SBE Council e-News
News, Views & Resources
Outsized Regulation (Always) Slams the Small Guy
This time it’s the FCC’s oppressive Internet Rules
On April 1, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) delivered its Internet regulations to the Federal Register.A column by SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerriganlooks at how the FCC’s regulatory plan disproportionately impacts America’s small businesses. Similar to how Dodd-Frank is hammering small banks -- which has led to fewer banks, persistent consolidation, and a dearth in startups in the industry -- the FCC’s antiquated and inappropriate regulatory approach could do the same to small broadband providers. The “indirect impact” of the new regulations will be painful for the broader small business community as well - as consumers, and the entrepreneurs who deploy broadband, create and manufacture innovative solutions, and service the Internet ecosystem. Kerrigan also looks at how the FCC (with the exception of two pro-entrepreneur commissioners who get it) ignored and dismissed the concerns of the small business community in their proposals and proceedings that eventually led to the final regulatory order. Congress needs to step in, and quickly.
SAVE THE DATE: APRIL 8, 2015
Is the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act Fulfilling its Promise?
(What is REG A+ ?)
Capitol Hill Briefing for the 3rd Anniversary of the JOBS Act
Noon-1:30 p.m. ET – Luncheon
Cannon Caucus Room
Cannon House Office Building
On April 5, 2012 President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan JOBS Act, a multifaceted law to encourage capital formation and capital access for startups and small businesses. The law made equity and debt-based crowdfunding legal, and advanced other changes to ease the capital raising process for entrepreneurs. Come join us for this April 8 briefing, where expert panelists will provide a progress report on the JOBS Act, market developments, the new Reg A+ rule, and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
Moderator: Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, SBE Council
Jason Best, Principal, Crowdfund Capital Advisors
Sara Hanks, Co-Founder & CEO, CrowdCheck
DJ Paul, Chief Strategy Office, Gate Impact and Co-Chairman of Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA)
…and others TBA
SBE Council staff and members were on hand at the White House for the JOBS Act signing ceremony. Three years later, implementation of the law by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) isalmostcomplete with the exception of Title III, which allows unaccredited investors to make small investments in startups and small businesses through equity and debt-based crowdfunding platforms. On March 25,the SEC finalized Regulation A+ rules(as mandated by Title IV) of the JOBS Act, pre-empting state law for Regulation A offerings up to $50 million, and state coordinated review for offerings up to $20 million. Unaccredited investors can participate in these “mini-IPO style” offerings, which give startups and growth companies another choice for raising capital. (See more onReg A+ here:With new Reg A+, what type of crowd fundraising is right for your startup?by SBE Council member and Crowdfund Capital Advisor Partner Sherwood Neiss.)
Regulation A+ will be fully discussed at the luncheon briefing, along with the progress, future trends, opportunities and challenges spawned by the JOBS Act.
More information will be available on the SBE Council website soon, but please send your RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org order to reserve your spot for this insightful and educational luncheon briefing!
Four Tips to Handle Workplace Conflict
Most of us know someone who is constantly in conflict with people. They seem to always get caught up in work, social or personal clashes.These people don’t make good leaders or entrepreneurs. Small business expert and SBE Council Media Director Susan Solovicshares strategiesto keep toxic people from ruining workplace productivity and your firm’s potential for growth. She writes: “Not only is it in your best interest to keep it under control for the sake of your peace of mind, you need to keep it under control to guard your profitability. These tips should help you maintain smooth sailing.”
FACT OF THE WEEK: A Deeper Look at Consumer Confidence in March
Should we be excited about the latest consumer confidence numbers from The Conference Board? Chief economist Ray Keating provides the answers inthe latest SBE Council Fact of the Week.There are more questions and concerns than would be indicated by the headlines swirling around the data.
