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

Small business owners sharing their stories of jobs filled across Michigan

The Michigan’s Small Business Jobs Insight project (, designed to tally and report the growing number of small business jobs being filled in regions and industries across Michigan, launched today at a kickoff event at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Job growth in Michigan is overwhelmingly centered in the small business sector and we believe it’s important to document this growth and report the impact these jobs are having on our state’s economic comeback,” says Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). “We are very pleased that the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Jobs Insight and has partnered with SBAM to help support entrepreneurs in northwest Michigan.” 

The key elements of include:

• a ticker that displays jobs reported by growing small businesses in the current month;
• a pie chart that shows the percentage per Michigan region of the total jobs reported per month;
• total jobs reported for the year to-date;
• the top ten industries for small business growth; and
• links to individual stories of regional small business job growth.

“Michigan has put tremendous public policy tools in place, from business tax reform to improvements in the regulatory climate to a new emphasis on economic gardening, that help lay a foundation of entrepreneurial business and employment growth,” Fowler says. “We know that small business owners are taking advantage of the improved business climate fostered by these public policy changes to fill job openings and accelerate job creation. reports where these jobs are and how they are benefitting everyone in our state.” is not a scientific count of every job filled in the small business community.

“We are reporting the jobs filled by our members and, if anything, these totals under-report the full, dramatic growth of small business jobs across the state,” Fowler says. “To enhance our reporting, we encourage individual small businesses to contact us with their stories of job creation.”

In addition to the website, MichiganJobsInsight can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

"This is the year of Jobs, Jobs and Jobs for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce; creation, retention and growth are vital to this area. It was through our work on a Job-o-Meter that the Chamber and SBAM realized there was potential to collaborate and partner for We are thrilled with the result and look forward to watching our region grow, now in a tangible and visual capacity,” Douglas Luciani, President and CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the Small Business Association of Michigan and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, MichiganJobsInsight is a collaborative statewide effort between Issue Media Group and other partners to capture small business job growth through editorial coverage with focus on growth and innovation.

SBAM represented at JOBS Act bill signing at White House

President Obama on Thursday signed into law the Jump-Start Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act, which will significantly improve small businesses’ ability to raise capital and help companies generate sustainable economic growth and jobs. The National Small Business Association (NSBA), which is SBAM’s national affiliate, was a leading proponent of the JOBS Act, and, as such, was invited to attend the bill signing in the White House Rose Garden.

NSBA Chair Chris Holman (a past chair of SBAM) was in the audience for the ceremony (pictured left.) “America’s small businesses have struggled to secure financing throughout the economic downturn which has greatly hindered our ability to grow and create jobs,” stated Holman, CEO of Michigan Business and President of The Greater Lansing Business Monthly. “The signing of this bill comes not a minute too soon.” 

According to NSBA data over the past nearly 20 years, there has been a direct correlation between job growth and small-business owners’ ability to garner financing—when small businesses have adequate financing, they create jobs. 
Today’s signing of the JOBS Act will enact: a crowdfunding exemption allowing small companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period which includes a preemption of state blue sky laws; the creation of an IPO OnRamp; an increase of the aggregate offering amount of all securities sold under Regulation A from $5 million to $50 million; and language allowing for general solicitation or general advertising to find accredited investors.

“The bipartisan passage of the JOBS Act and today’s signing ceremony exemplify how things in Washington can, and should work,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “When pragmatism and sound policy take precedence over politics, good things can happen.”

Legislature Sends Autism Mandate to Governor

On the last day before the Legislature was scheduled to adjourn for spring break, the House and Senate voted to send the controversial Autism Insurance Mandate legislation to the Governor.  Governor Snyder is expected to sign the legislation on April 2nd.   

SB 414 and SB 415 passed the House 91-19, and SB 981 passed 84-26. Immediate effect was ordered for all three. The no votes on SB 0981, which connects a $15 million dollar appropriation geared to help curb the costs of the mandate, were split between 21 Republicans and five Democrats.

