Monday, February 26, 2007
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 6:14 AM
To: Small Business California
Subject: Survey Results and SB California Bills
Our survey results are in. We received 420 responses and the results were as follows:
1.The Rising Cost of Health Care- For the third year this was number 1 with 89% saying it was a top priority or high priority.
2.Quality of Public Education. 76% top or high priority.
4. Workers Compensation and Immigration- 66%
So this will the agenda for Small Business California for 2007.
Other interesting results were that 60% of the respondents supported employers,employees and government being required to pay for health insurance, 97% supported requiring state agencies to consider the impact of regulations before final regulations are issued and 91% supported expanding vocational education.
You can get the results in detail by going to www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org
Last week was a crazy week in Sacramento as all bills needed to have backing by last Friday. This was a problem because hundreds of bills did not have the language from legislative council as late as Thursday. Small Business California is sponsoring two bills AB 1694[ LaMalfa] which deals with return to work policy and SB869[Ridley Thomas] which deals with workers compensation fraud. We will need your support on these as they come to committee and we need to thank Assemblyman La Malfa and Senator Ridley Thomas for introducing these bills.
One big disappointment was that we did not get introduced a bill that would allow most small business owners who have a 125 plan to be able to take the same tax break for themselves that their employees enjoy. This even though we pay for them, administer them and under the Governors and Speaker Nunez health proposals will be required to buy them. This is just not right and small businesses around the state should be outraged.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2007 6:39 AM
To: Small Business California
Subject: Small Business California Activities
Small Business California has been very busy recently and I wanted to take a moment to give you some updates.
First the National Association of Remodeling Contractors [California Chapter] will be joining as an affiliate member. We welcome them and look forward to a long relationship in promoting small business interest in Sacramento.
Second we have hired a lobbyist Lori Kammerrer of Kammerer & Company. This will help us with our Sacramento presence. I have known Lori for over 10 years and she will be of great help in not only moving our legislative agenda, but putting on seminars and providing us information on what is happening in Sacramento.
Third you may not know that we are affiliated with the National Small Business Association. I am the Vice Chair of Advocacy. Last week I attended a meeting in Scottsdale where a conference was held to set the agenda for the Association. One issue that is really going to be important for small business is the so called "Tax Gap" where the IRS will be going after small businesses to try and collect over $300 billion in unpaid taxes. While NSBA agrees that small businesses should pay what they owe they are very concerned that small businesses around the country will be the subject of audits. In their issues statement on this they say, "Honest small business taxpayers are especially at risk of being subjected to to needless and unwarranted regulatory burdens in an attempt to capture a few bad apples that do not fulfill their tax obligations. Small firms could be targeted and penalized by the IRS for small and unintentional transgressions".
NSBA is setting up a website www.preventirsabuse.org
Please also visit www.NSBA.biz for more information about the organization
Last, we will be closing our survey February 20th. We have over 400 respondents so far and I would really like to see the total go to over 500. If you haven't done so already please go to www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org and complete the survey. Also forward this informatoin on to others.
We will release the results of the survey next week and have had a number of media people and legislators looking to hear from people like you about the issues that effect small business.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 6:45 AM
To: Small Business California
Subject: One More Week to Take the Small Business Survey
Time is running out to take our small business survey. Over the past three years, legislators and opinion leaders have used our survey to set policy, this is a great chance for you to let elected officials know what issues matter to small business. Already the LA Times and other media organizations have mentioned the small business survey and legislators are looking for its release to determine where small business owners stand on a variety of important issues. Right now we have close to 400 responses and there are some very interesting trends developing.
We will be continuing the small business survey for one more week, until February 20, 2007,
so please take five minutes and fill out the survey today. You can access the survey by going to www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org .
Please also forward this information to any other small business owners you may know.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Small Business California (SB-Cal) is in the process of doing its third annual survey. This survey is used to set the agenda for the year for SB-Cal.
Last year the priority issues were health insurance, workers compensation, education/workforce, infrastructure, regulations and energy. Please visit our website http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/ for our accomplishments in 2006.
You can help by going to our website http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/ and completing the survey. The results of the survey will be sent to every state legislature, the Governor, and the media. Please take a moment.
Small Business California Legislation
Small Business California has been extremely busy in Sacramento. We are sponsoring three bills, which you should know about, because we will be coming to you later in the year asking for you to write letters of support.
The first bill is a tax credit for business owners that set up a 125 (cafeteria) plan. 125 plans are set up by employers and allow employees to pay health insurance premiums, health insurance deductibles, co-pays etc. with pretax dollars. The problem is that in pass through organizations, (sole proprietors, partnerships, S corporations, etc.) the owners of these businesses cannot take the benefits like their employees. This bill would allow owners to take these same benefits.
This is a simple fairness bill. It just makes sense that if an employer (owner) pays for a 125 plan and administers the plan that they should be treated the same as their employees.
