April 12: Report: Tax Haven Abuse Shorts U.S. Treasury to Tune of $2,116 for Every Small Business in America

Click here to view formatted copy of this release.

CONTACT: Rachel Tardiff, rachel[at]fitzgibbonmedia.com


Main Street Alliance joins U.S. PIRG, Rep. Van Hollen, Business for Shared Prosperity to release report highlighting cost of tax haven abuse to small businesses

** State by state numbers on cost of tax haven abuse to small businesses available **

Washington, DC – On Thursday morning, the Main Street Alliance joined U.S. PIRG, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Business for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council at a Capitol Hill press conference releasing U.S. PIRG’s new report “Picking Up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens.”

According to the report, tax haven abuse by U.S. corporations shortchanges the U.S. Treasury of revenues by an average of $2,116 for every small business in America (using Census numbers for businesses with fewer than 100 employees). Click here to read the report (small business section on page 10, state by state tables on pp. 17-18).

“When big corporations use loopholes and tax havens to avoid paying taxes, they’re robbing our country of the revenues we need to invest in our future and support small businesses,” said Aimee McQuilkin, owner of Betty’s Divine, an independent clothing boutique in Missoula, Montana and a leader with the Montana Small Business Alliance and Main Street Alliance. “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should pay your way.”

Joseph Rotella, owner of Spencer Organ Company in Waltham, Massachusetts and a leader with Business for Shared Prosperity, spoke at the report release event on Capitol Hill. “While I’ll be paying my taxes – investing in the public infrastructure and services that underpin our economy – many profitable large corporations will be paying a lower tax rate than me or not paying taxes at all,” Rotella said. “That puts small businesses at a competitive disadvantage and undermines our nation. We need to stop the tax haven abuse that lets big corporations avoid paying their fair share and gives them an unfair advantage in the marketplace.”

According to a Senate investigation, the U.S. Treasury loses an estimated $100 billion a year due to tax haven abuse, with $60 billion of that being tax avoidance by U.S. corporations.

In a recent scientific survey of 500 small business owners nationwide, nine out of ten small business owners say U.S. multinationals’ use of accounting loopholes to shift profits to offshore subsidiaries to avoid taxes is a problem. Three quarters of small business owners say their small business is harmed when loopholes allow big corporations to avoid taxes. And more than two thirds of small business owners believe big corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes. Full survey results are available here: http://bit.ly/report-taxes

The Main Street Alliance, Business for Shared Prosperity, and other business groups have signed on in support of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and the CUT Loopholes Act, bills sponsored by U.S. Senator Carl Levin to rein in tax haven abuse and recover lost revenues.

Click here to read the “Picking Up the Tab” report: http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/picking-tab

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Straight Talk on Taxes with Small Business Owners

With Tax Day around the corner, tax policy is front and center this week. So are claims about how changes to the tax code will affect small businesses. The Main Street Alliance released a pair of new fact sheets in its "straight talk" series separating truth from fiction when it comes to small business and taxes. One fact sheet focuses on the Buffett Rule, which would ensure that taxpayers earning over $1 million a year pay a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent. The other fact sheet focuses on corporate taxes and small business views on corporate tax contributions.

Read the new "Straight Talk on Taxes" fact sheets:
The Buffett Rule and Small Business
Corporate Taxes and Small Business 

Daughter of Auto Shop Owners Speaks on Supreme Court Steps, Tells Story of Family Business

Helen Dally, whose parents own an auto repair shop in Oregon, spoke at a press conference on March 27 outside the Supreme Court, sharing how the Affordable Care Act is helping her get health coverage and helping her family’s business. Her parents’ auto shop is benefiting from lower premiums and a new tax credit thanks to the ACA, calling into question a challenge to the health law from a group that claims to be “the voice of small business.”

“The Affordable Care Act has thrown my parents’ business a lifeline,” Dally said. “Last year, instead of a double digit increase, their premiums went DOWN 3 percent. Plus, they qualified for the ACA’s small business tax credit – and got a credit of $12,900. My dad says the Affordable Care Act is ‘like a time machine’– rewinding their health insurance costs to what they paid in 2007.”

“The Supreme Court should protect these benefits and uphold the law,” Dally added. “As my parents say, we can’t afford to go back to a system that stacks the deck against small businesses. We’ve got to move forward. By upholding the law, the Court will allow small business owners to focus on what they do best – things like fixing cars and creating jobs – and it will allow their children, like me, to pursue our dreams.”

Click here for audio of Helen sharing her story.
Click here for a printed copy of Helen’s remarks.

