Congress must stabilize the ACA to stabilize small businesses

The Hill

It is undeniable that assaults on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will soon lead to massive spikes in health-care premiums, an outcome that will devastate America’s small businesses.

A recent analysis by California’s ACA marketplace, Covered California, estimates premiums would increase anywhere from 35 to 94 percent over the next three years mainly because Congress chose to eliminate the ACA’s individual mandate.

When these forecasts come true, it will be particularly harmful for small firms and self-employed business owners. After all, more than 3.7 million small-business employees are enrolled in the ACA marketplaces, and more than six in 10 ACA marketplace enrollees are small-business owners, self-employed or small-business employees.

Continue reading

Curbing immigration means curbing job creation

The Hill

A week in which President Donald Trump ended protections for immigrants from El Salvador and rejected a bipartisan framework to restore Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) culminated in the president displaying shocking ignorance about why immigrants from certain countries seek a new life in the United States.

The answer to your question, Mr. President, is simple: Many of them come to the United States to realize their entrepreneurial dreams, which is why we must restore DACA.  

A report from the New American Economy Research Fund found immigrants owned nearly three million American businesses in 2014, employed almost six million people and produced more than $65 billion worth of income.

What’s more, immigrants from outside Europe had high rates of entrepreneurship or were self-employed in 2014: 19.1 percent of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa were entrepreneurs, while 11.1 percent of Hispanic immigrants and 10.6 percent of Asian immigrants were self employed.

As lawmakers continue to negotiate the renewal of DACA and other immigration policies, it is essential that they recognize the importance of sensible immigration policies to our nation’s small business community and our economy as a whole.

Continue reading

Chicago Small Businesses Need Better Lending Options

Huffington Post

This post was co-authored by Chicago City Treasurer Kurt A. Summers, Jr. and Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion serving Illinois & Northwest Indiana.

It’s difficult for most small businesses to obtain a loan. Just ask Margo Strotter, owner of Ain’t She Sweet Cafe, which now has two locations–one in Bronzeville and one in Beverly.

When Margo was starting out she was her own bank, but she knew that wasn’t a long-term solution to her capital needs so she eventually sought help from traditional lenders. Unfortunately, those institutions were either unwilling or unable to help Margo.

Then she had a breakthrough. While attending an event at the Urban League, Margo was put in touch with Accion, a lender that is committed to helping small businesses, particularly those in underserved communities. She ended up receiving two loans from Accion over the years: The first helped her get her business off the ground, the second came 10 years later and allowed her to expand to a second location.

In Chicagoland, there are a lot of Margos. In fact, the area is home to more than 230,000 small firms, making it the country’s third-largest small business hub. And yet, as big banks focus on big businesses, it has become harder and harder for Chicago’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to secure reasonable loans from responsible lenders.

Continue reading

Lawmakers should support small businesses during National Entrepreneurship Month

Huffington Post

Entrepreneurs are a vital component of a thriving American economy. Indeed, small businesses represent 99% of all employer firms and account for half of our nation’s jobs and economic output, and their creativity spurs innovation in all sectors of the economy. That’s why it’s important to take time to appreciate our country’s entrepreneurs during November, which is National Entrepreneurship Month.

During National Entrepreneurship Month, policymakers should recognize our nation’s innovators and job creators by taking time to address the primary issues that are holding them back, including lack of access to capital, the need to stabilize healthcare costs and fairness in tax reform efforts.

Improving access to capital is one of the most crucial issues for entrepreneurs. Small Business Majority’s polling found 90 percent of small business owners identify access to capital as a top concern. This finding is no surprise given that many small business owners are still struggling to access capital post-recession. And when small businesses are approved for loans, it’s often not for the full amount requested. In fact, the Federal Reserve found of those small business owners who did receive a loan, only half were approved for the full amount requested. Continue reading

Even some Republicans agree tax plans won’t help small businesses

The Hill

When it comes to the tax reform proposals being promoted by congressional Republicans, one of their own has come out against the plans because they won’t do much for America’s small businesses.

“We can’t leave anybody behind, which is why they came up with the 25 [percent] rate for pass throughs,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said, himself a former small-business owner. “The problem is, neither the House or the Senate version really honored that commitment to pass-through businesses, which I argue are a huge engine of economic growth.”

Sen. Johnson is exactly right about the role of small businesses in our economy, and he’s right that neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives have offered proposals that would help more than a handful of small firms, while also blowing up the deficit by adding $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Continue reading