Small Business on Capitol Hill
Lawmakers and others in the Capitol Hill community are in full swing this month addressing small business issues. Here are some highlights of recent action on the Hill:
Health Insurance: Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Wally Herger (R-Calif.) late last night introduced legislation aiming to improve an entrepreneur's ability to afford health insurance. The National Small Business Association says H.R 3660, the Equity for Our Nation's Self-Employed Act, would correct a significant error in the tax code that penalizes self-employed individuals.
Corporations currently can deduct the cost of premiums as a business expense and forego all payroll taxes on these expenses. The self-employed can't take that deduction and so must pay an additional 15.3 percent tax on their health insurance premiums. Small business is the only sector of the U.S. economy that experiences such a substantial tax penalty on the cost of their employer-provided health coverage.
Military: The Senate last night passed a bill to authorize funding for the Defense Department, but also includes language designed to expand business opportunities for veterans and to help reservists keep their businesses going during deployment. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who are chairman and ranking member of the Senate panel overseeing small businesses, sponsored the amendment. Separately, their panel is holding a hearing Wednesday morning on improving Internet access for small firms.
Access to Capital: The House Small Business Committee this week voted to adopt the Small Business Investment Improvements Act introduced by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight, to aid entrepreneurs in securing funding. H.R. 3567 would overhaul two Small Business Administration programs designed to aid small firms. It also would create the Angel Investment Program to offer seed capital. The panel is holding a hearing Thursday morning on the issue of small enterprises' access to money to grow their businesses. Meanwhile, a House Small Business subcommittee was scheduled to hold a hearing this morning on renewable energy tax incentive possibilities.
'No-Match' Social Security Regulations: Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation said it plans to file a brief urging the federal district court in northern California to require the Homeland Security Department to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act and conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis on its new "no-match" regulations. The rules require employers that receive a "no-match" letter from the Social Security Administration to fire the employee, or risk civil or criminal penalties, unless the discrepancy can be resolved between the SSA and the employee within 90 days. The rules aim to decrease the use of falsified Social Security numbers.
The lobbying group said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff certified these regulations without conducting a regulatory flexibility analysis to determine the rules' economic impact on small entities as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Separately, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy last week sent a letter to Homeland Security saying it believes the department's assessment that small businesses would not be affected by this "no-match" issue was wrong.
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Posted by: Raul Espinosa | September 29, 2007 7:57 AM
Posted by: Chuck Pietsch | October 1, 2007 2:21 PM
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