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2018 WIPP Policy Priorities
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2018 WIPP Policy Priorities

 

 

Create Parity for WOSBs in Federal Contracting

 

In 2015, WIPP pressed for – and achieved – the swift implementation of sole source authority to the WOSB Procurement Program. In 2016, WIPP worked to ensure that federal buyers fully utilize the WOSB program and that women-owned businesses seeking federal contracts take advantage of these opportunities. In 2017, WIPP successfully pushed for legislation to examine whether women and other small businesses are successfully winning “spots” on large, multi-year Multiple Award Contracts (MACs).  The bill was included in the National Defense Authorization Act.

  •  WIPP is now looking toward tackling parity for WOSBs in the General Services Administration’s (GSA) information technology space through a WOSB Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). GSA uses GWACs to allow other federal agencies to purchase IT in the most efficient and effective manner possible while enabling them to meet their socio-economic goals. According to the GSA, “using GWACs is a faster alternative to time-consuming and costly full and open competitions.”  Due to the continued popularity of these contracts and the increasing number of women-owned businesses selling IT to the federal government, GSA should create a WOSB GWAC. This action would present a tremendous opportunity for women-owned firms to contract with the government and provide federal agencies a new contract solution that would provide greater value to the taxpayer. 
  •  Additionally, WIPP is working to create a pathway to success for women-owned firms that out-grow small status and their ability to utilize set-aside programs to continue their prosperity in government contracting. WIPP has partnered with the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce on their Pathway to Growth initiative, which gives large small businesses more runway before transitioning out of the small business set aside program and into full and open competition.

 

Ensure Women-Owned Businesses Have Adequate Infrastructure Contract Opportunities

 

An infrastructure bill – in whatever form – provides increased opportunities for government contractors.  The Trump Administration released its infrastructure principles in February, seeking $200 billion in federal money, local and state tax dollars and private investment to generate $1.5 trillion in funding for repairing and improving our nation’s infrastructure.  The administration’s recommendations will be broken down into components in Congress and likely added to existing bills.

  • When crafting various infrastructure legislation, Congress should allow the transmittal of WOSB and small business goals contained in the Small Business Act to translate to every project.

 

Increasing Access to Capital for Women

 

Capital is the lifeline of business. For women, however, accessing capital continues to be difficult. According to Pitchbook, although women received 4.9% of all VC deals, the dollar amount of these deals was just over 2% in 2016.

 

  •  Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) could help mitigate the gender problem. Many women cannot gain the requisite portfolio managing experience to become a fund manager, leading to a cyclical exclusion of women managers – ultimately preventing women from lending to women. Creating an “Emerging Managers” track in the SBIC program and allowing these managers to engage in equity-based financing, would help develop a generation of female fund managers. These managers, in turn, would increase the VC opportunities for women-owned firms.
  •  WIPP will continue to advocate for the creation of a federal tax credit for angel investment mirroring state models would increase angel investment at the critical early stage.
  •  Traditional lenders are not meeting the needs of women entrepreneurs. WIPP will continue to support policies that encourage access to alternative financing options such as online lending and crowdfunding.

 

Modernizing Our Tax Code

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law early in the year, which will provide individuals and businesses with tax cuts for the FY2018 tax year.  In addition, the bill addressed a tax prioritiy for WIPP – the estate tax - doubling the exemption limits to $11.18 million for individuals and $22.36 million for married couples.  Congress, for the first time, addressed the taxation of pass-through entities (LLCs, S Corps and Partnerships), a hard-fought victory for WIPP.

  •  WIPP will monitor implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure women business owners are not faced with onerous compliance requirements. 
  •  We will continue to push for further modernization and simplification of the tax code to ensure deductions and credits are equitable no matter what the structure of the company.

 

Improving Access & Cost of Health Coverage

 

Small businesses face higher administrative and premium costs for health insurance. This puts women entrepreneurs at an inherent disadvantage, as health insurance is an important benefit to attract and retain employees.

  •  WIPP will continue to support pooling mechanisms like Association Health Plans (AHPs) as a pathway to increase access to coverage options and lower cost.
  •  We will support improvements to tax preferred accounts like Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), to provide women business owners with mechanisms to help them and their employees cover their health insurance costs.

 

Fairness in the Workplace

 

Key to the success of women owned businesses is human capital –  a dynamic workforce that meets the needs of an ever-changing business environment.  Government and business need to work together to ready a workforce that can meet those challenges.

  •  Beginning with early childhood education, inclusion of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and gig workers, all require a pivot in public policies.  These policy changes include taxation, education, privacy and labor laws. WIPP will urge Congress to appropriate funding and investment in STEM education in schools and also prioritize investment in cybersecurity workforce development and training to address the current shortage of cybersecurity talent.
  •  Women business owners are in a position of leadership when it comes to workplace equity.  It is well documented that on average, women are promoted at a lower rate than men and are still paid 18.2% less than their male colleagues.  WIPP believes fairness in the workplace should be the standard, where pay and advancement depends on the quality of work, not gender or the color of one’s skin.  We will promote public policies that can help correct inequities but the need for education to change societal biases is imperative to the success of the workforce.
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