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.
Ahead of a scheduled mark-up of H.R. 2885, a proposal that would mandate the use of the controversial E-Verify employment verification system by every employer in the country, Main Street Alliance leader David Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, IL spoke at a press event outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on September 14 opposing the plan.
David urged the Chamber and members of Congress to take a stand against E-verify. “The balance sheet on E-verify is simple: it’s bad for small business, bad for our workforce, and bad for the country's bottom line,” David said. “We urge the US Chamber and our members of Congress to hear our call, listen to small business, and oppose this flawed proposal.” Scroll down to read David's complete remarks.
Meanwhile, leaders in the Main Street Alliance network from Maine to Colorado to Oregon submitted a letter to the House Judiciary Committee outlining the job-killing impact a mandatory E-Verify regime would have on small businesses, their workforce, and the economy. Click here for a copy of the letter.
My name is David Borris. I own a business called Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, Illinois. I also serve on the Executive Committee of the Main Street Alliance, a national network of small business owners committed to speaking for ourselves on the important issues facing our businesses and our local economies.
My wife and I opened our business as a small, homemade food store in Highland Park in 1985. Over the years, we’ve expanded into a full service catering company with 25 full time employees and another 80 part time and seasonal workers. Small businesses like ours are the backbone of local economies across the country. We create jobs, deliver important goods and services, drive local economies and give back to our communities.
I’m here today to urge the US Chamber of Commerce to take the blinders off and see what this E-Verify proposal would do to small businesses. To take the earplugs out and hear how mandatory E-Verify would harm small business owners all across America. To recognize that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we need all the support the chamber and others can give to blaze the trail back to prosperity in our local communities.
We face many challenges: diminishing consumer demand, inability to provide quality, affordable health care to our employees, lack of access to capital -- all of these have conspired over the past 3 years to hold back the vibrant small business engine that should be fueling a strong recovery.
And while the Chamber has taken strident positions recently against new rules of the road that would actually help level the playing field for small business -- in health care, in the financial industry, in tax reform -- today they are inexplicably silent when Washington DC is talking about requiring every business owner in America to suit up as an immigration and customs enforcement agent.
Make no mistake, our immigration system is broken and that broken system is hurting small businesses, local economies, and the country. But as we’ve already heard today, taking the flawed E-Verify system and making it mandatory is not the solution.
Small businesses are doing everything we can to innovate, recreate, and delineate new roles in a rapidly changing business environment. All the while doing what we must to trim costs without laying off valued workers- many of whom are like family to us. Mandating E-Verify would create a whole new set of challenges for us.
The support of some in Congress for E-Verify exposes a blatant double standard. We’ve grown used to seeing some members of Congress use the good name of small business as a smokescreen to attack basic rules and standards. We’re talking about things like clean air rules that actually help small businesses by promoting a healthy workforce and cutting our health care costs.
Now, these same politicians are pushing for an E-Verify regime that – unlike those other rules they like to complain about – will actually have a direct negative impact on small businesses. This E-Verify proposal will be a good litmus test – it’s going to show us who’s serious about standing up for small business, and who only pays lip service to us when it’s convenient to advance the agenda of their big corporate donors.
The US Chamber claims to represent businesses large and small across the country. The Chamber has an obligation to listen to the small businesses - and speak out on our behalf. The problems of illegal immigration will not be dented one iota if e-verify is mandated - but small businesses across this great nation will suffer while struggling to comply.
The balance sheet for us on E-verify? It’s bad for small business, bad for our workforce, and bad for the country's bottom line. We need the US Chamber to hear our call, listen to small business, and withdraw its support for this flawed proposal.
We urge the Chamber to stop nibbling around the margins, stop accepting a piecemeal non-solution that will so negatively impact small business. We urge the Chamber to join the growing chorus of business owners and demand that our elected officials say no to E-Verify and find the courage to re-engage the debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The Obama Administration's recent announcement that it will not move forward with long-awaited evidence-based updates to smog standards is disappointing news for Main Street small businesses.
Clean air is a Main Street value. It always has been. And for good reason: cleaner air improves health and productivity, and reduces absenteeism and business health costs.
By the same token, the decision not to move forward with the new smog standards shifts the costs of lost work days and increased health care costs from smog-related illnesses (like asthma) onto small businesses. The proposed ozone standards would yield health benefits worth tens of billions of dollars annually by 2020, preventing or avoiding up to 12,000 premature deaths, 58,000 asthma attacks, 21,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and 420,000 lost work days.
Some groups that claim to represent the unified voice of the business community pit clean air against job creation. In their telling, we can have clean air or we can have jobs, but not both. In other words, jobs and a healthy economy can come only at the expense of healthy communities. Main Street small business owners recognize this as a false choice.
