Archive: Regulation Legislation

Legislation Seeks to Revamp Manufacturing Program

The Senate Task Force on Manufacturing on Wednesday introduced legislation designed to aid a special, public-private network of centers that assist small and medium-sized manufacturers. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership helps manufacturers expand operations, become more efficient, increase sales and create jobs. The centers currently must provide two-thirds of their funding...

By Sharon McLoone | March 26, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Spending Bill Halts Women's Contracting Plan

The spending bill signed into law this week by President Obama stops a controversial regulation that critics said would have limited opportunities for women to compete in the federal marketplace. "President Obama has made clear that women's opportunities to compete for their fair share of federal contracts will be a...

By Sharon McLoone | March 13, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Big Spending Bill Includes Small Business

The big spending bill headed to President Obama's desk for final approval has several measures in it aiming to aid the small business community. The measure overall would provide fiscal 2009 funding for nine federal departments, covering all government activities other than defense and homeland security-related agencies, whose funding was...

By Sharon McLoone | March 11, 2009; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

SBA Reconsiders 'Goodwill' Loan Provision

The Small Business Administration is holding off on implementing tighter bank lending restrictions until it can more effectively study the matter after receiving a rash of complaints about its plan from the financial and small business communities. The agency this month notified banks offering its most popular loan program that...

By Sharon McLoone | February 28, 2009; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

House Panel Says Stimulus Package Benefits Entrepreneurs

The House Small Business Committee is lauding provisions in the just-passed economic stimulus package. Its chairwoman, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), called it "a victory for struggling entrepreneurs." The legislation (part a and part b - both pdfs) would, according to the committee: * Reduce to zero fees on SBA-backed loans....

By Sharon McLoone | February 13, 2009; 03:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

Health Care Costs Surface in Economic Stimulus Debate

The small business community is leveraging its voice in the economic stimulus debate to focus on an issue close to its heart -- health care reform. The Entrepreneurs' Organization recently surveyed its 7,000 members and found that more than 70 percent of its U.S.-based entrepreneurs were concerned about the rising...

By Sharon McLoone | February 10, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

House Hearing: Small Businesses on Economic Recovery

There's no shortage of ideas on how to generate more jobs to help boost the nation out of its economic doldrums, but many members of the small business community are waiting to follow the lead of the new administration before making any expensive or big-impact decisions. "Main Street can not...

By Sharon McLoone | January 14, 2009; 05:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

New TARP Bill to Aid Small Financial Institutions

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee has introduced a bill (pdf) reforming the program designed to shore-up the nation's ailing financial structure. It will require the Treasury to permit smaller community financial institutions to participate on the same terms as the large players that already have received funds....

By Sharon McLoone | January 9, 2009; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Consumer Law Clarified, but Small Firms Likely Unprepared

Owners of consignment stores, thrift stores and some toy stores are breathing a sigh of relief thanks to a new clarification from the Consumer Product Safety Commission over an upcoming regulation that could have abruptly put many of them out of business. However, many small firms that could be impacted...

By Sharon McLoone | January 9, 2009; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

IRS May Push for Tax Compliance in Virtual Worlds

The IRS soon may keep a closer watch on the thousands, if not millions, of small firms and the self-employed that have sprouted up in virtual worlds. The nation's taxpayer advocate, who recommends to the IRS how to improve the average consumer's tax-paying process, released her annual report Wednesday describing...

By Sharon McLoone | January 8, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Business Group Offers 'Wish List' to Lawmakers

A small business advocacy group is asking lawmakers to include certain provisions in the much-talked about upcoming economic stimulus bill. The National Small Business Association said the number of small business owners who believe the national economy is worse than it was five years ago jumped to 64 percent from...

By Sharon McLoone | January 8, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

SBA Updates Status of r3 Initiative

The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy on Thursday released its first six-month update on the status of its top government regulations for review and reform. The Regulatory Review and Reform, or r3 initiative, stems from demands from small business owners seeking transparency in the regulatory review and reform process....

By Sharon McLoone | August 28, 2008; 02:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Housing Bill Includes Sweeping Data Reporting Provision

The housing bill includes a sweeping provision requiring credit and debit card firms to report the transactions of certain businesses to the IRS, sparking privacy concerns and stirring the ire of the small business community. Small business lobbyists plan to aggressively push back on the language requiring firms like MasterCard...

By Sharon McLoone | July 29, 2008; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

Health Care Bill Garners Wide Range of Support

Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) unveiled their new health care bill today before a full meeting room in the House of Representative's Longworth Building. I chatted with Jim Helsel before the event where he gave a speech on behalf of the National Association of Realtors supporting the...

