Posted: 12/24/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Government Relations



December 24, 2009
Dear Virginia,
Thanks for your thoughtful letter. As you can guess, I am very busy today because it’s Christmas Eve so I’ll have to keep this brief.
I, too, have been watching Congress, especially the health care overhaul legislation. I am appalled because Senator Reid pushed Santa out of the way and gave special deals and goodies to the states of all the senators who were fence-sitting so he could win the 60 votes needed to allow the bill to proceed to debate and passage.
Virginia, you have done everything within your power; you have talked, written, faxed and visited your elected officials. The tool that you have not used is the vote, the most powerful tool of all.
Santa’s gift to you this year is a voter registration application. Register to vote. If you don’t like what your congressmen and women are doing then your choice is to vote for a candidate who will listen to you.
Happy voting young lady and keep up the fight for small business.
Merry Christmas
Posted: 12/14/2009 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Government Relations

First, Santa, I want a Congress that remembers they work for us.

Dear Santa,
I hope my letter isn’t too late. I’ve been good all year long. My list is different this year; I don’t need any more toys or dolls. I need your help with big things for small business.
First, Santa, I want a Congress that remembers they work for us. They seem like they don’t listen anymore. Maybe somebody spiked their Kool-Aid. When SMC went to Washington last spring and visited members of the Pennsylvania delegation we asked for their help to unleash the power of small business. Small business can create the jobs needed to solve soaring unemployment if only they would give us a hand. Instead we are threatened with the prospects of job-killing policies. Can you please ask them to listen to us??
Second, Santa, small businesses are having a very difficult time borrowing money. Creditworthy small businesses are closing every day. Congress helped Wall Street who caused all the problems in the first place but when it comes to Main Street all they seem to do is pat us on the back and thank us very nicely for being the engine of job growth. Help with our credit and financing needs is desperately needed so we can hire workers and stay afloat. Maybe you can look into this for me.
Third, Santa, I don’t know what they are doing with health care reform. Have they lost sight of their original goal? I thought the purpose of reform was to make health care more affordable since rising costs make it difficult for small employers to provide coverage to employees. The Congressional Budget Office analysis predicted little effect on premium costs for those in the small group market. Will health care be more expensive for small businesses and will we be buried by paperwork, new taxes, and “play or pay” mandates? Could you please ask Senator Reid about all of this when you get a chance?
Fourth, Santa, I am concerned about several pieces of labor legislation. The Employee Free Choice Act baffles me. Doing away with the secret ballot in forming unions has to be one of the most outrageous acts since Parliament slapped a tax on tea in 1767. Why would they want to let federal negotiators come into a company to work out an employee contract? That’s my job. See what you can find out about this.
Now Congress wants to have 5-7 days of mandatory paid sick leave for small companies. In this economy many small businesses are working just to keep the doors open. Mandates like this create a whole new set of administrative burdens and make it that much harder to operate and earn a profit. Don’t they think I know how to run my business?
Santa, I hope you can get me a few answers to the items on my list. I told you my list was different this year. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Merry Christmas.
Yours Truly,
P.S. Eileen Anderson helped Virginia write this letter. Virginia dreams of one day being a successful entrepreneur.
Posted: 12/2/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Government Relations

What do you think of Rep. Altmire’s “NO” vote for HB 3962???? Do you agree or disagree with his reasoning??

One part of advocacy at SMC is keeping members informed and educated on the issues affecting small business. The other part is making opportunities available for members to interact with elected officials such as our November 16th Government Relations committee meeting with Rep. Jason Altmire. 

The turnout of fifty concerned business owners was a clear indication of members’ level of interest about what is going on in Washington, D.C.
Altmire was scheduled to speak for 1 hour but stretched his visit to nearly 2 hours. As one of the most knowledgeable members of the US House of Representatives on health care reform, he gave a brief overview of health care reform legislation and then opened the floor to questions. He didn’t miss a beat as members peppered him with a multitude of questions about health care, trade, taxes, climate change legislation, the stimulus, and so forth.
The Congressman, a fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat, was one of only 39 Democrats to cast a “NO” vote against the House’s health reform bill. HB 3962 passed by a narrow margin of 220-215. When queried specifically about his “NO” vote, Altmire, said he couldn’t vote for the bill because it contained only two of the three elements he deemed necessary for successful reform: insurance market reforms and coverage of the uninsured. The bill fell short on the third element- health care cost containment.
He weighed the merits of voting for the flawed bill but couldn’t overcome his main objection that the bill doesn’t adequately reduce health care costs and would only compound the problems of the health care system. In order to realize cost savings inefficiencies must be wrung out of the system and the reimbursement method for providers must be fundamentally changed.


Posted: 11/22/2009 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Government Relations


Some days it seems like complaining is the national pastime. I "maxed-out" on complaints yesterday while walking with friends who spent an hour complaining about a woman text messaging during a show they attended.....


Listening to that hour of adult whining spurred me to rededicate myself to making life better for small businesses. Many days it is a challenge to rise above the feeling that "Nothing can be done". But the system does work. I am thankful I can voice my opinions on public policy to elected officials and vote for the candidates of my choice.


Small businesses have every reason to be concerned about what is taking place in Congress on a number on fronts...from aspects of health care reform, the Employee Free Choice Act, the 1099 tax reporting issue, climate change legislation, estate tax and so forth.


Next week I will put my helmet on and go back into battle for small business. This week I am thankful just to have the ability and the opportunity to do so.








Posted: 11/9/2009 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Government Relations


Here’s the Plan.


Health Care - SMC is monitoring health care legislation and working through our affiliate in Washington D.C to give you a voice. The House passed HB 3962 on November 7. Now the ball is in Senator Harry Reid's court.  Reid will have to work hard to gather 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.


We will keep you in the loop as legislation moves through the Senate and may do an action alert at a critical juncture. Our sources say it is more effective to call or fax than email. If you can’t get through to Washington on the phone then try calling a district office. Your message will be passed on to D.C.


State Issues - SMC will also be assembling our state agenda.  I will send a survey and also call businesses to ask, “What’s your biggest pain?” Speaking with you is by far the most enjoyable part of my job.  Then I know I am touching and hearing something real as opposed to information gathered from the media or other sources. You are in the trenches.


Once issues are gathered and vetted we intend to have a series of phone conferences with key state legislators and gubernatorial candidates to get small business issues on their radar.