November 10: Small Business Owners Demand Banks, Health Insurers, Oil Companies Come Clean on Dark Money
Small Business Owners to Banks, Insurers, Energy Companies: “How Are You Spending Our Money?”
Washington, DC—Small business owners in the Main Street Alliance network launched the “Business Against Dark Money” campaign today, calling on banks, health insurers, and oil companies to fully disclose their “dark money” spending – dues and contributions to trade associations and other third parties that can then be used for political purposes, often to advance big business interests at the expense of small businesses, without disclosure of the original source.
Click below for letters sent to national banks, health insurers, energy companies, and their trade groups (state level letters are available upon request; email firstname.lastname@example.org).
OIL AND GAS COMPANIES:
Business and individuals are fed up with high bank fees and the role large banks played in the financial collapse. You can join them on Nov 5th by closing your account at a big bank and moving it to a community bank or credit union.
Since the financial collapse the "too big to fail" banks have only gotten bigger, risking our economy further. Main Street Alliance members fought back against high interchange fees only to see them shifted to consumers. Small business lending has slowed to a trickle and foreclosures continue to strip wealth from homeowners and devastate communities.
Our partners at New Bottom Line have created a website to help people navigate the process of closing accounts at the big banks and finding a community bank or credit union. There is a page you can use to track how much money has been moved out of the big banks.
November 1: Small Businesses to Supercomm: Tax Reform Should Restore Lost Revenue, Not Reward Tax Dodgers
Click here to read the joint press release from the Main Street Alliance, Business for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council.
Click here to read the joint business letter to the Congressional Supercommittee.
See related quotes from Main Street Alliance leaders:
“Let me get this straight – the same corporate players that routinely use their market power to steamroll over small businesses are now asking us to foot the bill for their tax holidays?” said Aimee McQuilkin, owner of Betty’s Divine in Missoula, MT, referring to a push by the “WIN America Campaign” for a temporary or even permanent tax holiday for the return of off-shored profits. McQuilkin serves on the steering committee of the Montana Small Business Alliance, affiliated with the national Main Street Alliance network. “Enough is enough,” she added. “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should be paying your way.”
“At a time of unprecedented long-term unemployment, a glaring need for investment in our crumbling infrastructure and an educated workforce, and a realization that some of our largest banks and Fortune 500 companies are sitting on trillions of dollars – unwilling or unable to invest and hire American workers – our government has a responsibility to raise the revenues necessary to assure our economic recovery,” said Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon and co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon. “There’s no excuse for delay now, given the length and depth of our current economic crisis.”
On October 20, an all-star team of small business leaders from across the Main Street Alliance network made the trek to Washington, DC to represent the voice of Main Street small businesses in the nation’s capital.
Business owners came from Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington to participate in meetings on Capitol Hill. In a day and a half, the team conducted close to 20 meetings with Senate and House offices, including three face to face meetings with U.S. Senators.
The group held wide-ranging conversations with congressional offices, covering topics including job creation and regulations, revenues and investment, health care, immigration reform, and fixing the housing market.
Some Hill staffers acknowledged that it was helpful – and refreshing – to hear from real small business owners back in their home states and districts, and to hear business owners with a different perspective on topics like taxes and regulations than you hear from the inside-the-beltway business lobbies. Mission accomplished!
Here’s a quick taste of some of the issues the group discussed in meetings on Capitol Hill:
Job Creation & Anti-Regulatory Attacks
Despite all the rhetoric in DC about “regulations,” what small businesses need is customers – demand – not deregulation. The focus on rolling back regulations is counterproductive in two ways. First, it distracts from the real issue, which is rebuilding the small business customer base. Second, the rules and standards that are under threat of being rolled back (financial reform, clean air, health insurance market reforms) are ones that protect small businesses and the communities they rely on from mistreatment by big corporate interests. Rolling back these standards and rules would only shift more risk and more costs onto the shoulders of small businesses.
See MSA’s 10 “dos and don’ts” for job creation
Revenues and Taxes
On revenues and taxes, Main Street Alliance small business owners stand squarely in support of efforts to raise revenues by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending the abuse of off-shore tax havens, and generally ensuring that large corporations and the wealthy are paying their dues. As MSA Executive Committee member Kelly Conklin puts it, “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should be paying your way.” Raising revenues in these ways would generate resources for important investments in infrastructure and job creation, and it would level the playing field for small businesses (who don’t have access to things like off-shore tax havens) at the same time.
At the same time, MSA small business owners are strongly opposed to the push for a repatriation “tax holiday” for large multinational companies, or to giving big corporations a permanent tax holiday – and permanent incentive to off-shore jobs and profits – through what’s called a “territorial” tax system.
See the recent coalition letter MSA signed onto about tax reform
On health care, the MSA delegation discussed important advances in health care reform, and highlighted opportunities to continue building on health reform to maximize the benefits for small businesses.
The MSA delegation in DC also discussed the importance of a comprehensive approach to immigration reform for businesses, workers, and the economy. Enforcement-only policies like the mandatory E-Verify proposal currently in the House of Representatives would be bad for small businesses, bad for the workforce, and bad for the country’s bottom line.
See MSA’s fact sheet about the dangers of mandatory E-Verify
Fixing the Housing Market
On the importance of dealing with the mortgage crisis to create the space for consumer demand to bounce back and help drive the economic recovery, MSA’s small business owners believe more needs to be done. A newly announced program that may allow 1 to 2 million homeowners to refinance is a positive step, but with an estimated 11 million homeowners underwater in their homes, Congress and the Administration should advance proposals for mortgage modification and refinancing on a much larger scale to truly get at the problem of stifled consumer demand.
Click here for a formatted copy of this press release.
Mandatory E-Verify would be bad for businesses, bad for the workforce, and bad for the country's bottom line.
Business owners and business groups across the country are taking action to make their voices heard on this issue.
If you're a small business owner, click here to read and sign the business owners' statement.
If you represent a business organization, click here to read and sign the organizational letter.