In today’s Wall Street Journal, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke explains the impact of the new health care legislation on businesses. Here’s the text of his op-ed:
Don’t Believe the Writedown Hype
Taken as a whole, health reform is undeniably pro business and pro jobs.
By GARY LOCKE
President Obama began his campaign to reform the American health-care system focused on three goals: protecting Americans’ choice of doctors and health plans, assuring quality and affordable health care for all Americans, and reducing costs for families and businesses.
The new comprehensive health-care legislation meets these goals, and will significantly benefit American businesses by slowing and eventually reversing the tide of crippling premium increases washing over our nation’s employers.
These cost savings are real. They will grow over time. And they will make U.S. businesses more competitive.
First, by drastically cutting the number of uninsured, this law reduces the hidden tax of about $1,000 for family coverage that those with insurance pay to cover the cost of the uninsured who rely on emergency rooms for care.
Second, the law invests $5 billion in a new reinsurance program for early retirees starting this year. For employers paying for their retirees between ages 55-64, this provision will directly reduce family premiums by as much as $1,200.
IRS Embraces New Applications to Make Tax Information More Accessible to Small Businesses and the Self-employed
Maximizing the Web’s convenience, accuracy and speed, IRS.gov -IRS’s web site- now assists millions of individual taxpayers, tax professionals, and small business owners to better understand and meet their tax responsibilities.
Updated Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop
The IRS’s Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop is an interactive resource to help small business owners learn about their federal tax rights and responsibilities. This dynamic educational product, available online and on CD 24/7 from your computer, consists of nine stand-alone lessons that can be selected and viewed in any sequence. A bookmark feature makes it possible to leave and return to a specific point within the lesson. Users also have access to a list of useful online references that enhance the learning experience by allowing them to view references and the video lessons simultaneously.
It’s important to recognize that consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. Eco-friendly practices may seem costly but can serve as a great investment for future growth in businesses as it reduces costs and creates happier customers.
Business.gov provides suggestions and information from fellow business owners as well as industry and government experts. Linked to the site, you can find a Green Business Guide that offers tons of tips on how to pursue and maintain a green business. Recommendations include how to reduce energy costs, how green technology develops energy efficient upgrades, what kinds tax credits there are to green technology developments, and more. By cutting down on expenses and becoming more consumer-friendly, your business can open up opportunities for growth.
Here are some links to get you started with your journey towards a greener business:
Save energy costs, find energy saving tips, and get information on incentives for making energy efficient upgrades. The guide can lead you to recommendations on cost savings, opportunities for energy efficient upgrades, steps towards sustainable business practices, and more.
Keeping up with federal tax requirements is not easy in today’s fast-changing business environment. Even if you use a tax professional’s services, you still need to know and understand your tax responsibilities.
That’s why the IRS offers you a time-saver: IRS e-News for Small Businesses. E-news is a bi-weekly newsletter that alerts you to what’s new, hot and important for small business owners to know. It’s quick to read, easy to subscribe – and it’s free.
IRS e-News for Small Businesses features:
Tax dates for small business owners, to help you avoid missing a deadline
MBDA allocated roughly $1 million to seven minority business centers last month. The Minority Business Centers located in cities in Mesa, AZ; Bismarck, ND; New Orleans, LA; Durham, NC; San Jose, CA; Detroit, MI; and Philadelphia, PA received the funding to increase minority business contracting opportunities in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Minority Business Centers in these cities will assist in “minority-owned firms playing a significant role in the nation’s economic growth,” says MBDA National Director David Hinson. MBDA kicked off the ARRA Initiative last month with events in Charlotte, NC; Philadelphia, PA and New Orleans, LA.