President Obama Vetoes Resolution to Protect Small Businesses Against the NLRB's Biased "Ambush Election Rule"
On March 31, President Obama vetoed S.J. Res 8, a resolution of disapproval passed by both Houses of Congress to overturnthe National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) ambush election rule, which becomes effective April 14, 2015.
In a media statement following the President’s veto, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said: “The NLRB’s pro-union ‘ambush election’ rule will cause disarray and turmoil in the workplace, and force employers to turn over private information about their employees to labor unions. Labor union’s believe the havoc they are planning to impose on workplaces through speedy elections and forcing employers to provide them with sensitive information about their employees is ‘pro-worker.’ No wonder labor union membership is in a death spiral…it’s shameful that the NLRB is helping labor advance this intimidating and destructive strategy.”
It has been reported that the NLRB is already holding training sessions at union offices to equip organizers for speedy action once the rule becomes effective mid-April.Several groups have filed lawsuits challenging the NLRB rule.
SBE Council’s Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS) - UPDATE
Time for a Dose of “Regulatory Humility:”In a CRS blog post,Karen Kerrigan highlights key passages from a speech delivered by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen who implored regulators to be humble in their approach to regulation. “As regulators, we should not force complex phenomena into simple boxes,” said Ohlhausen.Amen.
Say NO to the EPA’s Electric Grid Power Grab:In a CRS blog post,Karen Kerrigan summarizes the danger of EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and explains an amendment considered but not voted on in the Senate that would allow governors to reject the CPP if they determine it would increase retail electricity prices, threaten electricity reliability, or have a negative impact on the state’s economy. A nonbinding resolution passed the Senate as part of the FY 2016 Budget Resolution (57-43) that would prohibit the EPA from withholding highway funds from states that don’t meet their emissions targets.
Governors Understand the Ills of EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rules:
SBE Council Chief Economist Ray Keatingreviews the comments of various governors on the EPA’s proposed ozone regulations. The governors hit the nail on the head when it comes to the ills of these draconian regulations. President Obama and the EPA need to start listening.
Federal Regulators Just Can’t Stop Themselves – New Fracking Rules Impede on the States: The Obama Administration has pushed forward with more unwarranted regulation on March 20 – this time with a set of new rules for hydraulic fracturing.Ray Keating explains the dangers of the new rules, as well as the congressional response led by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
CFPB’s Proposal to Regulate Pre-Paid Cards: On March 23, 2015, SBE Council joined a coalition of groupsto comment on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) proposal regarding prepaid accounts. In the letter, it was emphasized that payroll cards are beneficial for both employers and employees, therefore it is important that the final rule support their continued success. The groups ask the CFPB to make modest revisions to its proposal to ensure that it does not discourage the use of this safe and beneficial product by many American workers who otherwise would lack access to mainstream financial services. Read thefull comment letter here.
News from Capitol Hill
Congress is on a two-week break and will return April 13. Before the break, theHouseandSenatepassed budget resolutions, balancing the budget without raising taxes while repealing Obamacare. A Vote-a-Rama in the Senate produced a list of non-binding resolutions supported by SBE Council including Death Tax repeal, ending project labor agreements on federal projects, preventing a carbon tax, and more.See the list of amendments voted on here. President Obama’s 2016 budget was also put up for a vote as an amendment -it was defeated 98-1.
Permit Streamlining, H.R. 348: On March 24, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 348, the"Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2015"by a vote of 15-11. SBE Councilsigned a multi-industry letter in support of H.R. 348, which addresses permit streamlining.
Sue and Settle Reform, H.R, 712: The House Judiciary Committee also voted on H.R. 712, the"Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015," an important bill supported by SBE Council that brings transparency and accountability to the "sue and settle" process. H.R. 712 advanced by a vote of 20-11. For more information, please see our report:Sue-and-Settle: Regulation Without Representation
Workplace Flexibility: SBE Council delivered support letters forS. 233andH.R. 465, legislation updating labor laws to provide employees with more workplace flexibility. State and local government employees have been allowed to take paid time off as compensation for working overtime, but private-sector workers are not allowed this option. The Working Families Flexibility Act would give the same flexible option to workers in the private sector.
