CEO of the country's largest coal company, Robert

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  • Election uncertainty over for small businesses; now what?

    Throughout campaign season, many small business owners reported paralysis over pursuing growth or hiring due to uncertainty about what kind of administration they'd face for the next four years. Would ObamaCare be repealed? Would the regulatory environment ease up? Would tax rates increase?

    This morning, no question remains about who will lead the country for the next four years, and it's more likely than ever that the Affordable Care Act will remain in tact.

    But much uncertainty remains. Small businesses still can't be sure just what the new health care act will cost them come 2014 when it goes into full effect. And yesterday's election outcome brought virtually no change to the partisan split on Capitol Hill, with Republicans ruling the House and Democrats ruling the Senate, which leaves great uncertainty about the so-called fiscal cliff and tax rates.

    Of that status, the Wall Street Journal editors this morning warned:

    "Mr. Obama will now have to govern the America he so

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  • Self-employed head to polls with unanswered questions

    NASE's Facebook button

    With only three days to go before they head to the polls, self-employed voters are disappointed with the Presidential candidates, each of whom made small business owners a centerpiece of his platform. Katie Vlietstra, Director of Government Affairs for the National Association for the Self-Employed, says the organization submitted 10 questions in September to President Obama and Governor Romney's campaigns on behalf of the nation's 22 million sole proprietors and micro-business owners—a group she says represents more than 70 percent of the small business community.

    NASE, which is non-partisan and does not endorse a candidate, promised to use the candidates' answers to educate and inform its membership about the positions of each on small business taxes and economic recovery "so that they may make the best decision for their business in November." But November is here and the answers never came.

    To be fair, Vlietstra acknowledges that hundreds of constituent groups submit

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  • Small businesses disagree with CEOs, say tax wealthiest

    On the same day that the CEOs of more than 80 major U.S. corporations pushed for a federal-deficit-reduction plan that would rely on lower tax rates but a "broader base," a poll revealed that a majority of small business owners believe that those CEOs should pay higher taxes.

    The Wall Street Journal broke the news this morning that the big business CEOs issued a "manifesto" urging Congress to immediately pursue gradual "pro-growth tax reform." Their 225-word statement petitioned for a comprehensive plan that, among other measures, "broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues and reduces the deficit." The CEOs pointed to the recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission, which calls for a combination of budget cuts and increased tax revenue, as an "effective framework for such a plan."

    The statement urged bipartisan action and reforms to all areas of the Federal budget, and seemed to suggest that neither Presidential candidate's tax plan goes far enough. But the CEOs'

    Read More »from Small businesses disagree with CEOs, say tax wealthiest


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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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