The bills mandate coverage for autism in all insurance plans.  SBAM is generally supportive of measures that helps lower costs of care and allows increased access to treatment options for all health matters, including autism.  However, SBAM has long opposed any and all attempts to accomplish this through mandated benefits, as it foists the financial burden exclusively on small businesses and individuals through increased co-premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
SBAM applauds those who opposed the insurance mandate outlined SB 414 and SB 415.  Of the 19 voting against the measure in the House, all no votes came from Republicans.  SBAM members are encouraged to contact the following House members to thank them for standing with small businesses struggling to afford health insurance for their employees: Dave Agema (R-Grandville), Jeff Farrinton (R-Utica), Ray Franz (R-Onekama),  Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck), Ken Goike (R-Ray), Joe Haveman (R-Holland), Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine), Joel Johnson (R-Clare), Andrea LaFontaine (R-Richmond), Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township), Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham), Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt), Earl Poleski (R-Jackson), Amanda Price (R-Holland), and Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).  

As part of the debate, mental health advocates argued that the bill should be amended to include full mental health parity by mandating coverage for all neuropsychiatric disorders.  Amending it in that manner would have meant crushing cost increases in insurance premiums for small business owners.  Fortunately, those attempts were thwarted.  

Recognizing the tremendous impact the mandate would have on premiums, legislative leaders and the governor’s office included a structure whereby reimbursements could be made from the state for any autism-related claims and added a $50,000 cap on individual claims.  However, the appropriation that would reimburse claims is still in flux, as state leaders are still debating next year’s budget priorities. 

SBAM will continue to oppose any and all health insurance mandates due to the direct negative impact they have on a small business owner’s ability to provide his/her employees healthcare benefits.

Small Biz Tax Bills Introduced in House and Senate

From SBAM's national affiliate, NSBA:

Leaders in both the House and Senate have offered varying small-business tax packages. The first was offered last week by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), backed by House Ways And Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) which would offer a 20 percent tax deduction for small businesses. The second package was introduced Monday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) which would provide a hiring tax credit as well as extend the 2011-level bonus depreciation which expired at the end of last year.

House Tax Package

The Small Business Tax Cut Act (H.R. 9), was introduced on March 21 and will allow businesses with fewer than 500 employees to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent—for one year—of their active business income. This deduction also would apply to pass-through entities, which compose the majority of small businesses. Chairman Camp indicated at its introduction that the committee will consider the legislation and aims to hold a markup of the measure on March 28.

In the case of a qualified small business, the provision allows a deduction for 20 percent of qualified domestic business income of the taxpayer for the taxable year, or taxable income for the taxable year, whichever is less. However, a taxpayer’s deduction for any taxable year may not exceed 50 percent of certain W-2 wages of the qualified small business.

The bill would make the deduction more easily available than a version introduced in 2010, which contained dozens of exclusions including accounting firms, actuarial firms, financial services and brokerage firms, among others. Cantor also opted to use the U.S. Small Business Administration’s definition of a small business to determine who qualifies for the tax cut: “any employer engaged in a trade or business if such employer had fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees for either calendar year 2010 or 2011.”

The House is expected to take up the bill during the week of April 16. Cantor said his decision to pursue the narrowly crafted measure is based “on the same concept as behind the JOBS Act,” which passed the House by a wide bipartisan margin. He has indicated that he would like to drive toward overall tax reform this year but that he views the 20 percent tax cut as a necessary step “while we are working toward that goal.”

Senate Tax Package

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Reid, unveiled a $26 billion tax-cut bill on March 26. The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012 is designed to give small businesses a 10-percent income tax credit on new payroll for hiring new workers or increasing employee wages and will allow businesses to fully deduct the cost of significant investments made this year. The $26 billion in tax cuts would be temporary and apply only to 2012 wages and investments.

The bill sets a limit on the hiring tax credit at a maximum increase in eligible wages of $5 million per employer and the amount of the credit would be capped at $500,000.

As part of efforts to help stimulate the economy, Congress approved for 2011 expanded bonus depreciation of 100 percent of the purchase of new equipment placed in service in 2011. However, because Congress failed to extend that provision, it reverted to just 50 percent in 2012 and--unless additional language passes--will go away entirely in 2013. The Reid/Schumer tax package would only extend full depreciation for 2012.

While both measures could be positive for small businesses, the only true way to ensure fairness, transparency and eased complexity of the U.S. tax code is broad tax reform. Such broad reform is the best approach to spur long-term job creation, rather than piecemeal fixes.