Some Serious Trouble with Trade, and It’s Not About Deficits
The U.S. trade deficit in February shrank to its lowest level in more than five years. Based on what we hear in the media and from assorted experts about the ills of trade deficits, this should be good economic news. Right? Well, no.SBE Council Chief Economist Ray Keating explains why.
A Review of the Bush Presidency
From March 24-26, SBE Council Chief Economist Ray Keating attended a conferenceat Hofstra University on the presidency of George W. Bush. Keating writes about the issues explored in several pieces below.
Then, Now and Beyond on the Economy – Bush, Obama and Congress: Keating looks at what President Obama, the next president, and the current and next Congress need to learn from the Bush years on issues like taxes, regulation and government spending.
Obama Needs to Become More Bush-Like on Trade: Keating takes to task one conference speaker for calling Bush a “protectionist,” and goes on to argue that President Obama needs to become more Bush-like on trade in order to help U.S. economic growth, job creation and small business.
No Serious Talk About Credit Meltdown at Bush Conference: The conference seemed to cover every major issue tied to the Bush years – except one. Oddly, the financial crisis that closed out the Bush administration got very little coverage. Keating takes a quick look at the causes and the fallout that is still being felt, including for small businesses.
From the IRS – Here to Help
The IRS regularly shares resources with partner organizations like SBE Council. Here are a variety of small-business related information pieces and tips to ease the pain and confusion of “tax time.”
Top Six Tips about the Home Office DeductionIf you use your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home.
Six Tips You Should Know about Employee Business Expenses If you paid for work-related expenses out of your own pocket, you may be able to deduct those costs. In most cases, you claim allowable expenses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Here are six tax tips that you should know about this deduction.
IRS Offers Filing Season Tax Tips, Now Also Available in SpanishWith millions of taxpayers getting ready to file, the Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers they can take advantage of daily tax tips, e-news subscriptions and email subscription services.
Ten Tax Tips for FarmersFarms include ranches, ranges and orchards. Some raise livestock, poultry or fish. Others grow fruits or vegetables. Individuals report their farm income on Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming. If you own a farm, here are 10 tax tips to help at tax time.
Taxpayers Receiving Identity Verification Letter Should Use IDVerify.irs.govThe Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers who receive requests from the IRS to verify their identities that the Identity Verification Service website,idverify.irs.gov, offers the fastest, easiest way to complete the task.
Tax Time Guide: Easy E-Pay and Payment Agreement Options Available to People Who Owe TaxThe Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers that it’s easier than ever to pay their taxes electronically, and for those who can’t pay on time, quick and easy solutions are available.
IRS and Free File Alliance Reach New Agreement for Free Tax SoftwareThe Internal Revenue Service and Free File Inc., also known as the Free File Alliance, announced a new five-year agreement that guarantees free, federal tax preparation software products for 70 percent of all taxpayers.
Tax Time Guide: Automatic Tax-Filing Extensions Now Available; Use Free File to Get Six More Months to FileThe Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers who are unable to complete their tax returns on time that it’s easy to get more time to file their return. In fact, it can even be done online.
Interest Rates Remain the Same for the Second Quarter of 2015The Internal Revenue Service announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning April 1, 2015.
Tax Time Guide: Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to CharityThe Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers planning to claim charitable donations to make sure they have the records they need before filing their 2014 tax returns.
Payment Alternatives When You Owe the IRSIf you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe, don’t panic.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #9, The Right to Retain RepresentationEach and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #8, The Right to ConfidentialityEach and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Business Tips & Trends News Highlights
If you missed last week’s roundup of the best “how to” articles, market trends and important information to help your business succeed and grow,you can find those hereon SBE Council’sBusiness Success Strategiesresource page.