UPDATE, ACTIVITIES, RESOURCES & MORE
RIP Justice Scalia: What Next for SCOTUS?
What does the death of Justice Antonin Scalia mean for current cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and ones where decisions may have already been made but are not yet public?Read the Scotus Blogon what happens to this term’s close cases.
A Biz Journal column by Kent Hoover and Bloomberg television segment below cover the key cases that will have the most significant impact on business. To view the column and segment click on the photo.
SBE Council Joins WIPP WE Decide 2016 Initiative
Twitter Chat, Feb. 18 2-3 p.m. ET #WEDecideChat
As a partner inWE Decide 2016,SBE Council will outreach to our network in support of theWomen Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)led effort to give women in business a nationwide platform for sharing their concerns about the most critical issues they face. WE Decide 2016 is launching a weekly twitter chat, which begins this Thursday, February 18th. #WEDecideChat is a weekly discussion about the issues that impact female voters and women in business. This week’s kick-off chat is about the important role women are play in the 2016 presidential election. The chat will be hosted by @WEDecide2016 – follow now to know what each week’s topic will be! To participate in the chat use#WEDecideChat!
SBE Council president & CEO @Karen Kerrigan will participate in the inaugural Twitter Chat, and others chats to come!
We look forward to hearing your voice!
Small Business Policy Progress on Capitol Hill- KEY VICTORY on Internet Access Taxes
PERMANENT Internet Access Tax Ban/Customs Modernization Passes Senate with BIG VOTE: Taxing Internet access has been barred since 1998, but not etched permanently into law. After passing extensions eight times, this Congress finally sent President Obama a bill to make the ban permanent, which was included in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644). The broader bill modernizes customs procedures, another plus for entrepreneurs who operate globally. The House passed the bill in December, and the Senate voted 75-20 on February 11 to send it to President Obama’s desk. The President is expected to sign the legislation.SBE Council KEY VOTED H. R. 644, and many of you – our members and supporters - called your Senators to help make this vote a success. THANK YOU! Read SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan’smedia statement on passage of H.R. 644 here.
The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3442):This SBE Council supported billpassed the House on Feb. 11 (267-151).The legislation requires the U.S. Treasury Secretary to provide a more timely report to Congress about the public debt (for example when it will reach the statutory limit), and requires the Secretary to appear before the Congress to cover key details, including how the U.S. will meet debt obligations if the debt limit is raised.
Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, H.R. 2017.By a vote of266-144, the House passed H.R. 2017,which would provide food establishments with a flexible approach to calorie disclosures, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach mandated by the FDA. The ObamaCare menu labeling regulations are burdensome for pizzarestaurants,convenience stores, and grocery stores that have twenty or more locations. H.R. 2017 allows food establishments to provide calorie disclosures online or on a digital table. The bill also eliminates criminal penalties and preempts civil litigation for violations.Read SBE Council’s support letter here. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)authored an Op-ed in The Hillon why the legislation is important.
Kerrigan Testifies Before U.S. House on “Midnight Regulation”
On February 10, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on the topic of “Midnight Regulation: Examining Executive Branch Overreach.”As noted in her testimony, Kerrigan said the last-minute sprint to pass rules during the final year of an Administration is a bipartisan phenomenon.She said that on top of new regulationsand a slew of proposed rules that are currently in the pipeline, small business owners are concerned that the regulatory rush “could lead to more shortcuts in a process that is meant to look out for small businesses.”
Kerrigan pointed to regulators at the EPA, for example, who have ignored their legal obligations to assess small business impact during the rulemaking process. Even when such analysis shows that a proposed rule will harm small businesses and small entities, as in the Waters of the U.S. Rule, they often ignore their own findings and certify the opposite. Members of the Committee also discussed solutions. Several news outlets covered the hearing including the Washington Examiner, Fox News, E&E and The Hill, among others. See The Hill’s coverage here:“Transparency Takes Center Stage at Hearing on Midnight Regulations.”
The Telecomm Act at 20 Years
February 8 marked the twentieth anniversary of President Bill Clinton's signing of theTelecommunications Act of 1996. The Act was passed with large bipartisan majorities. SBE Council strongly supported this legislation back in 1996,as the promise of a deregulated and open market would mean greater choices and lower costs for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
So what’s happened since then? The pace of technological change has been remarkable, with entrepreneurs benefitting as consumers, innovators and competitors in the marketplace. Unfortunately,as SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating writes in this piece, the 1996 Act – with competition and reduced regulation at its core – seems to be lost on the current Federal Communications Commission.
Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
Susan on WSJ Live: Can Love and Work Mix?SBE Council’s small business expert and advocate Susan Solovicappeared on Wall Street Journal Live television on Feb. 11with Tanya Rivero to discuss relationships in the workplace, including going into business with your significant other. Susan provides smart guidelines along with things to think about. Watch the short segment by clicking the photo below.
The Critical Steps for Protecting Customer Data: Susan shares advice on protecting customer datain her latest Business Success Strategies piece.She writes that protecting this data takes good planning, training and vigilance because serious threats come from all sides, including: hardware, software, people and systems. Susan covers the four points of this threat in her piece.
This Week in Small Business:In Susan’s “news you can use” roundupshe points to Zoolander’s use of Instagram, which may have helpful insight for entrepreneurs. Even the New York Public Library has some recommendations for the small business owner!
Will Small Businesses Be Forced to Offer Retirement Plans?
Despite the fact that there are retirement plan options designed specifically for small businesses, such as SIMPLE-IRAs, many owners still find this benefit too costly and are concerned about the administrative hassles and fiduciary responsibilities. But things are changing on the policy front and in the marketplace, and small businesses may be coerced (in some states), and in other instances incentivized, to offer a retirement plan to their employees. Proposed federal regulations will also impact the cost of providing retirement plans. SBE Council advisory board member Barbara Weltmancovers what is happening at the state and federal levels.
GIPC Index: Countries Embrace Global Momentum to Strengthen IP
In a blog post,SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating reviews the U.S. Chamber’s 4thannual International IP Index (released last week). He writes that “half of the 38 economies benchmarked recognized the benefits of intellectual property (IP) and strengthened their IP system, in turn improving their overall score from last year’s Index,”according to the report.These 38 economies account for nearly 85% of global gross domestic product. Stronger IP means greater levels of investment, innovation, entrepreneurial activity, and quality job growth. The U.S. ranks #1 on the Index, which is published by the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center.
Keating’s Corner: Economic Analysis, Data and Commentary
Tax Reform Lessons From the States:SBE Council chief economist Raymond J. Keatingwrites that some states provide excellent lessonsof what can and should be done on the federal tax reform front. Keating looks toSBE Council’s latest report,“Small Business Policy Index 2016: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth” to highlight state efforts.
It’s the Economy and Bad Policy:In the latest SBE Council Fact of the Week, Keating looks at the latest Gallup results on the following question: What’s the most important problem facing the U.S. today? Yes, it’s overwhelmingly about the economy.
Obama’s Oil Tax: President Obama has been unrelenting in his policy attacks on the energy industry. The latest proposal to impose a $10 per barrel tax on oil is the latest to add to a long list of harmful proposals.Keating looks at this massive new taxon U.S. oil production, and what it means for U.S. small businesses and workers, and making small firms in the energy industry less competitive.
BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR KEATING
SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating not only writes on business, policy and the economy, but he is a respected novelist as well. In fact, his latest thriller, Murderer’s Row: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, was namedKFUO radio’s “BookTalk” Book of the Year 2015.
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