Legislative Round-Up for Aug. 20

SBAM Announces 2010 General Election Endorsements

Candidates Appreciate and Utilize SBAM Endorsement

SBAM Announces 2010 General Election Endorsements

Now that the primary elections are over, the Small Biz PAC (Political Action Committee) has made additional endorsements for the 2010 election cycle. The PAC committee is made up of SBAM members and staff who review surveys sent to each of the candidates, consult voting records, conduct personal interviews and consider other relevant criteria in determining which candidates will best serve the interests of small business.

The committee has made endorsements in 62 of the 110 House seats and 26 of the 38 Senate seats.

Link to Endorsements

Throughout the summer we will continue to evaluate the 2010 elections and we may announce further endorsements.

If you do not know your House and Senate district numbers please visit our Legislative Action Center and type in your zip code and address.

Candidates Appreciate and Utilize SBAM Endorsement

You may wonder how important the SBAM endorsement is to the candidates who are running for office. Many candidates seek our endorsement and most claim to be supportive of small business issues.

Numerous candidates throughout the state have thanked us for our endorsement and our “Stamp of Approval” both before and after the primary election. They feel that it is a valuable endorsement to have.

However, the proof is in how they utilize our endorsement. Many campaigns feature our endorsement on their campaign websites and in mailings. In many mailings we are among the few organizations whose endorsement is highlighted and whose logo is prominently displayed.

Further proof of the value of our endorsement is the fact they it was mentioned in at least one candidate’s radio ads.

So as you prepare for the November election look for the SBAM endorsement on candidates’ communications.

SBAM Endorses Rick Snyder

Rick SnyderThe Small Business Association of Michigan has endorsed Rick Snyder for Governor.

“Michigan small business owners believe that Rick Snyder’s experience as a leader in innovation and job creation gives him unique and valuable insight into what it will take to help Michigan excel in entrepreneur-centered economic development,” said Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “Michigan needs jobs, and jobs overwhelmingly come from economic gardening: the nurturing of successful, home-grown entrepreneurs. Rick Snyder is far and away the best choice for entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone who works for a small business.”

(Watch this video of Snyder's presentation at the SBAM Annual Meeting)

Fowler said the organization decided to endorse Snyder because its members were impressed by his carefully-thought-out plans to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, make government more efficient and reform Michigan’s overly-burdensome regulatory structure. Fowler also cited Snyder’s role in turning Ann Arbor SPARK into one of the most successful economic development programs in the country.

(What do you think of SBAM's endorsement of Rick Snyder? Leave a comment below and share this story with your social network by clicking one of the buttons below.)

Primary 2010

Bernero vs. Snyder for Governor

Congressional Races

State Legislative Races

Bernero vs. Snyder for Governor

In the Democratic primary for Governor Lansing mayor Virg Bernero defeated Speaker of the House Andy Dillon by a large margin 59 percent to 41 percent.  

Despite being outraised in funds and trailing in the polls for most of the year, Virg Bernero was able to easily defeat Speaker Dillon.  While many may be surprised that the Lansing mayor was able to come on so strong in the past couple of weeks, the fact that the more liberal candidate won the Democratic primary should come as no surprise.

Bernero appealed more to the proto-typical Democratic primary voter.  He had the backing of most of organized labor (which poured in over $2 million in television ads in the final weeks of the campaign) and he is pro-choice.  Dillon, on the other hand, has ticked off many of the unions with some of his proposals and is pro-life.  So it really should come as no surprise that the Lansing Mayor cruised to victory.

On the Republican side Ann Arbor business executive Rick Snyder won the primary with 36 percent of the vote.  He was followed by Congressman Pete Hoekstra with 27 percent, Attorney General Mike Cox with 23 percent, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard with 12 percent and State Senator Tom George with 2 percent.

The surprise here is the margin of Snyder’s victory (9 percent over Hoekstra).  For the last few months the race has been too close to call in all of the polling.  Snyder, Hoekstra, and Cox had all been neck-and-neck with all of them with slight leads at one point or another.

By spending nearly $6 million of his own money and positioning himself as the only candidate that was not a career politician, Snyder was able to appeal to a plurality of Republican primary voters.  He also made an appeal for independents to vote for him as well.  As a result, the more moderate anti-politician was able to defeat the crowd of conservative career politicians and win convincingly.

We congratulate both of the primary winners and will keep you updated as the campaign heats up over the next 3 months.

Congressional Races

With 3 open seats and numerous contested primaries throughout the state, Michigan saw the most interesting Congressional primary races in years.

1st District

In the 1st District where Congressman Bart Stupak announced his retirement in May, physician Dan Benishek is leading Senator Jason Allen by one vote according to the Secretary of State’s web site.  Each candidate garnered 38 percent of the more than 71,000 votes cast.  Of the four other candidates in the race, none garnered more than 8 percent of the vote.  The 1st District covers the Upper Peninsula and most of Northern Lower Michigan.