Healthy communities are integral to the success of America’s small businesses. While big corporations can dump pollution in a community and then close up shop and move somewhere else without their CEOs or shareholders ever having to breathe the local air, small businesses can't. Small business owners, their employees, and their customers all breathe the same air.
That's why clean air is a Main Street value. And that's why we'll keep fighting for standards that protect clean air, protect the public health, and protect local communities and local economies.
The Main Street Alliance voted recently to officially endorse a new issue: paid sick days. Why do small business owners care about this issue? For a wide range of reasons - like workplace productivity, public health, and a commitment to treating workers like family. In short, it seems like the right thing to do... and it makes good business sense, too.
The productivity case alone is a strong one. According to the Center for Worklife Law, "presenteeism" (employees going to work even though they're sick) costs U.S. employers and the U.S. economy an estimated $180 billion a year in lost productivity. When workers don't have access to earned sick time, they're more likely to go to work sick, risk infecting co-workers (and potentially customers), get less done, and take longer to get back to 100 percent.
We'll be posting periodic updates about paid sick days in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, if you're looking to learn more, check out this nifty infographic from medicalinsurance.org.
If upheld by full NAIC, recommendation would gut MLR requirement, hand almost $1 billion in small business and individual rebates back to insurers
Washington, DC – Today, a work group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) voted to recommend NAIC endorsement of a legislative proposal that would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement by removing agent and broker commissions and fees from the calculation of administrative costs. The Main Street Alliance released the following statement in response:
Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates, Inc and a member of the Main Street Alliance Steering Committee:
"Today’s task force vote was a very good vote for big insurance and a very bad vote for small businesses. The task force voted to take almost $1 billion in annual rebates to small businesses and individuals and just hand that money right back to the health insurance companies, no questions asked. That’s a real poke in the eye to Main Street.
"The value for premiums requirement is one of the key benefits of the new health law for small businesses. It should be implemented as written, not undermined to bail out the health insurance companies from having to fix their broken business model. If the full NAIC takes into account what small businesses need, they’ll vote to overturn this misguided recommendation and support the value for premiums requirement as written."
The Main Street Alliance submitted a letter on June 28 to the task force outlining the importance of the MLR requirement for small businesses and urging the task force to recommend no change to the requirement. Download a copy of the letter here.
One of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 was something called a minimum Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirement. This requirement establishes a basic level of value for premiums. Insurers either meet that standard or, if they fail to, owe rebates to their customers.
If this requirement had been in effect in 2010, health insurance customers would have received rebates of almost $2 billion from insurers who failed to meet the value for premiums standard. That’s some serious money back in the pockets of small business owners who've paid too much for health care – and a serious incentive for insurers to hold premiums down and increase value in the future.
Predictably, these new requirements have come under attack by industry groups that want to roll them back and allow insurers to continue doing "business as usual." The latest attack is an attempt to remove agent and broker commissions and fees from the value for premiums calculation.
What would that mean for small businesses? This change would wipe out $1.2 billion – more than half – of the potential rebates in the 2010 estimates. And, it would undermine the incentive for insurers to hold premiums down going forward.
The Main Street Alliance submitted a letter to a task force of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on June 28 outlining the small business case for protecting the value for premiums requirement and implementing the new minimum medical loss ratio standards without changes.
New research released today re-confirms two key points that small business owners who've been fighting for health care reform knew all along:
- First, that employer health coverage has been on the decline for the last decade, and small businesses have been feeling the squeeze more than anyone.
- And second, that provisions of the Affordable Care Act are going to bring health coverage within reach for a lot of small business owners who want to offer coverage but haven't been able to.
This second point is real good news for small businesses, and it comes in an Urban Institute report released today by the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (it's refreshing to see some real research after the circus show over the controversial McKinsey & Co. "study" that has been thoroughly debunked over the past week).
The Urban Institute study forecasts that insurance offer rates for firms with 100 or fewer employees will increase by nearly 10 percent thanks to the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges and other insurance market reforms. Firms with fewer than 10 employees are expected to see the biggest jump - an increase of more than 14 percent. Talk about delivering big for small businesses!
Of course, many important decisions remain to be made about how states will set up their new insurance marketplaces, or exchanges. Main Street Alliance leaders are actively engaged in states from Maine to Oregon to promote exchanges that maximize on the opportunity to make quality, affordable health coverage available to all small businesses.
On June16, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Capital Access and Taxes held a hearing entitled The Dodd-Frank Act: Impact on Small Business Lending. The Main Street Alliance's Bill Daley was invited to testify on behalf of businesses in our network. See the clip of Bill's testimony: