SBE Council News
Small Business Summer 2015
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In this Edition of SBE Council News: SCOTUS to EPA: Costs Matter • Energy & Entrepreneurs: Vote 4 Energy, Harvard on Crude Exports, Shale Skeptics • How to Count Employees Under Obamacare • Business Tips & Trends News Highlights • President Signs TPA, SBE Council Supports Small Business Trade Legislation • More from Capitol Hill • Is the Government Hitting Small Business Procurement Goals or Not? • The Real Deal on Small Business and Spectrum Auctions • Keating’s Corner: Personal Income Data, Durable Goods, the Fed
Supreme Court Ruling on EPA a Relief for Small Businesses, A Win for Common Sense
On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the EPA for its failure to consider costs in mercury and air toxic controls rules.Kerrigan said the court’s rulingsends a clear message to the EPA as it considers a range of costly regulations currently in the pipeline.
“Costs matter to small businesses, and the Supreme Court has ruled that costs need to matter to EPA regulators. Small business owners have consistently expressed their concerns about the weighty costs of a range of proposed regulations – for example, the rulemakings on navigable waters’ and carbon emissions – yet EPA regulators continue to ignore their real concerns. It only makes sense for the EPA to conduct proper cost-benefit analyses, and listen to small business owners in all rulemakings,”said Kerrigan in a media statement.
SBE Council supports various regulatory reform solutions that will bring accountability, transparency, and balance to the regulatory process at the EPA and other federal agencies. (Some of the legislative solutions listed in this piecehave passed the House, and SBE Council is in the process of updating the article to reflect the current status of bills.)
Energy & Entrepreneurs: America’s Energy Future, Harvard on Crude Exports, Taking on Shale Skeptics
Karen Kerrigan joined Terry Sullivan of the Laborers' International Union of North America, Sheila Jackson of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Don Loren of Vets for Energy, and Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute for a June 23 Vote 4 Energy briefing.
Vote 4 Energy Briefing: On June 23, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan joined a panel hosted by API’sVote4Energyproject to discuss America’s energy future and the findings of a new study comparing economic outcomes of pro-development policies vs. regulatory proposals that will inhibit growth and opportunity in the energy sector. (The media release of the Wood Mackenzie studycan be read here.)
Kerrigan talked about the importance of energy to small businesses, touching upon the significant role entrepreneurs play in the energy sector and have played in America’s energy renaissance. She noted that, compared to the broader economy, new business creation and growth opportunities are much stronger in the energy sector. Kerrigan pointed out the importance of affordable energy to all small businesses and that low prices have been a lifeline during the currently unstable economy. Kerrigan said that innovation and global market expansion continue to be the big opportunities for the energy sector, but public policies need to support these opportunities and leverage America’s new global energy leadership.
Harvard Largely Gets It on Crude Exports: A recentEnergy & Entrepreneursblog post by chief economist Ray Keating reviews a recent Harvard Business and Boston Consulting Group report, “America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity: A Win-Win Plan for the Economy, the Environment, and a Lower-Carbon, Cleaner-Energy Future.” It adds to the list of valuable contributions to understanding the meaning of the energy revolution well under way in the United States. Keating highlights key economic points from the study, and ties in the role of small business.
Taking on Shale Skeptics: AnotherEnergy & Entrepreneursblog post by Keating looks at a new study by Mark Mills from the Manhattan Institute that rebukes the energy doubters. Keating notes: “For more than a century when it comes to energy production, two things can be counted on. First, doom-and-gloomers predict the looming end or demise of carbon-based energy sources, in particular oil. Second, the doom-and-gloomers turn out to be dead wrong due to incentives in the marketplace to push ahead with exploration, and new and improved technologies.” They lurk even today when it comes to the shale energy revolution.
How Many Employees Do You Have? Under Obamacare the Count is Not That Simple
Small business expert and SBE Council advisory board member Barbara Weltmanwrites that under the Affordable Care Act,you can’t rely on a simple head count to determine if your firm is subject to the employer mandate. “You need to determine an average each month throughout the year” using a complex formula to determinefull-time equivalents. So get out the calculator because the employer mandate kicks in on January 1, 2016.Read the full article here.
Business Tips & Trends News Highlights
If you missed last week’s “How To” articles, educational resources, and business news and success stories curated by SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan,you can access Business Tips & Trends News here.
President Obama Signs TPA Legislation, SBE Council Supports Bills to Improve Government Resources for Small Businesses
On June 29, President Barack Obama signed trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation. TPA gives the president an important tool for jump starting, negotiating, and bringing to conclusion trade agreements that will help entrepreneurs and small businesses access global markets.As SBE Council’s Karen Kerrigansaid in a media statementfollowing Senate passage of TPA on June 25:
“Entrepreneurs and small businesses compete in a global economy, but clear barriers exist that prevent us from accessing global markets. Trade barriers must be reduced to allow American entrepreneurs to take advantage of global opportunities. With 95% of consumers living outside U.S. borders and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power in foreign countries, forging trade agreements means creating new market opportunities for America’s small businesses.These agreements will lower tariff and non-tariff barriers, embed protections with respect to intellectual property, and bring regulatory cohesion to make exporting less costly and less complex for small businesses.”