This race is headed for a recount and we may not know the final results for weeks.  The winner will go on to face State Representative Gary McDowell in the fall in what will be a hotly contested race.

2nd District

In the 2nd District where Congressman Pete Hoekstra gave up his seat to run for Governor, former State Representative Bill Huizenga edged out former NFL star Jay Riemersma by 658 votes.  Huizenga has 23 percent of the vote, Riemersma had 22 percent, State Senator Wayne Kuipers finished third with 20 percent.  Four other candidates split up the remainder of the vote.

The 2nd District covers 11 counties in Western Michigan.  Huizenga will likely be the next Congressman from the 2nd District as

Health care tax credit eligibility FAQ

Question:  What is the calculation for determining if my company may be eligible for the new health care tax credit?

Answer:  The new healthcare reform law makes tax credits available to certain small employers.  The tax credit is up to 35% of the employer contribution to health insurance premiums, but to be eligible there are several hurdles, including:

  • The company must have fewer than 25 employees (not including the owner and owner’s family members) and the number is calculated as follows:
  1. Employer counts all hours worked by all full-time and part-time employees (not to exceed 2,080 for any worker, and not including seasonal employees working fewer than 120 days per year).  
  2. The total hours worked is then divided by 2,080.
  3. The resulting number (rounded down to the nearest whole number) from the above calculation is the number of employees that should be used in determining eligibility.
  • The average wage must be less than $50,000 (not including the business owner and family members).
  • The business must contribute a uniform percentage of at least 50 percent of the premium cost for the employee only.
To receive the full tax credit, the company must have fewer than 10 employees and the average wage must be under $25,000.  Companies with 11 – 25 employees and wages under $50,000 are eligible for partial credits.

Following are a couple of examples on the calculation of the number of employees:
Example 1:
In the 2010 tax year, DEF Fiberboard Company has:
  • 7 full-time employees each working 2,080 hours per year - for a total of 14,560 hours
  • 3 part-time employees each working a total of 1,040 hours per year -  for a total of 3,120 hours
  • 1 part-time employee working a total of 780 hours per year
Therefore, 14,560 + 3,120 + 780 = 18,460.  18,460 divided by 2,080 = 9.0049 FTE rounded down to 9 FTE.  In this example, DEF Fiberboard Company would be eligible for the full tax credit (assuming they meet the other criteria).

Example 2:
In the 2010 tax year, GHI Industries has:
  • 7 full-time employees each working 2,080 hours per year – for a total of 14,560 hours
  • 4 part-time employees each  working a total of 1,500 hours – for a total 6,000 hours
  • 4 part-time employees each working a total of 1,040 hours – for a total of 4,160 hours
Therefore, 14,560 + 6,000 + 4,160 = 24,720 hours divided by 2,080 = 11.88 FTE, rounded down to 11 FTE.  In this example, GHI would be eligible for a partial credit (assuming they meet the other criteria).

The tax credit is nonrefundable for for-profit companies and is taken on your annual corporate tax return. It may be carried back one year or carried forward 20 years.  For tax exempt organizations, the tax credit reduces payroll taxes (Employee federal withholding, Employee Medicare tax, Employer Medicare tax).
The tax credit is available for tax year 2010 at a maximum rate of 35% and increases in 2014 to 50% (35% for tax exempts) if coverage is purchased through the Exchange and lasts for two years.  The credit is also capped by the average premium paid in the small group market based in the state. 

Now,  what about the wages calculation?  Again using DEF Fiberboard Company, their 9 FTEs have average annual wages of $24,000 (excluding owners and family members).  DEF paid $81,000 in health care premiums.  They meet the criteria for number of employees and average wages and, for this example, we will assume they pay 50% of the premium as well.  DEF’s tax credit would be:
  • 35% X $81,000 = $28,350.
Now, let’s use GHI Industries and their 11 FTEs.  Assume an average annual wage of $30,000 and health care

Be an informed voter in the Aug. 3 Primary. SBAM can help!

The Small Business Association of Michigan’s Small Biz PAC has endorsed candidates for Michigan State House and State Senate races.

In this audio podcast, Michael Rogers talks with Director of Government Relations Mike Batterbee about how the candidates were selected and why they deserve the support of small business voters in the Aug. 3 primary.

Gubernatorial candidates

Six of Michigan’s gubernatorial candidates each made a five-minute presentation at SBAM’s annual meeting in East Lansing on June 24. Watch the video by clicking the links below:


Note: SBAM has not endorsed a gubernatorial candidate for the Primary Election.

More Election Resources

  • is a non-partisan, interactive, video-based website that informs and engages both the citizens of Michigan and the candidates running for every major political office. allows Michigan citizens to connect directly with candidates, share their opinions, debate fellow voters and upload their own opinion videos.
  • The Center for Michigan has this article on how each of the gubernatorial candidates say they will reform Michigan.