Small Biz Open Mic
How is Washington, D.C. Affecting Your Business?
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As a start-up business, we would have expected at a minimum the government would just stay out of the way - that would be most helpful. Most govt. (federal and state - for us OH) legislation over the past 5 years has benefited big business mostly, and made things harder for small business that employs 77% of the working population and creates virtually all the growth. Obamacare is a major drag on our growth and available working capital. Growing taxes are sucking our coffers dry. Regulation and paperwork are burying us. Not sure how much longer we can sustain the headwinds of government. Stop trying to help - you're making it worse!
Small Business Owner (Cincinnati, OH)
ObamaCare is a perfect example of government gone wild with other peoples money. I employ less than 50 people and provide good health insurance policies to all full timers even though I am not required to do so. These are BCBS policies with low out-of-pocket expenses. Every one of my employees has recently received a letter informing them that their policies will be cancelled because they do not conform to "government guidelines". As we begin to look at replacement policies, we see that both monthly costs and out of pocket expenses with both skyrocket. I will have to cap my contribution and pass all extra burden on to the employee. This will definitely hurt every one of them.This is a totally absurd government monstrosity.
Scott Marsh (Ijamsville, MD)
My husband and I own a small manufacturing company. We have contributed more than 50% towards our employees health insurance premiums for over 10 years. We have absorbed double-digit increases in premiums and offered high deductible plans in order to allow our employees and their families to be covered at a manageable cost. The plan that we offered in 2013 is considered "non-compliant" with the ACA. A "comparable" plan that is compliant will result in an average 27.9% premium increase for 2014. We cannot afford our portion and my employees cannot afford theirs. The delays in getting rates to employers will mean that we don't have enough time to make a well-considered decision on what to offer (if anything) to our employees. I spend more time on insurance issues than I do on running my business. How is this better for anyone?
Nancy Williams (Cheshire, CT)
WE CREATE THE JOBS. Unfortunately almost everything that government does subtracts from our ability to create more jobs. The ridiculous amount of regulations, the ever increasing tax burdens, the absolute catastrophe that is the Obamacare plan, all of this hinders our ability to expand business and to create jobs. Back-off leave us alone, lower the taxes, the free market will insure that employees are not only paid well but also treated well. We are not stupid, we realize as business owners that if we do not provide a good safe working environment with good wages and benefits then our company will not succeed we do not need you to mandate how we treat employees or how we manufacture products. Yes, there are and always will be unscrupulous characters that will abuse the system, fine prosecute those individuals, don't punish all of us because of a few bad apples. Allow us to have the freedoms that this nation is supposed to have, get out of the way, go do the job that you were supposed to be doing and let us do ours. We can turn this economy and this country around in as little as one year if government would just get out of the way.
Richard Anderson (Auburn, CA)
I have a small manufacturing business in Virginia. I have always offered health coverage to my full time employees. At first I paid 100% of the employees part and had to change that to 90% when the economy down turned. I had a meeting last week with my agent and we worked on trying to fill out the government notification that must be sent to the employee by October 1st of this year. In doing this we had to have the cost of insurance so we filled out Anthem Blue Cross's financial calculation sheet using the same coverage we currently have. The cost for coverage went from $37,850.00 per year to $188,000.00 per year almost a 500% increase. I can't afford to pay this amount! My agent said I could stop offering coverage and let the employee go to the exchange to get coverage. I feel offering insurance has helped me keep good people and this may cause me to lose them. We are a small group of people that like working together and the ACA law could have significant negative effects on my people and company. What are small businesses to do. We had good coverage and were able to barely afford it, now it is out of our hands!! and out of control!
David Carpenter (Wytheville, VA)
Southwest Specialty Heat Treat, Inc.
Small businesses are started and funded by INDIVIDUALS--with their own monies--either raised through savings, angel investors or loans. Many mortgage their own homes in order to raise funding for their businesses. Would you be willing to put all of your life's investment at risk in order to be micro-regulated and told how you are allowed to spend your own money? Would you be willing to be miicro-regulated and told who you can hire, who you can or cannot background check in order to protect your investments and who you can or cannot lay off if you can no longer afford to operate in the current economy? We have found we are now facing a 20% increase in workman's compensation and liability costs making it virtually impossible for a smaller business to hire employees and expand. This doesn't even take into consideration health care or other benefits we might want to provide, taxes or other penalties or regulations imposed by current laws. The more taxation and regulation, the less business owners are likely to play. This is why the economy continues to remain stalled.
Kelli Waxman (Phoenis, AZ)
National Security Consulting & Investigations PLLC
We are one of the few home lenders in our market. I literally know all of the customers that come through our front door. A recent FDIC study found that in 629 counties across the nation — nearly a fifth of all counties — community banks are the only banking presence. Without community banks, many of Nebraska’s small towns and rural areas would have NO access to banks and the credit and services they provide. We have discussed dropping home lending (20% of our loans) due to upcoming compliance costs associated with home loan compliance! The margins are being squeezed and the liability grows with every regulation. Who will make the $3,500.00 home loans in our small community if we quit? The impact of regulation is the critical point. Smaller banks lack the resources and scale of larger firms to absorb the costs of compliance and, therefore, are disproportionately impacted by regulation. The Dodd-Frank Act, new capital regulations known as Basel III, SAFE Act, and multiple other regulations, have dramatically increased regulatory compliance costs to community banks at a time when every dollar of profitability matters and margins are at their smallest. It is critical that community banks receive help now by providing common-sense regulatory relief. For example, community banks should be exempt from the Dodd-Frank Act. Regulation and regulators should adjust to the smaller scale and more straightforward activities and operations of community banks. Please support total exemptions for small, rural financial institutions.
Clark Hervert (Ord, NE)
First National Bank in Ord
I'd wholeheartedly support any efforts to streamline the tax code and reduce the beaucracy that small business owners have to deal with. I own a small government contracting company, and am in the middle of a full blown DCAA audit, just finished an OFCCP audit, and two tax 'reviews' within the last quarter --- of course this all means bringing in the outside consultants and paying them instead of doing 'productive' work. I can't imagine how productivity would skyrocket (and REAL costs would go down) if the tax code were simply "give me 15% of what you earned" (or whatever number makes the budget BALANCE).
Van Sullivan (Huntsville, AL)
I am fully in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and any other project that promotes energy stability in the is country and produces jobs and expands the tax base. I feel that if good projects such as this one are left alone, they will take a lot of the financial pressure off the economy and allow improved growth. It benefits us all.
Huey Segura (Breaux Bridge, LA)
Bates RV Rentals
With the Affordable Care Act and now the impending tax changes, our small service firm will continue to lose employees to the largest companies in our area. Increasingly, it seems that only the largest employers (including government entities) can take advantage of economies of scale when seeking health care and in managing increasingly complex tax schedules. I appreciate the spirit of care and fairness that seems to motivate these changes, but the massive administrative burden to ensure these goals are met is driving the workforce away from small business.
Andrea Egger (Anchorage, AK)
The most important obstacle to growth that small businesses face, especially those that have S Corp or LLC status, is the fact that we are taxed on our businesses' net income whether said income flows to our pockets or not. That means using precious cash to pay "PERSONAL" income taxes that could otherwise be used to hire new employees, train existing employees, develop new products, purchase capital equipment, etc. We should only be taxed on income that does indeed flow to our pockets, which would free up cash resources to grow our businesses.
Nate Rubin (Chula Vista, CA)
Vantage ID Applications, Inc.
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