By Sharon McLoone | July 23, 2008; 05:04 PM ET | Comments (4)

House Small Business Panel to Unveil Health Care Bill

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez plans to unveil health care legislation this afternoon in a Capitol Hill news conference. The Small Business Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees Act (Small Business CHOICE) is designed to encourage small firms to join health insurance cooperatives. The bill's...

By Sharon McLoone | July 23, 2008; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

FCC Extends 'Do-Not-Call' Registry

The popular national "Do-Not-Call" registry designed to stop unwanted telemarketers from calling consumers has been extended by the government agency overseeing the nation's communications systems. The previous rules said the registrations would expire after five years. The registry was set to expire this month, but the Federal Communications Commission yesterday...

By Sharon McLoone | June 18, 2008; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

New Bill Would Create Standard Home-Office Deduction

Legislation introduced this week by Rep. John McHugh (R- N.Y.) would make it easier for home businesses to deduct home office expenses by offering a $1,500 standard deduction to eligible taxpayers. The Home Office Deduction Simplification Act (H.R. 6214) also would require that the amount be indexed for inflation. The...

By Sharon McLoone | June 11, 2008; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

AARP Helps Small Firms Advocate for Health Care Reform

The National Federation of Independent Business has teamed up with the largest advocacy group for older Americans to aggressively push health-care reform in Congress. AARP President Bill Novelli noted at NFIB's Washington conference today that while the two groups previously were at odds over health legislation, they have found common...

By Sharon McLoone | June 9, 2008; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Report: HUBZone Program Basically Ineffective

A government program designed to award federal contracts to small businesses in disadvantaged areas has grown significantly since its inception in 2000, but has not generated enough contract dollars to have a national impact, according to a new study (pdf) released today. While the program has the potential to be...

By Sharon McLoone | May 23, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

SEC Proposes New Filing Requirements

The Securities and Exchange Commission last week said it plans to formally propose that public firms must use a specific new technology to get information to investors faster -- and yes, the plan would eventually apply to public small businesses. The proposed rule would require that all U.S. companies provide...

By Sharon McLoone | May 19, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Small Business on Capitol Hill (and Beyond)

Here is the Small Business blog's monthly roundup of legislation, regulation and other government activity affecting small businesses. Both Earth Day and National Small Business Week occurred in April, and much of the activity centered on those events. Legislation The House approved legislation reauthorizing programs that provide federal support for...

By Sharon McLoone | May 9, 2008; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Experts Examine Small Firms' Role in U.S. Economy

Experts told the House Small Business Committee yesterday that times are tough for small firms with close ties to the housing market, but they're pretty good for those who have gotten cozy with the tech industry. Small businesses dominate the home building industry, according to Michael Hodgson, the owner of...

By Sharon McLoone | April 25, 2008; 02:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

House Passes Bill Supporting Small Business Innovation

The House on Wednesday approved legislation reauthorizing programs that provide federal support for new technologies emerging from private-sector small businesses. H.R. 5819 reauthorizes through 2010 the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research programs. The bill was passed 368-43. "Innovation is crucial for maintaining America's competitive lead...

By Sharon McLoone | April 24, 2008; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Small Businesses Grapple with Outdated Tax Code

The small business community is rapidly become the nation's Mighty Mouse. As the economy falters and large firms are downsizing, more entrepreneurs are springing up. But as their ranks grow so do their obstacles -- lack of affordable health care and rising gas prices to name a few, along with...

By Sharon McLoone | April 9, 2008; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Business Advocates Slam San Francisco Law

Some small business advocacy groups are riled up about a San Francisco health care law and are fighting to overturn it in the courts. The law, on the books since 2006, requires any private employer with more than 20 workers to contribute a minimum amount of money each quarter for...

By Sharon McLoone | March 31, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Advocacy Group Aims to Energize Health Care Debate

A small-business lobbying group launched a campaign this morning focusing on comprehensive health care reform. As part of the "Solutions Start Here" effort unveiled at the National Press Club, the National Federation of Independent Business released a set of 10 small business principles for health care reform. Health care should...

By Sharon McLoone | March 12, 2008; 02:55 PM ET | Comments (3)

Up at BAT, But It's A Long Way Home

Two lawmakers from Virginia say some states have gotten a little too greedy with business taxes and aim to fix that with a new bill. But they face at least one formidable critic. Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) have reintroduced a bill that they say is designed...

By Sharon McLoone | February 14, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lawmaker Questions Viability of Small Biz Budget

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee. (Photo by AP) With Valentine's Day approaching and "entrepreneur week" just around the corner, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) is asking the president and his administration "where's the love" when it comes to small businesses. The head of the...