SBE Council will be adding new features to ourGoing Global resources pagein the near future. It’s always a good time to explore opportunities in the global marketplace. Here’s aBasic Guide to Exporting, 11thEdition.
Export Coordination, Leveraging Trade Resources and Support: SBE Council is supporting two bills led by House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).The “Export Coordination Act (H.R. 2586), co-sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), aims to improve government programs and processes across agencies to help small businesses more easily and effectively navigate the export process. TheState Trade Coordination Act (H.R. 2587)requires the Secretary of Commerce to develop a comprehensive plan that better coordinates and leverages the wide array of support programs at the federal and state government levels.
More From Capitol Hill
Congress is on recess until the week of July 7, but SBE Council continues to meet and work with Capitol Hill staff on a variety of issues impacting our members.
Twitter Chat:On July 9 at 1:00 pm ET please join SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan and Media Director and small business expert Susan Solovic for a Twitter Chat on where key issues stand in the Congress, and what's on tap for the rest of 2015.Use the hashtag#SmallBizHillReport.Special guests will be announced soon!
Last week, there was action on important SBE Council-supported bills:
“Ratepayer Protection Act” (H.R. 2042) Passes U.S. House:The House passedthis legislationon June 24, which protects small businesses and all consumers against EPA’s intrusive and costly carbon regulations for existing power plants. SBE Council also signed a coalition letter in support of H.R. 2042,which can be found here.
IPAB Repeal Passes House: On June 23, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 1190, a billto repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)established by Obamacare.
House Advances DOTCOM Act: On June 24,the House passed H.R. 805, the “Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act” (DOTCOM Act). The bill, which received 378 “yea” votes, would fully study the consequences of giving up U.S. governance of the Internet. The U.S. Senate will also vote on this legislation.
SBE Council Endorses “Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015”: SBE Councilsent a letter to Senator Lisa Murkowski(R-Alaska), Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in support of S. 1312, a bill to lift the antiquated ban on crude oil exports.
Is the Federal Government Hitting Small Business Contracting Goals or Not?
On June 26,SBA celebratedthe federal government’s achievement in exceeding contracting goals with small businesses, but members of Congress are disputing the claim.An SBA communications piecesays that Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has worked “tirelessly” to hit the goal since she took over SBA's helm. SBA reported that 24.99% of federal contracting dollars went to small businesses in 2014, thus exceeding the 23% goal. SBA saysthis is the highest percentage ever reachedsince the goal was established in 1997.
House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) called the report “flawed” because (according to a media release) “the SBA continues to excludenearly $78 billion in federal contract dollars reported into the federal procurement data system, plus at least $6 billion to $10 billion that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) illegally excluded from the database. These aredollars spent by the federal government that should be subject to small business contracting goals. Moreover, the SBA scorecard focuses intensely on just one factor -- prime contract dollars. While this is certainly an indicator, it does not represent a holistic--and more accurate--depiction of the industrial base. For example, there are 100,000 fewer contractors today than there were four years ago and the number of contract actions being awarded to small businesses has fallen by nearly 60 percent. Furthermore, the Administration is still not meeting its subcontracting goal,even though SBA lowered the goal last year.”
On June 23 at a House Small Business Committee hearing,a VA official reported on “gross mismanagement and fraud” in how contract dollars are manipulated and reported. Mr. Jan Frye, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics at the Department of Veterans Affairs described the fraud as "one of the most deceptive schemes" he has seen in his 41 years of government service.
Senate Small Business Committee Chairman David Vitter (R-LA)has also focused on the issue of flawed reporting in small business procurement. On May 19, Chairman Vitter sent a letter to the SBA Administrator requesting detailed information about their reporting following an IG report, which found that contracts being counted towards the small business goal went to bigger businesses.
The Real Deal on Small Business and Spectrum Auctions
SBE Council chief economist Ray Keatinglooks at the controversy of spectrum auction set-asides going to big business. Big companies have been pleading to the FCC to carve out set-asides for an upcoming spectrum auction. Recently, the FCC said it would not change the rules to allow for the set-asides in the forthcoming auction. Keating argues that the best scenario for small business when it comes to spectrum allocation is to have open, competitive auctions.
Keating’s Corner: Economic Analysis and Commentary
The Supreme Court, ObamaCare, and What’s Next: SBE Council Chief Economist Ray Keatingnotes the Supreme Court’s activist opinionin the ObamaCare case, and touches on what it means going ahead.
Key Points on Personal Income Data:Keating reviewsthe latest personal income datafrom the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The news from the most recent two months was positive, with questions persisting over the longer haul.
Durable Goods Down:The latest SBE Council Fact of the Weekreports on the latest durable goods orders from the Census Bureau. Keating notes, “These numbers point to continued caution in terms of business investment.”
Three Points on Fed’s Loose Money Escapades: Keatinglooks at three key points in the Federal Open Market Committee statement. He writes, “Since the start of this year, at least, much speculation has swirled about when the Federal Reserve would finally increase short-term interest rates. To paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s much ado about nothing. Actually, that would be a best-case assessment.”
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