Resources

SBAM Praises Senate Cuts in State Budget

SBAM today applauded Senate action that cuts $1.2 billion from Michigan’s proposed 2009-2010 state government budget. “Small business owners across this state have been forced to make difficult cuts within their business operations and it is about time that our state government does the same,” says Rob Fowler, president and CEO of SBAM.

Michigan faces a $1.7 billion budget deficit for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Compared to the Senate’s $1.2 billion in cuts, Democrats in the state House have proposed $525 million in cuts with more of the budget deficit to be made up with federal stimulus money.

Fowler praised Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and his Republican caucus for the difficult budget decisions they made this past week. “These are not easy decisions, but the reality of our current economic position demands that our leaders come up with budgets that are reflective of the actual revenues that are currently available,” says Fowler. “It is going to take bold leadership if we are going to find success in our economic recovery, and this week that leadership was demonstrated in the state Senate. We encourage all of our lawmakers to follow their lead all the way through the target setting and final budgetary process.”

The SBAM Small Business Champion Podcast: Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Funding Up for Renewal in Congress (4:15)

This week, SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Director of Government Relations Mike Batterbee about important legislation in Congress that would renew funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program. The weekly Small Business Champion podcast is the place where you can get the scoop on what’s really happening in Lansing and what it means to your bottom line.

You can listen to the podcast by:

Clicking here.

Going to the podcast website and clicking on the audio player for this week's program to play the report through your browser.

Subscribing to the podcast in iTunes or other software by using this feed.

You can find a podcast archive at http://www.sbam.typepad.com/focusingthepower/, where you can also comment on this podcast and find links to additional resources.

SBAM Presents Awards to State Senator, Journalist, Small Business Owner

SBAM named State Senator Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac) as the organization’s 2009 Legislator of the Year. Sen. Gilbert was presented the honor at SBAM’s 40th annual meeting and networking luncheon June 18 in East Lansing.

SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler said that Sen. Gilbert, a small business owner, has been a friend to small business throughout his legislative career. “He is a key member on Senate committees that affect small business and has worked closely with our government relations staff on issues such as repealing the MBT surcharge, excluding sales tax from the MBT gross receipts formula, and he is currently shepherding a bill package through the Senate that would make Michigan’s regulatory procedures more efficient and more fair to small business.  And he has always had a consistent voting record on issues important to small business,” said Fowler.

Mark Sanchez, associate editor of Business Review Western Michigan, was named SBAM’s 2009 Communicator of the Year. Fowler said that “In his two decades of business reporting, Mark has shown exceptional skill in deciphering complex topics, like health care, and explaining those topics in a logical and understandable fashion. He is willing to fairly evaluate all sides of a controversial issue and present a balanced, informative and useful report to his audience. Mark’s writing displays empathy for his small business readers and a clear understanding of the challenges they face as entrepreneurs.”

SBAM presented its 2009 Advocate of the Year Award to Jerry Grubb of Wee Discover Child Daycare & Learning Center in Waterford. “Jerry has been a staunch advocate for SBAM,” said Fowler. “He has become an active member of the Legislative Action Council and not only contacts his legislative officials on a regular basis, he knows them on a first name basis.”

SBAM Announces 2009-2010 Officers, Board

SBAM announced their 2009-2010 officers at the organization’s 40th annual meeting and networking luncheon June 18 in East Lansing.

  • Chair: Mike Fox, Ingenuity IEQ, Midland
  • First Vice Chair: Cynthia Kay, Cynthia Kay and Company, Grand Rapids
  • Second Vice Chair: Yan Ness, Online Technologies, Ann Arbor
  • Secretary: Becki Kraus, Rebecca Kraus & Associates LLC, Grosse Pointe Woods
  • Treasurer: David Rhoa, Lake Michigan Mailers, Kalamazoo
  • Immediate Past Chair: Tom Mathison, Tower Pinkster Architects, Grand Rapids
  • The officers’ terms of office will run from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Newly elected to the SBAM board of directors for terms that will run from July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2012 are Larry Eiler, Eiler Communications, Ann Arbor; Kirk Squiers, Central Michigan Graphics, Lansing; David Henderson, See Progress, Inc., Brighton; Bonnie Alfonso, Alfie, Traverse City; and Jerry Grubb, Wee Discover Child Daycare & Learning Center, Waterford.

Re-elected to the board of directors for terms that will run from July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2012 are David Choma, Metronet Telecom, Inc., Holt; Cynthia Kay, Cynthia Kay and Company, Grand Rapids; and Yan Ness, Online Technologies, Ann Arbor.