Congress Passes NSBA-Supported JOBS Act

From SBAM's national affiliate, NSBA:

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate-amended version of Jump-Start Our Business Start-ups Act (H.R. 3606 or “JOBS” Act) by a margin of 380-41, addressing one of NSBA's top priority issues. The bill, which will ease securities regulations on small businesses making it much easier for them to raise capital through public capital markets, will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill originally passed the House along a wide bipartisan basis (390-23) and was then approved with amendments by the Senate last week, also on a bipartisan basis (73-26.) Prior to passage in the Senate, however, an amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and supported by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), among others, was adopted 64-35, . This so-called “crowdfunding” amendment (S.Amdt. 1884), will insert the Senate’s version of crowdfunding legislation into the bill, and among other things, require crowdfunding intermediaries to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The original House-passed version of H.R. 3606 did not contain such language.

The final bill includes the following provisions:
  • A provision that would, among other things, effectively amend Regulation A by increasing the aggregate offering amount of all securities sold within the prior 12-month period from $5 million to $50 million;
  • A provision (as inserted by the Senate) that would create a crowdfunding exemption;
  • A provision that would allow for general solicitation or general advertising to find investors, provided that all purchasers of the securities are accredited investors;
  • A provision that would raise the shareholder threshold for mandatory registration under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from 500 to 1000 shareholders;
  • A provision that would create an “IPO Onramp” making it easier for small- and medium-sized companies to raise money through capital markets by reducing costs associated with going public and phasing in certain regulatory obligations over time; and
  • A provision that would: (1) amend the securities laws and raise the threshold for mandatory shareholder registration from 500 to 2,000 shareholders for all banks and bank holding companies, and (2) amend U.S. securities laws to raise the deregistration threshold from 300 to 1,200 shareholders.
This bill was also supported by the administration.

This pro-growth, NSBA-supported legislation will positively transform the ability of small businesses to raise capital and help alleviate the disproportionate burden of compliance placed on small firms.

Advice on how we can reinvent Michigan. Today at 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar

Presentations from the recent Reinventing Michigan seminar in Lansing: State Budget Director John Nixon; David Lorenz, Manager, Public and Industry Relations, Travel Michigan; Sandra Rich, President of Hiring Solutions LLC; Bob Fish, president of BIGGBY COFFEE. Plus, interviews with Loch McCabe, president of Shepherd Advisors, on the tools available to help second stage companies grow and thrive. Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business Network. SBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.  

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How would you reinvent Michigan? Leave a comment below.

Legislative update: State House considers multiple health insurance mandates

(By Dave Jessup, Director of Government Relations) Proponents of mandated insurance coverage for the treatment of autism argued their case this week. At the same SBAM joined other core business groups in offering testimony opposing legislative efforts to enact price controls on oral chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. 


SB 414, sponsored by Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville); SB 0415, sponsored by Sen. Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) and SB 0981, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), were all up for discussion in the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee on Thursday. The bill sponsors were joined by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in voicing support for the package.

The package allows insurance carriers or third-party administrators to get reimbursements from the state for any autism-related claims. However, some observers doubt whether the $15 million dollar proposed appropriation is nearly enough to cover the cost of the mandate. This uncertainty, along with the many other factors that are projected to raise the cost of healthcare premiums, has led the business community, SBAM chief among them, to oppose the measure. 
SBAM is generally supportive of measures that help lower costs of care and allows increased access to treatment options for all health matters, including autism. However, SBAM has long opposed any and all attempts to accomplish this through mandated benefits, as it foists the financial burden exclusively on small businesses and individuals through increased co-premiums, co-pays and deductibles. 

Oral chemotherapy pharmaceuticals

On another front in the fight to help contain healthcare costs for small businesses, SBAM testified before the House Health Policy Committee this week to oppose mandated price parity for oral chemo therapy drugs. 

Pharmaceutical drugs make up a significant portion of the cost of health care and high-cost specialty drugs make up the fastest-growing segment of those cost drivers. The package of bills would shift those costs to employer healthcare premiums, as a result of mandating price parity. With the large self-insured companies exempted, the financial burden exclusively falls on the small business owner.

While neither committee took action on either issue, action could come as quickly as next week. SBAM members are encouraged to contact their lawmakers to ask them to oppose measures that mandate health insurance coverage, as insurance mandates continue to drive costs up for employer–sponsored health insurance. 

What do you think of these mandated benefit proposals? Leave a comment below!

Climate change? Yes -- the entrepreneurial climate is improving! Today at 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar

How are we doing on building Michigan's entrepreneurial culture? Interview with Rob Fowler, president and CEO of SBAM, on the results of SBAM's latest Entrepreneurship Score Card. Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business Network. SBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.  

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