By Sharon McLoone | February 11, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

SEC Agrees to Compliance Delay While It Conducts Study

The Securities and Exchange Commission has agreed to a one-year extension of small businesses' compliance with 2002 financial regulations - a plan that the agency's chairman announced in December before the House Small Business Committee. The extension would apply to smaller public companies beginning with fiscal years ending on or...

By Sharon McLoone | February 1, 2008; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Business Advocates Push for Piece of Stimulus Plan

Lawmakers and lobbying groups with an eye on small business are working to ensure that a new economic stimulus package will include benefits for small firms. The deal includes provisions that would allow faster tax write-offs for corporate investment and immediate tax deductions for small-business investment in plants and equipment,...

By Sharon McLoone | January 25, 2008; 04:32 AM ET | Comments (3)

SBA's Preston Fails to Sway Lawmakers

Lawmakers on Wednesday delved into whether the Small Business Administration is a beleaguered federal agency trying to put a quiet end to a festering seven-year issue governing how federal contacts are awarded to women-owned firms, or an entity that's truly interested in helping women get ahead in business. That was...

By Sharon McLoone | January 16, 2008; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Coverage Continues on Criticism of SBA's Proposal

In today's Business section Washington Post staff writer Kendra Marr covers the uproar over the Small Business Administration's new proposal to change contracting rules governing women-owned businesses. In its proposal, released two weeks ago, the agency identified just four industries in which it said women-owned small businesses are underrepresented and...

By Sharon McLoone | January 7, 2008; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Women's Groups Lambaste SBA Plan

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that's just about the reaction that women's business groups are having to the Small Business Administration's new plan I wrote about last week. The latest to weigh in is the National Association of Women Business Owners, which called the government's plan...

By Sharon McLoone | January 2, 2008; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

What a Bright Idea

The light bulb has become a staple of our daily lives and a classic design permeating media and art from cartoons to canvas, but with the new energy bill the president signed today, the familiar incandescent bulb will be phased out beginning in 2012. For firms that keep the lights...

By Sharon McLoone | December 20, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Energy Bill Includes Small Business Provisions

The cost of heating oil is taking a bite out of many small business budgets as wintry weather blankets much of the nation, but some relief may be on the horizon. The Senate on Thursday passed an energy bill, H.R. 6, that includes a handful of provisions addressing the small...

By Sharon McLoone | December 14, 2007; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Businesses To See Extension on Accounting Rules

The nation's smallest public companies are going to get a one-year extension on complying with new accounting rules, according to testimony Wednesday from the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox told the House Small Business Committee that his agency plans to postpone for a...

By Sharon McLoone | December 12, 2007; 04:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Accountability Hearing Planned for SBA

The Senate's small business committee is taking the Small Business Administration to task once again on accountability issues. In a letter it sent to the agency today, announcing a January hearing, panel Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and top Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, outlined pressing issues for the media and...

By Sharon McLoone | December 5, 2007; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Small Business on Capitol Hill (and Beyond)

Here is the Small Business blog's monthly roundup of legislation, regulation and other government activity affecting small businesses: Legislation * A new bill addressing small business lending and oversight was introduced by the chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate's small business committee. Panel Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia...

By Sharon McLoone | November 30, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Business on Capitol Hill (and Beyond)

* The House on Tuesday, by a vote of 402-0, passed the Senate version of H.R. 3678, which extends a moratorium on Internet access taxes for seven years. The House on Oct. 16 had voted to prohibit the taxes for four years, but this week's vote supersedes that. * The...

By Sharon McLoone | November 2, 2007; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

EPA Emission Plan Spurs Small Biz Concern

The Environmental Protection Agency is mulling over making new national emission standards (pdf) for hazardous air pollutants that could affect small businesses like auto body shops. The new standards would primarily govern businesses that engage in paint stripping and surface coating, however, the EPA's list of some of the industries...

By Sharon McLoone | October 29, 2007; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Groups Praise Extension of Internet Tax Ban

Small business groups praised the House vote this week that temporarily extended a moratorium on Internet access taxes. In a 405-2 vote on Tuesday night, the House approved H.R. 3678 that extends the expiration date of Nov. 1, 2007 to November 2011. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who sponsored a bill...

By Sharon McLoone | October 18, 2007; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

House Passes Controversial Small Biz Bill

The House passed a controversial bill Thursday night that would enable small firms that have venture capital backing to qualify for all federal small business programs, including procurement contracts and special research grants. The measure swiftly scooted through the approval process since Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) introduced it Sept. 18....

By Sharon McLoone | September 28, 2007; 06:23 PM ET | Comments (4)

SBA Seeks Input for Regulation Reform

The Small Business Administration is looking for input from small firms to help it identify federal regulations that should be revised because they are ineffective, duplicative or outdated. To that end, the SBA's Office of Advocacy launched the Regulatory Review and Reform Initiative, or "r3" on Friday. Any small business...

