Advocacy

In Support of Small Business

You have a business to run, so the team at SBAM constantly monitors issues affecting small business so you don’t have to.  SBAM also helps to give you and other small business owners a voice in the democratic process by connecting members with influential policymakers.

You can help protect your small business and help bolster Michigan’s entrepreneurs by getting involved today.

SBAM has an easy way for you to contact your elected officials. Take action now and voice your support for small business by:

  • Contacting your legislators
  • Examining voting records   
  • Locating your elected officials
  • Tracking key issues
  • Learning about elections

Policy Agenda

SBAM recently released its Small Business Policy Agenda. Download your copy here.

 

Latest Legislative News

SBAM and other business leaders blast Granholm’s stance on Proposal 2

SBAM and other members of the business community today criticized Jennifer Granholm’s announced support of Proposal 2.  As Governor, Jennifer Granholm presided over one of the worst economies in Michigan. Under Granholm’s time as Governor, Michigan saw record-high spending, massive tax increases, and record unemployment numbers.

“Proposal 2 would cost taxpayers $1.6 billion if passed. The Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Education Association issued opinions discussing scores of laws that would be overturned in part or in whole if proposal 2 were to pass,” stated Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “Those laws repealed would include bus safety certification standards, background checks on teachers, and important economic reforms.  Proposal 2 would destroy Michigan’s economy and small business owners across Michigan are opposed to it.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that during Granholm’s tenure as Governor, Michigan’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) fell from 24th to 41st. The unemployment rate under Jennifer Granholm almost doubled during the years she was in office going from 6.6 percent to 13.1 percent when she left.

“Jennifer Granholm made countless poor decisions as Governor, but Granholm’s support of Proposal 2 is the worst decision she has ever made,” stated Michigan Chamber of Commerce CEO Rich Studley. “Proposal 2 would severely damage Michigan’s economy and we can’t take the risk.”

SBAM and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce are active members of Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, a coalition opposed to Proposals 2, 3, and 4.

SBAM helps small business owners meet with northern Michigan House candidates

SBAM is conducting a roundtable meeting with Rep. Matt Huuki and local small business owners on Thurs., Oct. 4, 11:30 am to 1 pm at the Rock House Grill and Pub, 915 Razorback Drive in Houghton; and with Rep. Ray Franz on Friday, Oct. 5, 11:30 am to 1 pm at The Bungalow Inn, 1100 28th Street, Manistee.

“We encourage small business owners in these districts to attend the meetings and share their issues and concerns with the state representatives,” says SBAM Director of Government Relations Dave Jessup. “The representatives are especially interested in hearing how business tax reform and positive regulatory changes on the state level are contributing to improve job growth and business optimism.”

Both Rep. Huuki and Rep. Franz were recently featured on SBAM’s “Business Next” audio seminar program on the Michigan Business Network. Click here to listen to the Huuki interview and here to listen to the Franz interview .

Legislature takes up health insurance issues. What it means to you!

Listen on Michigan Business Network.

The state legislature this past week took up several health care-related issues. SBAM’s Director of Government Relations Dave Jessup has an update. And, Gov. Snyder’s plan to make Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan a nonprofit mutual was debated before the Senate Insurance Committee. SBAM’s Senior Vice President Scott Lyon talks about his testimony to the committee in favor of the governor’s plan. Plus, Bill Sheffer, Director of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds, talks about the small business aspects of this important sector of Michigan’s economy. (Segments 3 & 4)

Business consultant Mike Pircir offers his top tips for having a productive and distraction-free day in your office.

Kent Casella, Michigan State University communications expert, talks about crisis communications basics for small business owners.

Weekly endorsed candidate bio: Matt Huuki

The Michigan Legislature, over the past two years, has enacted unprecedented reforms geared toward unleashing the power of small businesses to grow and create jobs.  From comprehensive business tax reform to eliminating regulatory red tape, Michigan has taken giant steps forward in its economic comeback under the leadership of Governor Snyder a key legislative leaders.  While much has been accomplished, there is still much to do.  This makes the 2012 Election the most important for small business in decades.

SBAM is committed to maintaining this positive momentum and would like to highlight House members who have been instrumental in reforming state government.  Over the next several weeks leading up to the election, SBAM will profile candidates who have demonstrated themselves to be friends of small business.  Members are encouraged to engage with these local candidates to thank them for their strong support on issues important to Michigan small business.

