Small business Congress-watch: Three Reasons to Vote Next November?

A few times a year I take a browse through current legislation that has been introduced in our Congress. The idea is to stay current on what the folks in Washington are doing for small businesses and startups and to briefly analyze some of those priorities and efforts.

As business owners and operators who live our lives without the luxury of lobbying firms to represent our interests, we are vulnerable to the decisions that will be made with little or no input from us. Sure we can (and sometimes do) pick up the phone or send an email to one of our elected representatives to voice an opinion or advocate for an issue, but at the end of the day we have very little real power; what happens with legislation will happen and the impact on our businesses will occur regardless of our input.

Here  – for better or for worse – are three pieces of legislation proposed or pending in Congress that have the potential to impact your business. You can reach out to your Representative or Senator and let them know where you stand on these. Or you can simply wait until November and send your message in a electorally appropriate manner; in other words, feel free to vote the bums out!

H.R. 585: Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act  (Introduced 3/21/2012) Many of us have businesses that are heavily regulated by the government, while others enjoy lighter oversight. In either case, rules and regulations can have a real economic impact on small businesses. The Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act along with H.R. 527 (the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act) would require government agencies to consider whether new rules conflict or overlap with other existing rules, and require more input from small business representatives in making the rule making process. The point being that rules are often formulated without taking into account the real impact on small business in particular.

H.R. 4293: Restore Main Street’s Credit Act of 2012 (Introduced 3/28/2012) This law, currently in committee, would amend existing law to specifically define ‘Main Street business’ to mean “an organization, other than a nonprofit organization, with 20 or fewer full-time employees that possesses, occupies, or leases a physical property other than a home for the business’s operations.”  The law would require that credit unions, specifically, make extensions of credit more easily available to companies that meet this standard. More credit for small business during a time of notoriously tight lending standards? Sounds right to me.

S. 2284: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide expensing for small businesses (Introduced 4/16/2012) We all buy stuff for our businesses, right? And we all filed our business taxes recently, right? And we’d very much like to be able to deduct more expenses from our tax liability, right? Well this bill, introduced just a few days ago is designed to make it easier for us to do just that. Currently, when we make a capital expenditure, we typically have to depreciate the item over time and amortize the cost over several years. The bill would permit small businesses (defined as those with profits of less than $1 million) to expense, or immediately deduct, the entire value of the purchase in the year that purchase was made. Let me put it more simply: buy something and get the full value deducted in the same year you bought it. Nice.

photo: Photo Phiend