The second bill would address the issue of some businesses not providing workers compensation coverage for their employees, creating an unleveled playing field for legitimate businesses. The bill would require the Economic Development Department to send to the Fraud Commission in the Department of Insurance a list of employers. It would also require the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Board to send the Fraud Commission all the employers that are providing workers compensation insurance. The Fraud Commission would then do a crosscheck and for those that are not providing coverage take steps to get them to provide coverage.
The third bill would address a problem that has arisen in the workers compensation reforms. Under current return to work regulations businesses with 50 or more employees can have their employee's benefit payments reduced by 15% if they provide the employee the opportunity to return to work. If they do not provide this, their disability payment is increased 15%. The problem is that the employer must provide employment for 12 months.
This clearly is impractical for a number of businesses especially those in the agricultural, entertainment, retail, and construction sectors where jobs are short term. This bill would eliminate the 15% increase if the job were short term.
We will continue to report to you the progress of these bills and hope you will support us in our efforts to get these bills passed and signed by the Governor.
For the last two years the ever-increasing cost of heath insurance has been the number one issue for small businesses in California. Small Business California has played an active role in the health debate.
We have met with Senator Perata and Speaker Nunez’s office regarding their bills. We have also met numerous times with the Governor's office and I was on the panel when the Governor announced his proposal.
Small Business California’s position is that cost containment must be addressed and the cost of health insurance must be reduced. Future increases must be at or below the inflation rate.
If this accomplished, Small Business California has taken the position that small businesses would be willing to pay something towards their employee’s health insurance along with contributions by employees and government.
Small Business California will continue to be at the forefront of the debate. Please visit our website http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/ for our position paper on this issue.
Flex Your Power
Flex Your Power is looking for small businesses that should be highlighted with an award because they have acted to save energy.
Does your business have unique ways that you've saved on fuel costs while still serving your customers well?
Have you invested in energy efficiency and have a good story to tell regarding other benefits you didn't realize would come your way? (I'm thinking of my local service station where they used a PG&E program to change their lighting and saved a bundle but they improved the QUALITY of the lighting to a major degree!)
Or, does you company actually manufacture or otherwise supply technologies that save energy and help other small businesses profit as a dividend?
There is one thing we know for sure. Small businesses are often just too busy to do more than to run the business. That said, I hope you'll take a minute to consider asking SB-Cal to nominate your business for an award.
We'll do all the paperwork and call you to get information.
Call me directly at my cell 510-459-9683 if you'd like to be nominated for a Flex Your Power award in one of the categories below.
Hank Ryan, Executive Director – Small Business California
5TH ANNUAL FLEX YOUR POWER AWARDS APPLICATIONS
(DUE MARCH 15, 2007)
There's never been a more important time. There's never been a more important reason.
Conserving energy not only cuts costs, but also reduces emissions that lead to global warming. Join the ranks of outstanding leaders in California who know the time to fight global warming is now.
Flex Your Power seeks to recognize businesses, local, state and federal governments, farmers, water districts and institutions that understand that saving energy means saving money and the environment. If your organization is making steps to reduce energy use, please tell us your story by applying for a Flex Your Power Award.
Awards will highlight leaders in each of the following categories:
- Energy Efficiency
- Demand Response
- Education and Leadership
- Innovative Products and/or Services
APPLY NOW! Visit http://www.fypower.org/feature/awards/ learn how.
AB 32 Climate Change Legislation
SB-Cal offers "OP ED" piece regarding California's AB 32 Climate Change legislation.
(click here: http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/SF_Examiner_OP_Ed.pdf).
In an effort to develop a long term solutions based approach to the California's Climate Change legislation, AB 32, we've published an "OP ED" in the SF Examiner that defines our working plan. (see link: http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/SF_Examiner_OP_Ed.pdf).
Small businesses are a major part of the "demand" side of energy use. Pro-active small business investments in energy efficiency require three main elements:
- Accurate energy savings information, preferably verifiable via Internet monitoring where possible.
- Access to capital like On Bill Financing so as to remove cash flow issues that often block energy efficiency investments.
- Regulations that encourage small businesses to invest in energy efficiency.
The "OP ED" (see link http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/SF_Examiner_OP_Ed.pdf) article points out one simple way California regulators may encourage energy efficiency investments by CA small businesses. If there were a way to even slightly accelerate the processing time for liquor permits in return for proof of $2500 in Energy Star food service or refrigeration equipment purchases, businesses would have ample reason to look into these purchases at the right time, before the business is operating. This regulatory adjustment is consistent with other programs offered by the CA Dept of Alcoholic Beverage Control and does not call for any additional costs.
Hank Ryan will be traveling throughout CA in the coming months to speak to small business groups and other interested organizations on this issue. If your group would like to host Mr. Ryan for a 30-minute (including Q&A) presentation, please email to:firstname.lastname@example.org