SBE Council News
Resources, Advocacy and Research Update
Digital Tracking in the Workplace
SBE Council Media Director Susan Solovic sat down for aWall Street JournalLive online interviewto discuss software for digital tracking. If you are a business owner who is thinking about or uses software to track the browsing activity of your company’s computers, Susan shares some insight and advice.Susan also appearedonHuffington Post Liveto discuss the same topic.
Action On Capitol Hill
The U.S. House is back from a break (the Senate stayed in session last week). House committee and subcommittee chairs are holding eighty-three hearings this week, along with Key Votes on important small business issues.
Ozone and Small Business: SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating will testify before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, March 17on the EPA’s proposed ozone rule. The impact will be severe for small businesses, along with areas of the country thrown into “non-attainment” as a result of the restrictive framework.Business expansion and new business development will be at risk in these areas, which happen to cover most of the nation.Read Ray’s testimony here.
SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan reviews some of the issues that will be discussed at the hearing,including “Ozone Double Dealing.”
On this same issue, a group of U.S. Senatorssent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy last weekquestioning how the agency estimated the impact of the proposed rules. In the letter, the Senators wrote, “there are significant reasons to believe that the draft RIA may underestimate the likely true cost to the American public due to a number of questionable assumptions included in the analysis.”
For more on the issue see SBE Council’s“Q&A on EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rules.”
Other House hearings we will be following this week, include:
“EPA's Rule for Existing Power Plants: Legal & Cost Issues”
Energy & Commerce (Energy & Power) hearing 3/17
“Waters of the U.S.” Proposed Rule and Its Impact on Rural America
Agriculture (Conservation and Forestry) hearing 3/17
“The Burden of the Estate Tax on Family Businesses and Farms”
Ways & Means (Select Revenue Measures) hearing 3/18
“Tangled in Red Tape: New Challenges for Small Manufacturers”
Small Business hearing 3/18
“FCC Reauthorization: Oversight of the Commission”
Energy & Commerce (Communications & Technology) hearing 3/19
H.R. 1029, EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015. The House will vote onthis SBE Council-supported billthis week, which is sponsored by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Collin Peterson (D-MN). The bill strengthens transparency, conflict-of-interest disclosure and public participation at this influential EPA advisory board.
H.R. 1030,Secret Science Reform Act of 2015. The House will vote on this bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith that promotes transparency on the information and science used as the basis for EPA regulation.See SBE Council’s support letter here.
S.J. Res. 8- Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).On March 4, the U.S. Senate used the Congressional Review Act to overturn NLRB's pro-union rule that vastly accelerates the time frame to allow for a union organizing vote. The rule also requires businesses to hand over personal information about their employees to labor unions, such as phone numbers, cell phone numbers, email addresses, and work schedules. The House will vote on the resolution this week. SBE Council supports S.J. 8.
TAX REFORM in the Senate: Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR)announceda process for soliciting ideas from interested members of the public and stakeholders on the committee’s ongoing bipartisan tax reform effort. Along with submitting ideas to working groups, SBE Council will continue to meet with congressional leaders in both chambers on tax reform efforts.
Ideas and Opportunities for Entrepreneurs:
In aBusiness Success Strategiesfeature, SBE Council Media Director Susan Solovic points out the success entrepreneurs are experiencing around fast-growing sectors and startups. She advises to be on the look out for new businesses, business models, new social phenomena or laws that create demand for new products and services that are complementary.
Buy or Lease Your Next Vehicle?
Small business expert and tax advisor Barbara Weltman, who also sits on SBE Council’s advisory board,looks at the tax and non-tax issuesof buying or leasing your next car, truck or van if you are in the market for a new business vehicle.
FCC Finally Reveals Internet Regulation Order:
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Peril?
On March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled the regulatory plan it approved in the previous week.In a media release,SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said: “When government regulates as intrusively as the FCC has done through its order to regulate the Internet, small business owners and entrepreneurs always get the short end of the stick. As innovators competing against bigger players in providing internet service, and as consumers who depend on affordable access to quality broadband, we do not see how regulating the Internet as a public utility will be a plus for small businesses.”
