It's Time to Listen to Main Street

Have you ever felt like the good name of small business was getting used to advance a special interest agenda? Brian McGregor has. Brian, owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon in Butte, Montana, wrote in an op-ed in The Hill a few days ago:

Here’s a riddle: a hedge fund manager, a high-powered lobbyist, and a big shot lawyer walk into a bar. There’s one real small business owner in the lot. Which one? Answer: the guy who’s pouring the drinks – me.

Brian went on to talk about why, as a genuine small business owner, he’s for ending the extra Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans, protecting middle class programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and making sure big corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

That’s what the Main Street Alliance is standing for in the lame duck session of Congress. Will you stand with us? Click here to read and sign our “Listen to Main Street” small business statement to Congress.

Wall Street CEOs are lobbying hard for their agenda – lower tax rates for the wealthy and a permanent tax holiday on off-shore profits for multi-national corporations, paid for by cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. That is not a pro-small business agenda.

We need to make sure Congress listens to Main Street, not Wall Street. Click here to read and sign the statement.


Listen to Main Street Sign-on Statement

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dGlnZmxqd3R3Q205bm9LR2VCWlJjYUE6MA


Maine Small Business Owner Challenges Big Political Spending by U.S. Chamber

Melanie Collins, a small business leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition, traveled to Washington, DC on October 19 to speak at a press conference outside the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenging the Chamber's secret spending in the 2012 elections. Marking the U.S. Chamber's 100th birthday, Collins joined with organizations representing people across the country to deliver a simple message: The U.S. Chamber doesn't represent small business.

"Secrecy is at the heart of the Chamber's sales pitch," said Collins. "When I want to make my voice heard, I stand up and speak. I use my name. I think the Chamber's big donors should, too."

Collins added, "The most offensive part of all this special interest political spending is that they do it under the name of the small business owner. I call that small business identity theft. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn't speak for small businesses, and they don't speak for me."

The U.S. Chamber has already spent more than $1.3 on outside spending funding political advertisements in Maine's Senate race. Although many local chambers of commerce in Maine distanced themselves from the U.S. Chamber's initial ad buys, the Chamber continues to attack candidates for U.S. Senate in Maine under the guise of speaking for Maine small businesses. A week ago, the Chamber bought another $500,000 in ad time.

"When outside groups and big corporations like Anthem spend money to try to buy elections in Maine, small business owners from all across the state lose out," said Collins.


Poll: Small Business Owners Say Big Businesses, Millionaires Not Paying Fair Share of Taxes

Small business owners see corporate tax loopholes and accounting gimmicks used to shift U.S. profits offshore to avoid taxes as serious problems, according to independent nationwide opinion polling released on February 6. Small business owners say big corporations and the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes. They support increasing taxes on millionaire incomes, allowing high-end tax cuts to expire, and closing the carried interest loophole that gives big tax breaks to hedge fund managers.

These are among the key findings of a scientific nationwide survey of small business owners commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority.

Click here to read the report.

Click here to read the press release about the report.


Small Business Owners: Take Action to Support Ending Special Tax Cuts for the Top 2 Percent

Small business owners need to make our voices heard in the unfolding debate over ending the special Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent. The name of small business is being used by special interest groups to protect extra tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Real small business owners can't let this identity theft - stealing our good name to advance a special interest agenda - go unchallenged.

Click here to read and sign onto our small business statement on ending the special Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent. 


Small Business Owners: Take Action to Support Ending Special Tax Cuts for the Top 2 Percent

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dDdQMnBad0ZRYTkteWJNTDlpTzEwZlE6MQ


Secrecy is Not a Small Business Value. Period.

The U.S. Senate is in the midst of a marathon debate on the DISCLOSE Act, a proposal that would increase transparency in political spending. Unfortunately for small businesses, the bill is being blocked from an up or down vote by a filibuster led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

One of the justifications for blocking the bill is a claim that disclosure requirements for political spending will somehow harm businesses, both large and small. For small businesses, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Secrecy is what harms small businesses, not transparency. In fact, small businesses may be among the most shortchanged constituencies under the current system that allows secret spending to go unchecked. That's for two reasons:

First, because small businesses can't come close to matching the money poured into elections by big corporate actors and wealthy individuals. This means our voices can easily get drowned out in the deluge.

And second, to add insult to injury, big political spenders love to hide their secret spending behind a small business facade given the credibility small business carries as a messenger in the political and policy arenas.