By Sharon McLoone | September 28, 2007; 01:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

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...

By Sharon McLoone | September 26, 2007; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (2)

Hill Hearings Scrutinize SBA for Not Implementing Programs

Lawmakers this week lambasted the Small Business Administration for repeatedly failing to comply with laws designed to aid women-owned businesses. House Small Business Committee Chairwomen Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) grilled SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza, saying the agency is sending the message "we're not interested in doing business with women." Velazquez...

By Sharon McLoone | September 21, 2007; 12:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Women's Business Centers in the Spotlight

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are turning their sights to women's business issues with an eye on Women's Business Centers (pdf), a program partly funded by the Small Business Administration. The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee has scheduled a Sept. 20 hearing on the future of women's small business programs...

By Sharon McLoone | September 17, 2007; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Inventors Wary of House-Passed Patent Bill

The House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill to update the nation's patent system, legislation that has many small inventors worried that it will harm their ability to innovate. About 40 percent of the nation's patents are held by small businesses, according to the Innovation Alliance, a group made...

By Sharon McLoone | September 7, 2007; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ruling in ADA Case Is Victory for Small Firms

A federal court last week ruled in favor of small business owners when it found that a case filed against a Southern California restaurant was without merit. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sided with the Mandarin Touch Restaurant, determining that the plaintiff and his attorney were taking up...

By Sharon McLoone | September 6, 2007; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

House Clears 2 Small Business Bills

The House yesterday afternoon passed two small business bills -- one aiming to help small firms gain a larger voice in trade negotiations and the other reforming a loan program administered by the Small Business Administration. The SBA Trade Programs Act (H.R. 2992) would require the agency's international trade office...

By Sharon McLoone | September 5, 2007; 02:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small Business Tries Not to Fall into 'Tax Gap'

Small business advocates who keep tabs on Washington policy have been marshalling forces against recent administration efforts to close the "tax gap." The gap is the difference between the amount of tax that taxpayers owe the U.S. government and the amount that the IRS collects. Congress has been pressuring the...

By Sharon McLoone | August 29, 2007; 02:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

EnviroCAB Receives Recommendation for More Taxis

A quick update on a blog post I did a few weeks ago on enviroCAB - a proposed new taxi service in Arlington, Va., that would operate a fleet of hybrid-only vehicles. The company, announced today that it has received a recommendation from Arlington County Manager Ron Carlee to operate...

By Sharon McLoone | August 17, 2007; 01:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

GAO Reports Focus on Minority Businesses

The Defense and Treasury departments are among government entities that have been remiss in granting contracts to disadvantaged and minority-owned advertising agencies. A Government Accountability Office report (pdf) released Monday found that four federal departments and one agency paid more than $4 billion for advertising from fiscal 2001 to 2005, but did...

By Sharon McLoone | August 14, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reaction to the Minimum Wage Increase

The nation's federal minimum wage got a boost late last month and the small business community appears torn over its impact. H.R. 2 boosted the wage from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour beginning July 24. The minimum wage hike will be phased in to ultimately reach $7.25 in 2009. The...

By Sharon McLoone | August 13, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lawmaker Takes Steps to Reform Credit-Card Industry

As more small firms turn to credit cards as a means to finance their businesses, lawmakers and others are more closely examining the need for more transparency in the credit-card industry. The chair of a House subcommittee overseeing financial issues on Friday offered four principles to serve as the foundation...

By Sharon McLoone | August 3, 2007; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Capitol Hill Grab Bag

There's been a handful of interesting developments on Capitol Hill during the last couple of weeks that could affect small businesses. It's a mixed bag - some of the issues affect small businesses in general and some may affect just a portion, but I pass them along in case they...

By Sharon McLoone | July 31, 2007; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Small Firms Lament State of Government Contracting

Witnesses at a July 18 Senate committee hearing decried the state of government contracting for small firms, saying poor data and lax enforcement of rules are exacerbating the problem. One of their chief concerns was not enough contracts were making their way to small firms. During the hearing, Sen. John...

By Sharon McLoone | July 25, 2007; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (1)

Proposal May Hurt Office-Supply Firms

Small businesses that provide nearly 80 percent of government-purchased office supplies may be in danger of losing their contracts if a General Service Administration proposal takes effect. The agency has recommended that office supplies be eliminated from the Global Supply Stock Program, which is a one-stop shop for government purchasers...

By Sharon McLoone | July 20, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Small Business Advocates Push Credit Card Reform

Many small businesses are foregoing bank loans and turning to credit cards as a means to run their operations, and that could mean trouble, according to small business advocates. "There has been a wave of bank consolidation and many small business owners are less likely to have access to an...

By Sharon McLoone | July 19, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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