Small businesses are the engine of America's economy, representing more than 95% of all employers. They are responsible for 50% of our gross domestic product and are creating 2 out of every 3 new jobs according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). In Wisconsin, over 431,000 small businesses, including 318,541 self-employed individuals, contribute enormously to our state economy and communities.
Unfortunately, our economy is still recovering so it’s tough times for many small businesses. The current economic conditions and resulting credit crunch are making it difficult for small businesses to meet basic requirements, such as making payroll, keeping the shelves stocked, and purchasing the necessary materials for manufacturing. As a member of the tax writing House Committee on Ways & Means, I have introduced a number of commonsense proposals to help Wisconsin small businesses compete by giving them the tools and incentives to grow and create jobs.
Small Business Resource Center
Please visit my Small Business Resource Center for information and links to resources about current legislation affecting small businesses, new tax benefits, the impact of the health care reform, and financial information as well as other tools. The online portal connects small business owners and employees with useful resources to promote growth and stability.
Small Business Agenda
Creating new jobs and meaningful investments in western and central Wisconsin is my top priority. For this reason, I’ve authored and worked on legislation to do just that, including:
Modernizing Small Business Rules
There are 59,000 registered S-Corporations operating in Wisconsin. These small, family run businesses are taxed twice on assets they sell in the first 10 years of operation. In order to fix this unfair taxation, I recently reintroduced the S-Corporation Modernization Act. Thislegislation would preserve the continued success of these companies by adjusting the tax code to increase these businesses' access to capital. This would make it easier for existing businesses to convert to S-Corp Status.
Providing Retirement Opportunities for Employees of Small Businesses
Currently, many small businesses do not offer a 401(k) or similar retirement savings plan because of the complexity, cost, and liability of sponsorship. In response to this problem, I have previously introduced the Small Businesses Add Value for Employees (SAVE) Act, which would improve existing SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401(k) retirement plans to make it easier for small businesses to offer savings plans to their employees.
Affordable Health Care
Many small businesses and family farmers are not able to afford health care coverage for their families or their employees. Health care reform will give small businesses access to quality insurance options and provide tax credits to help make the coverage affordable.
Beginning in 2014, health care reform creates state-based Health Insurance Exchanges, based on legislation I authored called the SHOP Act, to make health insurance affordable and accessible for family farmers, small business owners and individuals without employer-based coverage. By being given the ability to join a large purchasing pool, small businesses will now have access to the same types of quality, affordable coverage that only large firms have today.
Small businesses will be able to do one-stop comparison shopping for a transparent, affordable insurance plan that offers:
• Lower rates that currently only large groups and firms get
• Stable pricing from year to year
• Lower administrative costs
• A choice of quality plans
Health care reform also provides tax credits for small businesses and family farmers to help them offer employees coverage. This began immediately after the bill was signed into law. Right now, tax credits of up to 35% are available to cover the cost of employee health plans. That tax credit will be worth up to 50% of health plans' costs for small business employees starting in 2014.
For more information on how small businesses and family farmers will benefit from reform, please click here.
Helping Rural Business Prosper
I authored the Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit to generateinvestment in both start up and expanding rural microbusinesses by providing a 35% federal tax incentive to entrepreneurs who invest in their businesses. This is important for businesses in the midst of recession that need assistance in making critical investments. The credit is specifically targeted to entrepreneurs who are operating businesses in economically distressed rural areas where access to capital has always been a challenge and is even more difficult with the recent decline in bank lending to small businesses.