Why else would a political group like Crossroads GPS (co-founded by Karl Rove) give $3.7 million to the National Federation of Independent Business in 2010, only to have NFIB turn around and spend $3.1 million on advertising through Crossroads Media, LLC (the primary media firm for Crossroads GPS)? This is a case of Karl Rove in small business clothing.

And why else would the health insurance industry plow $102.4 million into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fund its attacks on health care reform in the name of small businesses, at the same time that AHIP members were publicly supporting the concept of health care reform?

Let's call these covert activities what they are: small business identity theft. They're stealing the good name of small business to advance the agenda of big special interests. The current regime of secrecy is aiding and abetting this identity theft.

Secrecy is not a small business value. Let's pass the DISCLOSE Act so small businesses can stop worrying about who's going to steal their identity next and get back to doing what they do best: serving customers, creating jobs, and building strong local economies.


MSA Leaders Weigh in on ACA Ruling, Highlight How Health Law is Helping Small Businesses

Small business leaders from the Main Street Alliance and our state affiliates weighed in and framed the debate in press coverage of the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. MSA small business leaders shared concrete, personal stories of how the law is helping their businesses and what small businesses can look forward to now that the law has been upheld and will keep moving forward. A compilation of links and excerpts from the coverage follows!


FLORIDA


 THE PALM BEACH POST :: Gov. Scott says health-care ruling is 'disappointing'

The decision was embraced at Palm Beach Groves in Lantana, where the business relied on a tax credit to offer health insurance to its employees, all of whom are older and have preexisting conditions, said General Manager and CFO Louisa McQueeney.

“I think it’s great news. It means that we can move forward, the gains we made this year, the premiums being flat and we applied for the tax credit which is $7,400, which is great.”

WPTV NEWS CHANNEL 5 :: Local small businesses react to Supreme Court ruling

McQueeney is pleased with the Supreme Court's decision. She took advantage of a tax credit of about $7500 this year and believes other businesses could benefit too.

"You are a business person. There is money sitting there on the table, right there, take it.  And provide people with health care," she said.

MSNBC’S POLITICS NATION :: Lives changed by the Affordable Care Act

Louisa McQueeney interviewed on importance of ACA for her business and employees.


MAINE: MAINE SMALL BUSINESS COALITION


WASHINGTON POST :: Mixed emotions: Small business owners, advocates respond to health-care ruling

Quotes MSBC leader John Costin:

“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act – from rate review to the value for premiums rule to the guarantee that there’s somewhere to go for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition – are already making a difference for small businesses, and there’s more to look forward to.”

BIZJOURNALS WASHINGTON BUREAU :: Supreme Court upholds Obamacare; politics will determine law's future

Small business groups that supported health care reform were elated by the decision.

“Small business owners knew we couldn’t afford to go back to the nightmare scenario that health care was for us before reform,” said John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebuck, Maine, and a leader of the Maine Small Business Coalition. “The Supreme Court’s decision means we won’t have to. Instead, we can keep looking forward.”

“Now that the court case is behind us, it's time to put politics aside and get down to implementing the law to maximize the benefits for small businesses,” Costin said.


MARYLAND


COLUMBIA PATCH :: O'Malley Cites Columbia Business to Illustrate Importance of Health Care Ruling

Gov. Martin O'Malley is highlighting a Columbia businessman's support for the Affordable Care Act as an example of why the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law matters in Maryland.

At the end of the op-ed, England said feared these savings would be taken away by a Supreme Court decision, but after today's ruling, he can rest easier.

"It's unbelievable," said England in an interview with Patch on Thursday. "I'm walking on air."


NEW JERSEY: NEW JERSEY MAIN STREET ALLIANCE


PHILLYBURBS.COM :: NJ still has work to do to implement health care reform law

NJ MSA’s Odette Cohen quoted:

Willingboro physician Odette Cohen, a vocal supporter of the reform law, said she was “elated” by the court’s decision, claiming it will ensure that millions of uninsured residents will have an avenue for obtaining coverage. She also said small businesses like her practice will be able to get more affordable plans for employees.

“This is really good news; the law is in place. There’s hope,” Cohen said Thursday.

Popular components of the law that already have been implemented, such as provisions permitting young adults to remain on their parents’ plans until they turn 26 and preventing insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions, also will be maintained, Cohen said.

NEW JERSEY 101.5 :: Obamacare Upheld, NJ Hospitals, Businesses React

NJ MSA small business leaders Kelly Conklin, Henry Passapera, and Odette Cohen quoted in online story; Kelly Conklin featured on radio segment.