Kerrigan said it’s imperative that Congress step in to resolve the FCC’s overreach and secrecy in advancing its regulatory order for the Internet. A series of congressional hearings begin this week featuring FCC commissioners. Vigorous oversight is necessary as Kerrigannotes in this blog post.The first hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. on March 17, in the House Oversight Committee. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will testify, and proceedings will be available online. The entire FCC will face the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, March 18, and the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Thursday, March 19. Next week, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing.
A six-page draft bill offered by House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-SD), and House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) is a sound alternative to the FCC’s intrusive 300-plus page order to aggressively regulate the Internet as a public utility.
“Small business owners and entrepreneurs have come to depend on a responsive, innovative, high-quality Internet. The draft congressional plan will promote strong investment and support an Internet ecosystem that needs the freedom and flexibility to innovate and serve its customers well,” said Kerrigan.
Downgrading the Internet to a Public Utility.In a recent blog post, SBE Council’s Karen Kerrigan reviews the Internet order further, as well as the dissenting view of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai.
Solovic - FCC’s Net Neutrality Regs a “Bad Idea for Small Business”: SBE Council media director Susan Solovicweighs in on the FCC’s regulatory order. She writes: “So what can we conclude about the FCC’s net neutrality? It’s very likely that: Innovation will be dampened, Infrastructure improvements will be slowed, Competition will decrease, and Costs will go up for the consumer.”
EPA Ozone Regs, Investment, and Small Business
In the latest SBE Council Energy & Entrepreneurs post, chief economist Ray Keating looks at key points made by the American Chemistry Council regarding the EPA’s proposal to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) pertaining to ozone. Keating highlights the dominant role of small businesses in the related industries, and concludes “the small business fallout promises to be significant.”
Global Trade and Small Business
Small Business and IMPORTS: Last week we examinedsmall business and exports– this weekwe look at imports. Are imports a big negative for our economy? Chief economist Ray Keating provides the answer with a resounding “no.” He explains the actual economics and benefits of imports.
Encouraging Survey Results on Trade: The latestSBE Council Fact of the Weekhighlights the results in the latest Gallup poll of U.S. adults on trade. The good news is that a notable majority sees trade as an opportunity. But things get odd when looking at the results by political party.
Beyond the Usual Protectionist Suspects:The latest SBE Council Cybercolumnnotes that the usual suspects are standing in opposition to efforts to reduce international barriers to trade. But two Nobel Prize winning economists also are dissing the idea of protecting intellectual property via free trade agreements. Keating takes them to task, with the help another Nobel Prize winner.
How Trade Stats Can Help U.S. Businesses Expand Abroad,U.S. Census Bureau. “International markets provide an opportunity for U.S. businesses to increase sales and overall competitiveness, but knowing how to get started and learning about foreign markets can be daunting. The U.S. Census Bureau can help.”
Webinar: How to Take Your Woman-Owned Small Business Global, March 26: With almost 300,000 small businesses currently exporting – and responsible for a third of last year’s record $2.345 trillion in U.S. exports – it may be a good time to take your business global. Join SBA’s webinar Thursday, March 26 at 2 PM ET to find out how!
> Read more and register
Most Merchants Fail to Meet Payment Security Measures
Visa Webinar on Common Security Vulnerabilities
Eighty percent of global merchants are not in compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard,says a Verizon Communications report.All of the companies studied that have been hit by data breaches in the past decade were out of compliance at the time of the attacks, Verizon found. Most companies don't upgrade security systems until just before compliance testing is done each year, according to the report.
Visa Webinar:Data Breach Findings for Small Merchants
On March 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET,Visa is presenting a webinar that will explore common security vulnerabilities impacting small merchants and mitigation strategies to help strengthen payment card environments. By employing a combination of secure technology, tools and strategies, small merchants can achieve a fortified payment environment and secure security posture.
The webinar will cover common vulnerabilities identified in small merchant breaches and the strategies and secure technology options that can be used to mitigate those risks.Please click here for more information and to register.
SAVE THE DATE: National Small Business Week 2015, May 4-8
It’s almost here:National Small Business Week 2015. SBE Council is a partner with the Small Business Administration in this annual week-long celebration that highlights the important role of entrepreneurs in the economy. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week. Like last year, the SBA will host events in four cities across America. This year, events will be held in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City and culminating in Washington, D.C. where national winners will be recognized and awarded. Stay tuned for more announcements.