Florida Business Owners Gather to Support Medicaid Expansion, Ban the Box, ACA Tax Credit Expansions

February 2015 member meeting with bannerThe Main Street Alliance of Florida held their monthly meeting last week in Downtown Orlando to discuss the upcoming legislative session and ballot measures being presented to local City Commissions. 10 Central Florida business owners came together and discussed work surrounding the Coons-Merkley Small Business Tax Credit Accessibility Act, Medicaid Expansion, and Ban the Box legislation.
Members were excited to sign the letter urging local Representatives to support the Coons-Merkley Act that would expand tax credits to small businesses that offer employees health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  Members were most interested in changes to the duration a business can receive tax credits, and the inclusion of tax credits for dependents of business owners. Through outreach to existing contacts and work in the field signatures will be gathered for the letters, and the letters will be delivered by members to the offices of Congressmen Alan Grayson and Dan Webster, and Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.
Tax credits will help business owners provide insurance to their employees, but thousands will still be left without care while the state refuses to accept federal money to expand Medicaid. Hospitals and larger businesses have formed a coalition and are moving forward with a proposal that provides coverage to low income Floridians, but at a cost that many can't afford. The plan for Florida calls for mandatory premium payments by all individuals, including those below the poverty line.
February 2015 member meetingMain Street members in Florida are shocked that our state would turn down federal funding, and would instead move forward with a plan that forces the poorest Floridians to pay for their health care. Floridians have already paid federal taxes to cover the cost of Medicaid Expansion and small business owners want their tax money put to good use. Lives hang in the balance while the state delays accepting the funding offered.
Ban the Box refers to legislation that removes the question, “have you been convicted of a felony?” from job applications to reduce workplace discrimination and provide a fair chance at employment for all Floridians. Several members have made efforts to hire applicants with a criminal background and all of the members in attendance agreed that they would not make hiring decisions based on the applicants felony background, but would instead consider their experience. Ban the Box is not an attempt to hide a criminal record, that can all be revealed by a standard background check, but rather an attempt to give fair consideration to all applicants and allow a person the opportunity to interview for the position and explain their background in person.
Members in Orlando are excited to bring signed letters to the offices of their Representatives, attend City Commission meetings, and bring their voices to Tallahassee during legislative session. They committed to bringing their position on the issues to the public and providing their personal stories and opinions to legislators and reporters. With legislative session right around the corner members in Orlando are ready make sure legislation isn’t passed before decision makers have heard the voices of the small business community.

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