Representative Matt Hukki (R-Atlantic Mine), a small business owner himself, has demonstrated a command of the issues critical for small business growth, and carries a 100% voting record on SBAM priority issues.  Representative Hukki faces stiff competition in this fall’s election, having come under attack for his vote to repeal the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) and his support for the new Corporate Income Tax (CIT).  We hope members will take a moment to learn more about Matt.

For a full list of SBAM endorsed candidates, click here.

Learn how small business growth is accelerating in northern Michigan and mid-Michigan.

Listen on the Michigan Business Network.

Friday on Business Next, Michael Rogers interviews State Representative Ray Franz to gain some insights on small business job growth and prosperity in northwest Michigan and talks with State Representative Deb Shaughnessy about entrepreneurial activity in her district west of Lansing. Also on today’s show, Kiva Detroit helps community organizations provide local small businesses with microloans. Michael talks with Elizabeth Garlow, who runs Kiva Detroit; and motivational speaker and trainer Paul Artale talks about how to set up your small business employees for success. (Paul's Segments:  One, Two & Three)

SBAM testifies in support of BCBSM reorganization plan

Small businesses encouraged that this legislation will drive Michigan toward a level playing field for BCBSM, commercial insurers and HMOs.
               
SBAM told the Senate Insurance Committee today in Lansing that the organization supports Gov. Snyder’s proposal to make Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) a nonprofit mutual. “We are encouraged that this legislation will drive Michigan toward a level playing field for BCBSM, commercial insurers and HMOs, and will streamline the outdated insurance regulatory system,” said SBAM Senior Vice President Scott Lyon.

However, SBAM expressed concern over a section of the proposal that has BCBSM contributing $1.5 billion over 18 years to a separate non-profit organization. Lyon noted that much of the money that BCBSM holds in reserve and would be available for this new non-profit has come from the premiums paid by small business owners. “With cost being the number one problem small businesses encounter daily in providing health insurance for their employees and family members, we do not want an unintended consequence of this contribution to a new nonprofit to be an increase in costs for our members and be a disincentive for job providers to offer coverage for their employees,” Lyon said.

Lyon told lawmakers that it’s important not to repeat the unfairness of the Medigap issue from late last year where small businesses were forced to subsidize seniors to the tune of about $200 million a year. “It has turned into the small business community paying additional premiums to subsidize coverage for seniors who are getting better coverage than what the small business is able to provide to their own employees. That is blatantly unfair,” said Lyon.

He cited an SBAM-commissioned study (“BCBSM Medigap Subsidies: Unintended Consequences” by the Hillsdale Policy Group’s Gary Wolfram) that found that any amount of BCBSM earned subscription income that must be used to subsidize the Medigap coverage of senior citizens cannot be used to lower the premium of the small business owner who is providing health insurance for her employees, or the person who lost his job and must seek out individual coverage, or any of the other policyholders of BCBSM.

Lyon said that small business customers deserve to have a voice in the new non-profit organization and suggests that the organization fund efforts such as measuring the cost and quality of hospital and ambulatory surgical centers across the state, financing a mandated benefit review commission that would provide legislators with an independent cost benefit analysis of the mandates that are on the books now and any future mandated benefit proposals, and other cost containment measures.

Improve your small business phone etiquette.

Listen on the Michigan Business Network.

Today on Business Next, Michael Rogers talks with business consultant Tom Borg about how to craft an effective phone message-on-hold; suggestions on hiring standards and improving the employment process; and techniques for controlling stress.

Also today, State Representative Matt Huuki, a small business owner who represents the western Upper Peninsula, talks about small business growth and innovation in his region; the Center for Michigan is conducting its 2012 Community Conversations. Courtney Thompson, outreach coordinator for the Center for Michigan, has details; and the Michigan 2013 Economic Outlook Survey is kicking off soon. David Baker, the project coordinator, talks about the importance of small business owners participating in the survey.

Rep. Mark Ouimet explains why small business is growing in his district.

Listen on the Michigan Business Network

Show host Michael Rogers talks about small business conditions in western Washtenaw County with State Representative Mark Ouimet.


Also today: April Clobes, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, discusses their startUP Challenge contest; Michael interviews business author Rod Kackley about his new book “Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community”; Michael talks with Mary Collier (session one and session two), owner of CircleCRecycling, an Ionia-based small business that recycles Styrofoam; and Dave Jessup, director of government relations for the Small Business Association of Michigan, reviews last week’s legislative highlights of interest to small business owners.
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