MYCENTRALJERSEY.COM :: Top court keeps health insurance mandate, pleasing many area residents

Anita Thomas, owner and chief executive officer of AM Thomas and Associates in Plainfield, finds much to like in the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Thomas, who is also executive director of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, was more than happy with the decision — especially since she had just come from a procedure at a doctor’s office after the long-awaited ruling was released.

NEWSWORKS (powered by WHYY) :: Setting up state health insurance exchanges is good for small business

Opinion piece by NJ MSA’s Kelly Conklin.

BBC WORLD NEWS :: Supreme Court to rule on 'Obamacare'

NJ MSA’s Kelly Conklin interviewed for BBC World News.


OREGON: MAIN STREET ALLIANCE OF OREGON


KGW NEWS CHANNEL 8 PORTLAND :: Local impact of health care reform

Interview with MSA-Oregon co-chair Jim Houser at Hawthorne Auto Clinic.

OREGON BUSINESS :: Oregon and the health care ruling

From Jim Houser, Hawthorne Auto Clinic, Portland, co-chair Main Street Alliance of Oregon: "I joined the fight for health care reform because I knew from painful experience that the insurance companies weren't meeting the needs of small businesses. After nearly 10 years of double-digit premium increases, the ACA provided my small business over $12,000 a year in tax credits and an over 3% drop in premiums. (And my two children were able to rejoin our health plan.)  I saw the campaign to reform health care in this country as an investment in the success of my small business.”

SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL :: Kitzhaber ready to move forward to move forward with Oregon’s healthcare transformation

The Main Street Alliance of Oregon represents business owners favoring the law. “This is a good day for small businesses in Oregon and across America,” said Jose Gonzalez of Tu Casa Real Estate in Salem.

“We’ve been working hard to make health care reform work for small businesses. Today, we should take a minute to celebrate – and then get back to the work of implementing the law.”

THE OREGONIAN ::  The Oregonian – Supreme Court health care decision: For Molalla’s Northwoods Nursery it’s less stress

"We're spending over $70,000 a year to cover insurance for our employees," Gilbert, 68, said. "As rates go up, we pay more, then employees pay more for insurance."

But now that Gilbert knows that his business will benefit from a tax credit due to the Affordable Care Act, which was upheld today by the U.S. Supreme Court, he no longer worries as much.

"It's a huge decision for a small business like mine," he said. "We're on the front line to provide insurance to our employees and we will continue to do that now.  As long as I am in business, I am dedicated to help my employees. "

PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL :: Supreme Court upholds most of health care law

On the other hand, the Main Street Alliance of Oregon group gushed over the news. The Alliance represents small businesses that, group officials said, are already benefitting from tax credits and cost controls imposed by the law.

"After nearly 10 years of double-digit premium increases, the (Act) provided my small business with more than $12,000 a year in tax credits and a 3 percent drop in premiums," said Jim Houser, owner of Portland's Hawthorne Auto Clinic and the Main Street Alliance's co-chairman, in a statement.

EUGENE REGISTER GUARD :: In Oregon, Obamacare draws mostly applause but some criticism

But another small-business group, the Main Street Alliance, celebrated the court’s decision on its blog. Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland and a leader of the state affiliate, wrote: “I joined the fight for health care reform because I knew from painful experience that the insurance companies weren’t meeting the needs of small businesses… The court’s decision to affirm the ACA makes this a great day for America and for America’s small businesses.”

KATU-TV PORTLAND :: Portland business owner glad court upheld healthcare law

880 AM RADIO MEDFORD :: Southern Oregon live talk show, MSA-Oregon co-chair Mark Kellenbeck spoke on ACA as the decision came out.


VIRGINIA: VIRGINIA MAIN STREET ALLIANCE


RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH :: Richmond-area small businesses react to health care ruling

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health care reform law left Tammy Rostov jumping for joy.

"We're very excited; we jumped up and down and hugged when the news was announced," the owner of Rostov's Coffee and Tea in Richmond said Thursday.

"I provide full coverage for employees, and we were close to being priced out of the market," she said, adding that the new law will help prevent that.


WASHINGTON: MAIN STREET ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON


WASHINGTON POST :: Small restaurant owner: Health-care ruling provides certainty, critical tax credits

Commentary by MSA of Washington’s Makini Howell (Plum Bistro, Seattle):

Then, President Obama’s health care reform law came along. When I crunched the numbers, I found out that the law’s health care tax credit for small businesses would immediately cut 20 percent off the cost of insuring my employees. And in 2014, when the law’s fully in effect, that tax credit goes up to about one-third of my costs.

