SmallBiz Vote
  • Eliminating taxcuts for high earners bad for small business?

    Would extending tax cuts to all create jobs?

    When he proposed an extension of Bush era tax cuts for families earning under $250,000 a year, President Obama this week suggested the move would benefit all but two percent of households. But because those earning above $250,000 would experience a tax increase, Republicans characterize the proposal as a massive penalty on small businesses. A bigger tax bill would prevent small business owners from creating jobs at a critical juncture in the US economy, the argument goes.

    Jeffrey Cornwall, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University, explains in The Entrepreneurial Mind blog at the Christian Science Monitor: "Many who fall into this proposed tax increase are entrepreneurs. We know that for every 1% increase in the marginal tax rate that we can expect a 1.5 to 2.0 percent decrease in start-up activity."

    In an editorial on the subject, the Wall Street Journal points out: "Congress's Joint Tax Committee—not a conservative outfit—estimates that in 2013 about 940,000

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  • President announces six new ideas to help small business

    After attempting to appeal to small business owners earlier this week with a proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for households with income under $250,000, President Obama today buttered up small businesses again. The White House announced of a set of six initiatives designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs by streamlining some cumbersome processes for getting paid by the government and for getting certain government loans and bonds. The plan also addresses two tax credits.

    In a statement, the White House said five of the initiatives are "immediate executive actions" and the sixth is a legislative proposal.

    The package aims to help Federal small business subcontractors get paid faster; reiterates the President's support for permitting small businesses to write off up to $250,000 in capital investments in 2013; revamps the Small Business Administration's Small Loan Advantage program; streamlines application paperwork for SBA surety bonds and SBA's Disaster Loan Program;

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  • Self employed want less government involvement in healthcare

    Microbusiness owners are concerned about government involvement in healthcare.

    "The government will become too involved with my health care" was the number one concern cited by self-employed people responding to a survey conducted shortly after the Supreme Court delivered its decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The National Association for the Self Employed conducted the survey of 886 self employed and micro-business owners within hours of the ruling last week.

    Half of respondents said they fully or mainly oppose the health care reform law, nearly 60 percent said they disagree with the Court's decision, and half said Congress should now work to repeal the entire legislation. More than 60 percent also agreed that their viewpoint on the health reform law will affect the way they vote in the November elections.

    Fewer than one-third of respondents "fully or mainly support the law." Sixteen percent said they see the law as a mixed bag of good and bad changes, and only 3 percent admitted to not knowing enough to form a qualified opinion.

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  • Will “essential health benefits” raise your rates?

    With the Affordable Care Act force you to get health benefits you don't want?

    The National Association for the Self Employed, a group that helps entrepreneurs secure benefits including health insurance, has warned that the Affordable Care Act threatens to increase health insurance rates for the self employed by 10-13 percent by 2014. The organization predicts that a section of the bill mandating "essential health benefits" will force insurance companies to expand the minimum benefits they provide, even in high-deductible plans. Self-employed individuals therefore "may have to pay for a health insurance product that they don't need or want," says NASE spokeswoman Katie Vlietstra.

    What are essential health benefits? That remains to be seen. According to the Affordable Care Act language, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will define them, "except that such benefits shall include at least the following general categories and the items and services covered within the categories: (A) Ambulatory patient services. (B) Emergency services. (C) Hospitalization.

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  • Watchdog group wants truth in small business procurement

    Most small business federal procurement dollars go to big business, group says.

    The Obama Administration hasn't yet released its annual report on the proportion of federal contract dollars awarded to small businesses in the past year, but the American Small Business League predicts that when the document arrives this summer it will misrepresent the facts. Not that the league is accusing the Obama Administration of doing anything its predecessors haven't. It's common practice for big businesses disguised as small ones to be counted among the awardees of federal procurement dollars designated for small business.

