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“It’s Brazil’s Time!” I still can hear the clarion call of Rick Fedrizzi, President of the U.S. Green Building Council, from his opening speech during the Green Building Conference Brasil in São Paulo last week. I was in Brazil to foster expanded commercial ties between Brazilian and American firms in the green building and energy sectors and advance the objectives of the U.S.-Brazil Strategic Energy Dialogue. For a portion of the trip, I accompanied 14 companies participating in the Department of Commerce-certified, Brazil-U.S. Business Council-organized Trade Mission. These are innovative and forward-thinking small and medium companies interested and ready to export green building products to Brazil.
Fedrizzi also pointed out that Brazil was among the top five countries for LEED certifications, so there is definitely a market opportunity for these companies. It also helps that financing is available for construction of buildings designed to LEED specifications. Brazil is rushing to get ready for the 2012 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
The president’s trip to Brazil earlier this year laid the groundwork for wider U.S. participation in Brazil’s rapidly growing green energy sector. I was excited to be able to participate with the companies as they are primed to take advantage of these incredible opportunities in the Brazilian market, especially the green building sector. This is a priority area for the President’s National Export Initiative, not only because it can generate new sales for American industry but also because it is a powerful way to grow green jobs in the United States. U.S. goods exports to Brazil in 2010 were $35.4 billion, up 36 percent from 2009. In 2010, Brazil was the eighth-largest export market for U.S. goods.
President Obama explained his proposal for putting creating jobs now and putting Americans back to work before Congress. In addition to giving the economy a shot in the arm with more money in the pockets of working Americans, his proposed American Jobs Act has several new ideas, backed by both Democrats AND Republicans, which are a win for businesses and employers. The President is focused on rebuilding the economy the American way, through the ingenuity and hard work of the American people.
Businesses and employers stand to win under the President’s American Jobs Act in various ways.
It offers tax relief:
- A payroll tax cut for 98 percent of small businesses
- A complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages
- Extending 100 percent capital expensing into 2012
- Reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital
As Tax Filing Extension Deadlines Near, IRS and HHS Announce New Round of Outreach to Small Businesses and Practitioners
As the upcoming filing extension tax deadlines approach, the Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, is announcing a new round of outreach to small employers and the professional service providers they rely on to encourage them to review the new Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to see if they are eligible.
"As the filing deadlines approach, we want to make sure that small business owners don't leave any money on the table,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Small businesses that offer health insurance should learn about this credit and claim it if they are eligible."
The small business health care tax credit was included in the Affordable Care Act enacted last year. Small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible for the small business health care tax credit. The credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations that primarily employ 25 or fewer workers with average income of $50,000 or less.
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service today requested public comment on a proposed affordability safe harbor for employers under the shared responsibility provisions included in the Affordable Care Act that will apply to certain employers starting in 2014.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time employees that do not offer affordable health coverage to their full-time employees may be required to make a shared responsibility payment. Notice 2011-73, posted today on IRS.gov, solicits public input and comment on a proposed safe harbor, designed to make it easier for employers to determine whether the health coverage they offer is affordable. To that end, Treasury and IRS expect to propose a safe harbor permitting employers that offer coverage to their employees to measure the affordability of that coverage by using wages that the employer paid to an employee, instead of the employee’s household income. This contemplated safe harbor would only apply for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provision, and would not affect employees’ eligibility for health insurance premium tax credits.
President Obama announced a new policy that will accelerate payments to small business contractors so they can reinvest that money in the economy and drive job growth.
Small businesses are the primary engine of job creation and job growth across the country. However, in today’s economic climate many face tight budgets and limited resources. With these challenges in mind, last week in his address to Congress the President emphasized the need to take common sense steps to give small businesses the flexibility they need to invest and hire. And that is what we are doing today.