Tax Reform Will Help Level Economic Playing Field for Small Businesses

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Statement by John Arensmeyer on February 22, 2012:

The president’s tax reform plan announced today is exactly what small business owners have been asking for. It will create a more level financial playing field for small and large firms, promoting healthy competition that stimulates the economy.

The president’s framework for reforming the tax code will eliminate dozens of loopholes that consistently leave small businesses paying an unfair share of taxes. It will also simplify the tax filing process for small business owners, whose valuable time needs to be spent building their business so they can create jobs and grow the economy.

Our national opinion polling found 91 percent of small business owners believe multinational corporations’ use of loopholes to avoid paying taxes is a problem, and three-quarters say their own business suffers when large companies don’t pay their fair share of taxes. When asked what would do the most to create jobs, small business owners chose eliminating incentives to move jobs overseas.

The president’s announcement today shows entrepreneurs’ voices are being heard. If they’re going to live up to their potential as our nation’s leading job creators and put America back to work, lawmakers must help them by leveling the economic playing field.

Expanding and Simplifying Healthcare Tax Credit for Small Businesses Will Help Rein in Coverage Costs

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Released February 16, 2012:

I joined Administrator Karen Mills, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a Michigan small business owner on a tele-press conference today to discuss the expansion and simplification of the small business healthcare tax credit in the Affordable Care Act.

Since its enactment nearly two years ago, the Affordable Care Act has already helped many small business owners better afford health coverage. The healthcare tax credits have played an important role. However, the credit could be made even more robust—which is what the president proposed as part of his 2013 budget.

Already, the small business tax credits are helping thousands of small businesses better afford health insurance. Last year, we released national opinion polling that found one-third of small business owners who currently don’t offer insurance would be more likely to do so because of these credits.

Improving this provision will let more small businesses take advantage of an important tool to help rein in healthcare costs. What’s good for small business is good for the economy. Expanding the tax credit would save more small businesses money, which will do even more to stimulate our economic recovery.

Michigan’s Mark Hodesh, owner of 100-year-old Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor, is one of many owners whose business has already grown thanks to savings from the credit. “I’ve offered my 11 employees health insurance for a long time in order to attract and retain talent. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m now being rewarded for doing so,” he said.

In 2010, Hodesh saved almost $9,000 with the credit—nearly 30 percent of his total premium contribution. “Knowing that I was getting the credit gave me the confidence I needed to hire a 12th employee, who turned out to be a big asset to my store. Previously unemployed, she’s also now an asset to the local economy as a taxpayer and consumer.” This year, Hodesh could qualify to receive about $9,800 if Congress adopts the expanded credit.

The healthcare tax credits were designed to ease the burden of small businesses’ skyrocketing healthcare costs so these firms can grow and hire. Unfortunately, our polling found 57 percent of small business owners do not know the credits exist. And from speaking with entrepreneurs and CPAs across the country, we’ve found that some small employers—although they might qualify for the credit—think it’s too complicated and bypass it entirely. The president’s budget would change that.

To view Small Business Majority’s economic and opinion research on healthcare reform’s impact on small businesses, visit our website: http://smallbusinessmajority.org/small-business-research/healthcare/index.php

MATS Rule Can Create Opportunities for Small Businesses

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Statement by John Arensmeyer on February 16, 2012:

The Environmental Protection Agency today published in the Federal Register its final rule requiring power companies to clean up or close their dirtiest plants—a rule supported by small business owners across the political spectrum, and one that will create much-needed jobs.

National polling we conducted found 76 percent of small employers support the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, refineries and other major emitters. Additionally, 79 percent of small business owners support having clean air and water in their community and 61 percent support standards that move the country towards energy efficiency and clean energy.

A recent report by the Political Economy Research Institute found this new rule—called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)—is part of a suite of clean-air standards that will create 1.4 million new jobs over the next five years.

Despite strong support for these standards and their projected economic benefits, some have claimed they will actually stifle job growth. That opposition is misguided. The job market will not suffer from the new rules, and saying that it would is an exercise in political rhetoric that ignores a wide body of research indicating otherwise.

We are pleased to see lawmakers considering small business owners’ views on this issue and working to meet their needs.

President’s Budget Focuses on Small Businesses’ Top Concerns

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Statement by John Arensmeyer on February 13, 2012:

The budget proposal President Obama released today keeps the spotlight trained on small businesses’ key concerns: enhancing access to credit, investing in job-creating infrastructure projects and boosting small business provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

These issues are major areas of concern for small businesses, and we’re glad the president is looking to address them in his long-term plan. Opinion polling we recently released found 90 percent of small businesses say access to credit is a problem and the same percentage support making it easier for community banks and credit unions to lend more. Additionally, more than two-thirds support investing in infrastructure projects.

We’re especially pleased to see a proposal to expand and simplify the small business tax credit in the healthcare law. We know from our polling and from talking to countless small business owners across the country that many small employers don’t know this provision to help them afford insurance for their employees exists. Some say it’s too complicated to use and bypass it entirely. Expanding and simplifying the credit so more small business owners can take advantage of it is exactly what small businesses have been asking for to help combat ever-rising premium costs.

We also know from our polling that reining in the deficit is important for small business owners, but the only way to close the gap is to get the economy back on track. The president’s plan recognizes the need to do both.

Aid for Underwater Mortgages a Life Raft for Small Business

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Statement by John Arensmeyer on February 9, 2012:

Today, in the biggest government-industry settlement since 1998, major mortgage lenders and the federal government struck a $25 billion deal that will bring relief to struggling homeowners across the nation, boosting demand for small businesses and stimulating the economy.

One in three small business owners report weak demand to be their top concern, according to national opinion polling commissioned by Small Business Majority, Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council. What’s more, three-quarters of owners say their business has suffered from low demand directly related to the mortgage crisis.

Our scientific opinion poll also found that by a 2:1 ratio, the majority of owners believe reducing the principal on underwater mortgages to their current market value would boost consumer spending.

Entrepreneurs who have used their homes as collateral especially stand to benefit. A full quarter of small business owners have used their home as an equity line of credit in order to finance their business. Many of them can now re-pocket money they lost when the market crashed and use it to grow their business, in turn stimulating the economy.

Today’s deal between the federal government and top mortgage lenders is a step in the right direction for small business, and marks a historical step toward our overall economic recovery.

For the full results of our national opinion poll, click here.