Suddenly, providing health insurance wasn’t just something I dreamed of doing – it was something I actually could do. About three months ago, right around the two-year anniversary of the law, I began enrolling my employees in a health insurance plan for the first time. Let me tell you – that felt good!

NPR :: How Health Care Ruling Impacts Small Business

Features Main Street Alliance member Jody Hall (Cupcake Royale).

KING 5 :: Affordable Care Act a lifeline for people with pre-existing conditions

Story of Main Street Alliance of Washington member Laura Waite (Jay's Professional Automotive).

EVERETT HERALD :: Ban on lifetime limits helps Mukilteo family

SPOKESMAN REVIEW :: Reactions are mixed locally

Spokane business and real estate developer Ron Wells called the court ruling a victory for people and business.  He applauded the requirement of forcing insurance companies to spend 80 percent of their premium collections on paying medical bills rather than fighting claims, paying exorbitant executive salaries, building rich reserves and hiring lobbyists.

KUOW THE CONVERSATION :: Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

Features MSA of Washington leader Makini Howell.

TAKE PART :: Small Business Owners React to Supreme Court Healthcare Decision

For Hall, the decision means it will become more affordable for her to continue offering healthcare for her 72 workers. Before the Affordable Care Act, she was subject to annual rate hikes of 20 percent—in 2009 it climbed as high as 40 percent—and in 2011, she paid over $67,000 to cover her workers. But this year, Hill said her premium only went up five percent, an increase she called “unheard of.”

KVI 570 AM RADIO :: Interviews with Main Street Alliance members (Molly Moon Neitzel and Laura McDowell Waite)

KOMO RADIO :: Interview with Main Street Alliance member Jody Hall (Cupcake Royale)

KOMO 4 & KOMO RADIO :: Interview with Laura Waite (small business owner who has a pre-existing condition & relies on the Pre-Existing Condition Plan for coverage)

Q13 FOX :: In-studio interviews with Main Street Alliance members Makini Howell (Plum Bistro) and Jody Hall (Cupcake Royale)

KOMO TV :: Interview with Main Street Alliance member Laura Waite (Jay’s Pro Auto)

KIRO TV :: Interview with Main Street Alliance member Makini Howell (Plum Bistro)

KPLU :: Interview with Main Street Alliance member Molly Moon Neitzel (Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream)

“Some small businesses are actually getting tax breaks. Molly Moon Neitzel is the owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle. She says since the health law was passed, she’s been able to get tax credits the past two years because she offers health insurance for her employees.”



Small Business Owners Celebrate Supreme Court Decision Upholding Health Law

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Main Street Alliance business leaders celebrated the decision, saying they're already benefiting from the ACA and the court ruling means they can look forward to more benefits going forward.

The Main Street Alliance released the following statements from small business owners in response to the Court’s decision:

John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk, ME and a leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition:

“This is a good day for small businesses across America. Small business owners knew we couldn’t afford to go back to the nightmare scenario that health care was for us before reform. The Supreme Court’s decision means we won’t have to. Instead, we can keep looking forward.

“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act – from rate review to the value for premiums rule to the guarantee that there’s somewhere to go for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition – are already making a difference for small businesses, and there’s more to look forward to. Now that the court case is behind us, it's time to put politics aside and get down to implementing the law to maximize the benefits for small businesses.”

Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale in Seattle, WA and leader with the Main Street Alliance of Washington:

“The Affordable Care Act is already taking critical steps to lower costs and bring affordable, good quality health coverage within reach for small businesses. The Court’s decision reaffirms what small business owners like me have been saying all along: we need to keep building on the ACA, not repeal it. I may be a risk taker, but that’s a risk I can’t afford to take. I can’t afford to go back to the broken health insurance marketplace that gave us rate hikes of 20, 30, and 40 percent a year.

“Now that the Court has confirmed the law is constitutional, it’s time to move forward with implementing it and taking full advantage of the opportunities it creates to lower health care costs and level the playing field for small businesses. That will allow business owners like me to focus on what we do best – things like creating jobs and serving up great value to customers.”

Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR, co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, and MSA national executive committee member:

“I joined the fight for health care reform because I knew from painful experience that the insurance companies weren't meeting the needs of small businesses. After nearly 10 years of double-digit premium increases, the ACA provided my small business over $12,000 a year in tax credits, a 3 percent drop in premiums, and made it possible for my two adult children to rejoin our health plan.

“I saw the campaign to reform health care in this country as an investment in the success of my small business. The Court’s decision to affirm the ACA makes this a great day for America and for America’s small businesses.”

Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates architectural woodworking in Bloomfield, NJ and MSA national executive committee member:

“By turning back a baseless, politically motivated challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court demonstrated today the judicial independence all Americans expect of our highest court. Now the hard work of implementation begins in earnest.

“Hopefully, obstructionists have gotten the message and will either put their shoulders to the wheel and work in good faith to make our health care system the best in the world, or stand aside and let the rest of us get on with it. The future health and profitability of the small business community, among other things, depends on it.”

Melanie Collins, owner of Melanie’s Home Childcare in Falmouth, ME and a leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition:

“I’m hugely relieved the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Because of the ACA, for the first time in 22 straight years of buying health insurance for myself, my premiums did not go up. I was able to keep my health insurance and increase my employee hours. Without the ACA preventing my premiums from skyrocketing, I would have been forced to cut employee hours and my family would have to go without health insurance.

“We're barely getting by. We can't afford the financial and health costs of giving control of our health care back to the insurance companies. The Supreme Court was right in upholding the ACA, which by law makes sure everyone has health coverage that is affordable, and ensures everyone pays their fair share.”


June 28: Small Business Owners Hail Supreme Court's Decision Upholding Affordable Care Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2012
CONTACT: Sam Blair, sblair@mainstreetalliance.org, (603) 831-1835

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS HAIL SUPREME COURT’S DECISION UPHOLDING AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Business owners say they’re already benefiting from ACA, court decision means they can look forward to more benefits

Washington, DC – This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.

The Main Street Alliance released the following statements from small business owners in response to the Court’s decision:

John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk, ME and a leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition:

“This is a good day for small businesses across America. Small business owners knew we couldn’t afford to go back to the nightmare scenario that health care was for us before reform. The Supreme Court’s decision means we won’t have to. Instead, we can keep looking forward.

“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act – from rate review to the value for premiums rule to the guarantee that there’s somewhere to go for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition – are already making a difference for small businesses, and there’s more to look forward to. Now that the court case is behind us, it's time to put politics aside and get down to implementing the law to maximize the benefits for small businesses.”

Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale in Seattle, WA and leader with the Main Street Alliance of Washington:

“The Affordable Care Act is already taking critical steps to lower costs and bring affordable, good quality health coverage within reach for small businesses. The Court’s decision reaffirms what small business owners like me have been saying all along: we need to keep building on the ACA, not repeal it. I may be a risk taker, but that’s a risk I can’t afford to take. I can’t afford to go back to the broken health insurance marketplace that gave us rate hikes of 20, 30, and 40 percent a year.

“Now that the Court has confirmed the law is constitutional, it’s time to move forward with implementing it and taking full advantage of the opportunities it creates to lower health care costs and level the playing field for small businesses. That will allow business owners like me to focus on what we do best – things like creating jobs and serving up great value to customers.”

Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR, co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, and MSA national executive committee member:

“I joined the fight for health care reform because I knew from painful experience that the insurance companies weren't meeting the needs of small businesses. After nearly 10 years of double-digit premium increases, the ACA provided my small business over $12,000 a year in tax credits, a 3 percent drop in premiums, and made it possible for my two adult children to rejoin our health plan.

“I saw the campaign to reform health care in this country as an investment in the success of my small business. The Court’s decision to affirm the ACA makes this a great day for America and for America’s small businesses.”

Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates architectural woodworking in Bloomfield, NJ and MSA national executive committee member:

“By turning back a baseless, politically motivated challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court demonstrated today the judicial independence all Americans expect of our highest court. Now the hard work of implementation begins in earnest.

“Hopefully, obstructionists have gotten the message and will either put their shoulders to the wheel and work in good faith to make our health care system the best in the world, or stand aside and let the rest of us get on with it. The future health and profitability of the small business community, among other things, depends on it.”

Melanie Collins, owner of Melanie’s Home Childcare in Falmouth, ME and a leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition:

“I’m hugely relieved the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Because of the ACA, for the first time in 22 straight years of buying health insurance for myself, my premiums did not go up. I was able to keep my health insurance and increase my employee hours. Without the ACA preventing my premiums from skyrocketing, I would have been forced to cut employee hours and my family would have to go without health insurance.

“We're barely getting by. We can't afford the financial and health costs of giving control of our health care back to the insurance companies. The Supreme Court was right in upholding the ACA, which by law makes sure everyone has health coverage that is affordable, and ensures everyone pays their fair share.”

###

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

 


connect

get updates