The SBAM Small Business Champion Podcast: SBAM Volunteers go to Washington, D.C., to Talk Federal Health Care Reform (7:09)

This week, SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Vice President Small Business Services Scott Lyon about a trip that he and a number of SBAM small business volunteers recently completed to the nation’s capital. One of the goals of the trip was to discuss federal health care reform with Michigan’s congressional delegation. The weekly Small Business Champion podcast is the place where you can get the scoop on what’s really happening in Lansing and what it means to your bottom line.

You can listen to the podcast by:

Clicking here to play the report on your computer.

Going to the podcast website and clicking on the audio player for this week's program to play the report through your browser.

Subscribing to the podcast in iTunes or other software by using this feed.

You can find a podcast archive here, where you can also comment on this podcast and find links to additional resources.

The SBAM Small Business Champion Podcast: Legislature Tackles Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform (7:11)

This week, SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Vice President Government Relations Dave Palsrok about recently introduced legislation at the Capitol that aims to reform Michigan's health insurance system. The weekly Small Business Champion podcast is the place where you can get the scoop on what’s really happening in Lansing and what it means to your bottom line.

You can listen to the podcast by:

Clicking here to play the report on your computer.

Going to the podcast website and clicking on the audio player for this week's program to play the report through your browser.

Subscribing to the podcast in iTunes or other software by using this feed.

You can find a podcast archive here, where you can also comment on this podcast and find links to additional resources.

 


Report: Small-group health market shrinking

As attention in Lansing focused on individual coverage, the health insurance market for small businesses in Michigan shrank again in 2008.

The number of member months in the small-group market for companies with two to 50 employees declined 12.7 percent last year to 8.8 million member months. Premiums paid decreased 7.9 percent to $2.44 billion, according to an annual report on small-group market competition by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation.

Scott Lyon, vice president of small business services at the Small Business Association of Michigan, attributes the decline to the economy and costs that together have a growing number of small businesses dropping coverage.

Read more here.

President’s Budget Overview Backs $28 Billion in Small Business Credit for FY 2010

President Barack Obama’s FY 2010 Budget Overview offers full support for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s credit programs, authorizing SBA to support loan guarantees of $28 billion to small businesses.

The FY 2010 Budget Overview provides a broad outline of the President’s budget priorities, including an appropriation for SBA of approximately $700 million. The full budget proposal with account level appropriation details is scheduled for release in April.

The spending cited in the broad proposal would be in addition to the $730 million funding provided for SBA credit programs in the recently enacted Recovery Act. That Act – for which most spending is targeted for use in 2009 and 2010 – authorizes SBA to raise guarantee percentages on some SBA loans to 90 percent, temporarily reduce fees on SBA-backed loans, expand funding for Microloans, and raise the maximum size of SBA-guaranteed surety bonds.

The bill outlines maximum authorization levels for SBA credit programs well above current demand for those programs. It sets a maximum of $17.5 billion for SBA’s 7(a) General Business Loan Guarantee program, $7.5 billion for the 504 Certified Development Company Loan program, $3 billion for the Small Business Investment Company debenture program and $25 million for the Microloan program.

The bill also provides for $1.1 billion in direct disaster loans and provides for the launch of a pilot program to test the use of SBA-guaranteed loans as part of the agency’s response to disaster declarations.

Aside from those credit provisions, the proposal:
• sustains funding for the agency’s technical assistance and training programs
• improves federal contracting data and continues reviews of small business size standards to help improve targeting of federal contracting opportunities for small businesses
• modernizes core agency information systems, streamlines loan processes and enhances human capital resources

The Budget Overview also includes the Obama Administration’s Small Business and Community Bank Lending Initiative to expand small business credit availability and affordability by unfreezing secondary markets for small business loans as part of the larger plan to revive the flow of credit in the economy.

SBAM in the News

The Detroit News published an article on April 20 called "Risky business: Metro area entrepreneurs launch start-ups despite tough economy."

Excerpt:

Many entrepreneurs are digging into their savings, borrowing money from friends and family or teaming up with investors to start businesses. Auto workers who got hefty buyout checks are using those in combination with other forms of capital.

"The economy really stinks," said Mike Rogers, vice president of communications for the Small Business Association of Michigan. On the other hand, there's less competition. "If you can get credit, it's inexpensive right now. If someone has the drive to live their dream and be their own boss, they're not going to let the economy stop them."

Read the entire article here.
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