SBAM health insurance expert says new report shows federal health insurance reform won't work

SBAM's Vice President Small Business Services Scott Lyon comments on a recent Congressional Budget Office report that says federal health insurance reform will have little impact on health insurance premiums. Excerpt of his Forum post:

"Our point is simple – the problem that Michigan small businesses have with health insurance is cost and if the pending legislation does not help contain cost (or bend the cost curve) we are not solving the underlying problem. So what are we left with? We are set to add millions of people to a bloated and broken system at a cost of nearly $100 billion per year and we are going to hope that the cost containment features outlined work. Outside of Washington, who in their right mind would do such a thing?"

Read Scott's Forum post here.


New SBAM audio podcast: Gubernatorial candidate proposes big tax hike

Grand Rapids Press backs budget reform


Excerpt of Grand Rapids Press editorial:


"Over the next several weeks, and into the new year, The Press will run occasional editorials that bring sharp focus to ideas that we believe will help Michigan. Start with spending. Some 2,000 businesses and business organizations are urging state lawmakers to change the way state and local governments spend money. The group includes the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Manufacturers Association, the Small Business Association of Michigan and others.  Together, they’ve come up with a list of 20 laws that need refinement or enactment."


Read more here.


SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler Serves on Panel on Tax and Spending Reforms

This past Tuesday, Rob Fowler was part of a town hall style forum in Lansing that looked into Michigan’s tax and budget situation.

Fowler was among six participants representing a wide array of interests.

To view a video interview on this subject click here.

To read the article click here. 

Below is a list of the panelists:

  • Rob Fowler, CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan
  • Sharon Parks, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services, an advocacy group for low-income persons
  • Richard Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Charles Ballard, Michigan State University professor of economics
  • Doug Pratt, communications director for the Michigan Education Association 
  • Dan Gilmartin, executive director of the Michigan Municipal League, a group representing cities and towns
  • Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, a newly formed statewide business group.

It’s not over! Federal healthcare debate continues. Contact Congress today!

You can still take action to help stop federal healthcare “reform” that will devastate small businesses.


On Nov. 7 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act. This week, Sen. Harry Reid introduced his version. Both versions include the so-called "Public Option."


Health Reform still must pass the Senate and then likely move to a Conference Committee for reconciliation. From there, it’s back to the House and Senate for another vote, so this fight is far from over.


Please take a few minutes and contact your legislators in Washington. Urge them to vote against the bills that are currently up for discussion.


Although the bill itself is 2,000 pages long, there are many good summaries available. One of the best was done by the Kaiser Family Foundation. You can find it by clicking here.


SBAM Member Testifies Before House Banking Committee

Former SBAM Board Chair Jeff Van Winkle testified before the House Banking and Financial Services Committee last week.  The subject of the hearing was the difficulties that small businesses in Michigan are facing in getting credit from the state’s traditional lending sources.

Van Winkle is an attorney with the Clark Hill law firm in Grand Rapids.  Among his specialties is working with clients to obtain financing.

Van Winkle testified that the relationship between banks and their business customers has changed significantly in the last year.  Generally, it has been difficult to obtain a commitment for financing on terms that have been satisfactory to the borrowers. 

He outlined three specific challenges that borrowers face when seeking new loans or extending existing loans:

  1. Substantial devaluation of the value of collateral offered to secure the loan.
  2. Exceptionally restrictive covenants regarding continued operation of the business.  These include limitations on capital expenditures, debt to equity ratios, and similar restrictions.
  3. A requirement of improved debt to equity ratio, specifically requiring cash equity to be injected into the business.
The committee also heard testimony from small business representatives, bankers and credit union officials explaining how new regulations from federal regulators are making it difficult to make loans that would have been given 18 months ago.  This is especially the case in Michigan and for manufacturers.


The committee will continue to look at the issue to determine if there can be a state solution to this problem.

SBAM tops 7,100 members in October

The Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) statewide membership now tops 7,100, up nearly 400 members from October.

“Small business owners continue to join our cause in record numbers because they believe in the power of numbers and they believe in our mission of championing small business at the state capitol,” says Barry Robinson, SBAM’s vice president for sales and marketing.

SBAM is the only statewide and state-based association that focuses solely on serving the needs of Michigan’s small business community. It has been successfully serving small businesses in all 83 counties of Michigan since 1969. Small business owners can join the fight by clicking here.