Lame Duck Action Needs to Fuel Small Business Growth and Entrepreneurship

By at 13 November, 2018, 12:45 pm

Unfinished Business: JOBS Act 3.0, HIT Tax Relief, Regulatory Improvements


Washington, D.C. – Congress is back in session, and the nation’s leading advocate for entrepreneurs and small businesses is urging congressional leaders and all members to focus on legislation that will fuel small business confidence and growth into 2019.  Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said three key areas – access to capital, health coverage cost relief and certainty, and regulatory improvements – will have a lasting effect, which will serve to boost U.S. entrepreneurship, investment, small business confidence and the growing economy going into the New Year.

“It is vitally important that our economy stay strong and that small businesses, consumers and workers remain confident about their future and finances. A policy boost during the lame duck session through the advancement of bipartisan legislation will keep our economy humming, which benefits all Americans.  The 115th Congress can end on a very productive note, and entrepreneurs hope that both parties rise to the occasion and move bipartisan initiatives across the finish line to sustain the economic momentum well into 2019,” said Kerrigan.

While SBE Council continues its work on a range of priorities, including a handful through regulatory actions and changes, the organization is zeroing in on several issues during the lame duck session that require congressional action. These legislative priorities include:

JOBS Act 3.0.  This capital markets modernization and improvements package passed the U.S. House by a vote of 406-4 in July, and now it is the Senate’s turn to act.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses require capital to leverage growth opportunities in the expanding economy and to start new businesses. It would be a huge disappointment and missed opportunity if JOBS Act 3.0 did not make it to the President’s desk. This significant, bipartisan package must be a priority in the lame duck session and there is no reason why it should not receive broad support,” said Kerrigan.

JOBS Act 3.0 is a powerful package of bills that will modernize various securities rules, reduce red tape, and fix barriers that will improve access to capital and our capital markets. The package will encourage higher levels of capital formation, which in turn will boost U.S. entrepreneurship and help finance America’s most promising small firms and their innovations.

Health Cost Certainty: HIT Tax Relief ExtensionThe high cost of health coverage remains a pain point for small businesses and the self-employed.  A series of regulatory improvements have recently been finalized, or are in the works, but their impact on lowering costs and increasing choices will take some time to reach the marketplace. SBE Council has been a strong advocate for repealing the health insurance tax (HIT tax), as this unfair tax on health insurers is recouped via higher premiums on the self-employed and small businesses in the individual and small group markets.  A one-year moratorium on the HIT tax (for 2019) was approved by Congress, but the tax will return in 2020. That means higher premiums for small businesses.

Kerrigan said, “The ideal policy solution is to repeal this unfair tax, but extending the moratorium until the end of 2020 will provide relief – and certainty – for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

SBE Council supports extending the HIT tax moratorium through 2020, which would be welcome news for small businesses and lead to stabilized costs, according to Kerrigan.

Regulatory Improvements for Small Businesses: Regulatory burden and uncertainty remain a top issue of concern for small businesses. In 2017, the House passed a strong package of regulatory reform bills, and similar legislation passed the Senate Committee on Homeland and Government Affairs. The regulatory process is horribly outdated, complex and unaccountable and most members of Congress talk about the need to lift red tape and burdensome rules off of small businesses.  There is an opportunity to do that before the end of 2018. The reforms embedded within the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, for example, are common sense solutions that would promote transparency, accountability and small business engagement in the regulatory process.

“These are the types of changes that the federal rulemaking system needs in order to improve the quality and outcome of government regulation. A better system will also boost U.S. entrepreneurship, which remains weak,” said Kerrigan.

For more information about these three issues, you can read Kerrigan’s Small Business Insider blog post: The Lame Duck Agenda – Unfinished Policy Business for Entrepreneurs.

“We are confident that we can move these three critical issues before the end of 2018, but it will take some genuine bipartisan spirit in the Congress.  Our small business members will be contacting their House and Senate members to make that happen,” added Kerrigan.

CONTACT:  Karen Kerrigan

SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. For nearly 25 years SBE Council has worked to successfully implement a range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startups and small business growth. To learn more, visit SBE Council’s website: Follow on Twitter: @SBECouncil 

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