March 26: Auto Mechanics to Supreme Court: ACA Passes Inspection, NFIB Doesn't Speak for Us

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CONTACT: Rachel Tardiff, Rachel[at]Fitzgibbonmedia.com, 202-746-1507


Auto shop owners illustrate small business benefits of health law, presenting sharp counterpoint to NFIB plaintiff (also an auto shop owner) who closed her business and filed bankruptcy with unpaid medical bills

** Auto shop owners from Maine, Maryland, Oregon and Washington available for interviews **


Washington, DC – The owners of small auto repair shops from coast to coast have a message for the Supreme Court as it hears oral arguments, including a challenge from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), on the Affordable Care Act this week. The mechanics’ message: “The health care law passes our inspection with flying colors, so when NFIB argues against it, remember this: NFIB doesn’t speak for us.”

Auto shop owners from across the country can speak to concrete benefits they’re getting from the Affordable Care Act. Examples include the small business health care tax credit, reduced rates thanks to the 80/20 value for premiums rule, and health coverage from a pre-existing condition insurance plan.

In a blow to the NFIB’s case, recent reports broke the news that its lead plaintiff, an auto shop owner from Florida, was forced to close her business and file for bankruptcy last year with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. Further complicating NFIB’s claim to represent non-partisan small business interests before the Court, a December op-ed in the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Karl Rove-connected Crossroads groups contributed $3.7 million to NFIB in 2010, the same year it joined the lawsuit against the ACA.

Auto shop owners available for interviews on the ACA, the Supreme Court, and NFIB include:

Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon. Jim’s business is benefiting from the ACA’s small business health care tax credit. Jim said:

“We thought we were going to qualify for a credit of about $5,000. Well, we were in for a surprise. When we ran the final numbers, we received a credit of almost $13,000! This health care tax credit and the Affordable Care Act are like a time machine, rolling our health care costs back to what they were years ago.”


Brian England, owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, Maryland. Brian saw his premiums go down for the first time in memory thanks to the ACA’s 80/20 value for premiums rule. Brian said:

“When we sat down with our agent, I was bracing myself for bad news. But when he gave us our quotes, my worry turned to disbelief. Our rates were going DOWN 6 percent! I almost fell off my chair. Our agent explained the rate cut was thanks to the medical loss ratio requirement in the Affordable Care Act. It’s a piece of the law that requires health insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on health care costs.

“As a small business owner, I’m committed to providing good value to our customers. It seems only fair that we should be able to expect the same from our health insurance companies.”


Laura Waite, owner of Jay’s Professional Automotive in Renton, Washington. Laura was denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, but she’s getting the care she needs and still doing what she loves thanks to the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. Laura said:

“When I got that rejection letter, the thought that kept going through my head was that we’d have to close our business and find jobs with health insurance. It was a devastating thought. Then I found out about the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. I signed up. I’ve since learned that my psoriasis has led to other conditions that need treatment. I’m getting the care I need, and my husband and I are still doing what we love.”


Don Orange, owner of Hoesly ECO Auto & Tire in Vancouver, Washington. Don is happy to see his state of Washington moving forward to implement a state insurance exchange for small businesses. Don said:

“We’ve got to keep moving forward on health care. This is no time to throw it into reverse. These insurance exchanges are going to give small businesses better choices and more bargaining power. I don’t want that taken away.

“For a long time, I couldn’t figure why a group like NFIB would want to put small business owners back in the nightmare scenario health care was for us before the new law. Then I heard about the millions of dollars they got from Karl Rove’s Crossroads groups. Is it the National Federation of Independent Business, or the National Federation of Karl Rove?”


David White, owner of MDI Imported Car Service in Bar Harbor, Maine. David has seen first-hand how rising costs crippled small businesses before health care reform. Back in the early 2000s, faced with a 50 percent hike in his health premiums, he had to do three things: increase employee cost-sharing, raise his prices, and lay off one person for six months. David said:

“Thanks to the payment reforms and the insurance exchanges of the Affordable Care Act, I have peace of mind knowing that I won’t lose my business or my employees because of mounting health care costs. My business, like the dollar and the economy as a whole, runs on confidence; and that’s what the ACA provides me.”



The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. MSA creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies. www.mainstreetalliance.org


Auto Shop Owners Deliver Verdict on Health Law: "It Passes Our Inspection"

This week, the Affordable Care Act – the new health care law – goes before the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a good time to ask: “Is the new law making a dent? Is it helping fix small businesses’ rough ride with health care?” We talked to a crew that knows a thing or two about dents and fixing rides: auto mechanics. These auto shop owners are seeing concrete benefits from the new law. They give the ACA a green light on inspection.

The fact sheet below includes stories and quotes from auto shop owners Jim Houser (Hawthorne Auto Clinic, Portland, Oregon), Brian England (British American Auto Care, Columbia, Maryland), Laura Waite (Jay's Professional Automotive, Renton, Washington), and David White (MDI Imported Car Service, Bar Harbor, Maine).

Read the fact sheet:



Sign a Small Business Statement in Support of Health Care Reform!


Maryland Auto Shop Owner Takes Health Care Story to Washington, DC

On March 22, Brian England, the owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, Maryland, shared the story of how his business is benefiting from the Affordable Care Act at a press event with congressional leaders marking the two-year anniversary of the ACA. Brian offers health coverage for his employees, and saw his premiums go down 6 percent last year thanks to the ACA's 80/20 value for premiums rule.

Here's a copy of Brian's remarks at the event, as prepared for delivery:

Remarks of Brian England, owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, Maryland
Washington, DC - March 22, 2012

Thank you for the opportunity to be here today and to share what health care reform has meant for our business.

We are a family business, and proud of it – my daughter works at the workshop with us. In fact, Sandi is here today with our grandson Lucas, who will be two soon.

We’re committed to offering insurance coverage to our employees, but over the past ten years it has become a real struggle to keep up with the costs. We’ve become accustomed to rates going up from 10-20 percent each year – sometimes even more – and we’ve had to look at many different ways to deal with the extra expense.

We’ve got a great agent who does a lot of research and works hard to find the best options for us. But in the end, we’re the ones who have to decide what to do – and we’re the ones who foot the bill.

We renew our insurance in August every year, so around June is when I usually start to get nervous. We heard a lot of speculation about how rates were going to go up even more because of health care reform.

When we sat down with our agent, I was bracing myself for the bad news. But when he gave us our quotes, my worry turned to disbelief. Our rates were going DOWN 6 percent! I almost fell off my chair. We had no major changes in our group, the same average age as the year before, the same policy… but our premiums were going down 6 percent.

Premiums going down – this had never happened before, not a single time in all the years we’ve been offering health coverage. On top of this, my agent informed me we were going to receive preventive care in our plan with no co-pays.

The first thing I asked was, “why?” I just couldn’t make sense of it. Our agent explained the rate cut was thanks to the medical loss ratio requirement in the Affordable Care Act. It’s a piece of the law that requires health insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on actual health care costs.

As a small business owner, I’m committed to providing good value to our customers. It seems only fair that we should be able to expect the same from our health insurance companies.

We are so glad that at last something has been done about health care. I want to thank Leader Pelosi for her commitment to health care reform. I know it hasn’t been easy. But it’s making a difference – and every day, more and more small businesses are seeing the benefits.

The health care law is working for my business. It’s working in our community back home. It’s the right thing to do for America and for future generations. It passes this technician’s inspection test with flying colors. Thank you.

Foxes Guarding the Hen House on Health Care? No, Thanks!

Main Street Alliance affiliates are fighting to make sure new state health insurance exchanges are designed to work in the best interest of small businesses, not insurance companies. As part of these efforts, our affiliate in Idaho launched this video highlighting how insurance interests dominate the committees making decisions about health policy in a classic "fox guarding the henhouse" scenario. Click below to watch the video.

Small Business Owners Urge Senate to Amend JOBS Act

Small business leaders in the Main Street Alliance network sent an open letter to U.S. Senators urging them to amend the Jump-start Our Business Start-ups Act that passed the House recently. In the letter, they wrote:

"Rolling back basic transparency rules, like SEC registration, won’t help small businesses. Instead, it will tilt the playing field toward unscrupulous actors who are looking to game the system. That sounds like recreating the same atmosphere that brought about the 2008 financial crisis. We urge you not to do that."

Click here to read the full letter.

Calling New Hampshire small business owners!

Are you a small business owner in New Hampshire? Is your business taking advantage of some of the early benefits of the new health care reform law? If the answer is yes, we want to hear from you!

Did you receive the small business health care tax credit for providing health insurance to your employees last year? Have you seen some stabilization of rates thanks to the new emphasis on reasonable rate increases and a minimum standard of value for premium dollars? Are you seeing better coverage with free preventive services?

If you've received the health care law's small business tax credit or are benefiting from the law in other ways, please contact us to share your story! MSA is currently collecting stories from New Hampshire small business owners - and especially woman small business owners - on this topic. To share your story, email stories@mainstreetalliance.org. Thank you.


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