    Since 1953, the federal government has been mandated to spend 23 percent of the total value of all federal prime contracts with small businesses. But "fraud, abuse, and loopholes in federal policy and implementation result in the majority of federal small business contracts being illegally diverted to large corporations every year," the watchdog group says. The organization estimates that only 10 percent of federal contract dollars were awarded to

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  • Confounding reports on small business and healthcare

    146061239With a ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act expected from the Supreme Court any day, small business organizations have been re-airing their views about healthcare reform.

    What the Court will decide is anyone's guess, but two surveys published this week by small business advocacy organizations predict how the decision will affect their constituents. Unfortunately, the predictions are contradictory. Further confusing matters is a question raised this week about the validity of the National Federation of Independent Businesses' claim that its Supreme Court lawsuit represents the interests of small businesses.

    Consider these news items reported this week:

    1. National Federation of Independent Businesses is the group that brought the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court on behalf of its members. But the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that nearly $4 million of NFIB funding in the year it filed the lawsuit came from a Republican campaign

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  • Bankers forecast better credit for businesses

    American Bankers Association outlook for business is mildly positive

    More and better credit will be available to businesses in the next six months, continuing into next year. That's the prediction of the American Bankers Association, which this week issued a forecast for U.S. economic performance predicting growth of 11.5 percent this year in loans to businesses.

    The trade group, which represents the $14 trillion industry that has taken much of the blame for the U.S. recession, stated that "the significant increase in credit growth shows that the banks are doing their part to make loans that will help drive the economic recovery." Whether or not you agree, additional forecasts made by the group are mildly encouraging for small business owners.

    ABA Economic Advisory Committee chairman George Mokrzan said that consumers will also experience more opportunities for credit. An increase of 7.4 percent in loans to individuals will lead to stronger consumer spending in the second half of this year, he said. The group expects consumer spending, which represents

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  • Loan broker calls business lending “a mess”

    Getting a business loan is confusing and difficult for most

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor readers who want to understand "why small business lending is such a confusing mess" will be interested in a new columnist debuted yesterday by The New York Times "You're the Boss" blog.

    In the blogger spirit of curating web content, I'll summarize what Ami Kassar says, and point you to his full column for more details and so that you can follow him from here.

    The Times' "You're the Boss" blog features 14 writers with various perspectives on "the art of running a small business." Kassar's expertise comes from running a loan broker called MultiFunding that he says has worked to help hundreds of entrepreneurs navigate the capital-seeking process.

    Kassar calls the small-business lending market "highly inefficient" and "poorly understood." He explains:

    "There are now loan products out there with annual percentage rates of 4 or 5 percent and others as high as 60 or even 80 percent. In part, this is the unintended consequence of the big banks' tightening up

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  • Few claim health insurance tax credit

    If you claimed the Small Employer Health Insurance Tax Credit last year, congratulations. You are one of few employers who not only qualified but persevered through complex calculations.

    Health care tax credit too complex for employers

    According to a report issued this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, fewer than 12 percent of the businesses that were expected to claim the credit in 2010 did so. The GAO study, conducted at the request of Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee ranking member Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), found that 170,300 small businesses claimed the credit in 2010 at a cost of $468 million.

    The numbers fall far below the estimates of government agencies and small business advocacy groups, which suggested that between 1.4 million and 4 million businesses would be eligible to claim the credit and that the cost of the credit would come to $2 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $40 billion from fiscal years 2010 to 2019.

    According to two

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  • Best candidate for business? Entrepreneurs divided

    Small business owners are split

    With regard to who is the better candidate for small businesses, President Barack Obama has only a slight edge over Governor Mitt Romney, according to a survey of small business owners commissioned by Office Depot. The Office Depot Small Business Index, conducted in April and released today, revealed that 53 percent of small business owners see the current President as the top small business advocate, while 47 percent chose the former Massachusetts Governor.

    The Internet-based national survey, which interviewed 1,002 owners of businesses with between 1 and 99 employees, also asked respondents how they feel about the state of their business. Compared to a year ago, more small business owners say they are "much more or slightly more optimistic." There has been a drop in optimism, however, from January 2012. Survey interviews are conducted monthly.

    The survey also asked about measures of success. Most respondents define success as "being profitable" (73 percent); "having a work-life

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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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