Posts Tagged ‘National Federation of Independent Business’

Nevada Groups React To U.S. Supreme Court Decision On Health Care Law

By Sean Whaley | 1:52 pm June 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada groups and organizations weighed in on the controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the health care law today, with comments across the spectrum.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute, a libertarian think tank, called it a, “practical and significant blow to individual liberty.”

Photo by Franz Jantzen courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Our nation’s founders intended the constitution to greatly restrict the power of the federal government, but unfortunately, this ruling further expands federal authority,” said Joseph Becker, chief legal officer and director of NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation. “Not even King George believed he had the authority to compel colonists to buy the tea tossed overboard in Boston Harbor, yet we now have an expansion of federal authority which, through the force of taxation, mandates as a practical matter that citizens must buy private-sector goods.”

Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy policy director at NPRI, said: “Just because the Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional doesn’t change the damage this flawed policy will do to individuals in America’s health care system.

“The primary shortcoming of the health care industry is that government policies have induced too much cost-shifting and neutered the effectiveness of the price system,” he said. “The ACA just doubles down on this shortcoming by increasing the degree of cost-shifting to ludicrous proportions. Small businesses will pay more, families and individuals will pay more, and states could pay more.”

Nevada State Medical Association (NSMA) President Florence N. Jameson, M.D., a Las Vegas obstetrician-gynecologist and founder of Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, said in part: “Unfortunately, major health care problems are not resolved by this law. The Congress and the president must continue to work to find an acceptable way to sustain Medicare for seniors and persons with disabilities and the Medicaid program for indigent and chronically ill children and seniors.

“Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature will have to determine the impact on Nevada Medicaid of the Supreme Court’s decision, but it doesn’t make the funding of the Medicaid program easier,” she said. “It means that they must address again the often unfair way that health insurance coverage fails patients when they have the greatest need for medical care.”

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, which was the named plaintiff in today’s landmark decision, said: “The Supreme Court may have ruled that the act may be constitutional, but it’s not good policy.

“I agree with the dissenting statement that the Affordable Care Act exceeds federal power in mandating the purchase of health insurance,” she said. “The court confirmed the mandate is a tax on every American. Add the mandate tax to a host of other new taxes in the new heath care law and you have the most costly bill every thrust on the American taxpayer.”

Michael Ginsburg, Southern Nevada director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said: “This law expands coverage to more than 30 million people and eliminates the worst insurance company abuses such as premium price-gouging, discrimination and denial of care for the sick in order to increase corporate profits. This decision makes clear that implementation of the law must move forward at the state and federal level without further delays from partisan political interference – including governors and elected officials.”

Scotty Watts, president of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans, said: “Today is an historic day for Americans of all ages, an affirmation of a law that helps children, workers, and retirees obtain affordable health care. Americans can now live more secure, knowing that their health and well-being are no longer tied to the whims and greed of the big insurance companies.”

“Today is a tremendous victory for Nevada  seniors, their children, and their grandchildren,” he said. “But we cannot rest on our laurels.  In the 2012 elections we cannot let politicians roll back the progress we have made.”

Nevada was one of 26 states that challenged the constitutionality of the law that resulted in today’s ruling. Nevada was represented by Las Vegas attorney Mark Hutchison, who worked on the case for free after Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declined to challenge the law at former Gov. Jim Gibbons’ request.

Nevada State Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange said the decision, “offers relief to Nevadans with preexisting conditions, young people who can stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until they are 26 and seniors who rely on lower prescription drug costs.

“However, despite the Supreme Court settling this issue, Mitt Romney is still promising to fight old political battles of the past that would roll back protections from some of the worst abuses by the private insurance industry,” she said. “It’s time to move forward, end the partisan games and get back to work creating good paying middle-class jobs that stay here in Nevada.”

Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, said today: “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.

“Let’s make clear that we understand what the Court did and did not do,” he said. “What the court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or that it’s good policy.”

President Obama said in remarks at the White House: “The highest court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can.  But what we won’t do – what the country can’t afford to do – is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.

“With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward – to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law,” he said. “And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.”

 

Reno Businessman Speaks Out As New Effort Launched To Fight Excessive Regulations

By Sean Whaley | 3:51 pm October 25th, 2011

RENO – Businessman Raymond Pezonella said today he knew the burden of complying with government regulations had hit a new level of absurdity after an all-day audit resulted in an $8.99 gas tax charge to his company because of a trip to California that his workers had failed to record.

“This took two of my people all day long,” he said. “That guy tied up my conference room all day to do this document.”

Reno businessman Raymond Pezonella says regulations are becoming an increasingly burdensome part of his business. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

In another recent encounter with the regulatory process, Pezonella said he was visited by a federal employee who wanted to inspect gauges used by his company for soils testing because they contain a small amount of a radioactive element that potentially could be a homeland security concern.

But safety did not appear to be the main concern during the visit by the representative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of Hazardous Materials Enforcement, he said. Instead, his firm was fined $480 for failing to provide a proper shipping name. He was assessed another $1,400 for failing to maintain a package document.

Pezonella said he fought the fines and ended up paying $150. The state had just reviewed his business and gave him a top rating, he said.

The anecdotes point out the increasing regulatory burden placed on small business, he said.

“The biggest change is the attitude,” Pezonella said. “I think at one time people were working together. Governmental people were here, but they were here to help. Now they seem like they’ve taken an attitude well, every time they step on your door, they’re here not to help you but to figure some way to fine you for something you did wrong.

“I think it’s them against us,” he said. “Is it revenue generating? What is it for?”

Pezonella, in businesses for 35 years, offered himself up as an example of a businessman facing an increasing level or regulation and a more adversarial relationship with federal agencies as part of a project of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) called Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations.

Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations was launched nationally this summer and has since grown to nearly 1,000 members, with 170 of those in Nevada.

The national effort is focused on protecting small businesses and American jobs from the impacts of regulations recently proposed by the Obama administration, said Randi Thompson, NFIB state director.

“Continual regulations that are hurting small business are only going to delay any kind of recovery in this recession,” she said. “I’m not saying all government regulations are bad. We’re just saying there has to be a sensible balance here.”

The average small business spends about 20 hours a week to comply with federal regulations, not counting state or local rules, Thompson said.

There are 4,000 new federal regulations in the pipeline, she said.

Streamlining regulations to encourage job growth is a major topic both nationally and in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

Gov. Brian Sandoval last month sent a letter to President Obama seeking to ease the permitting process for mining development in the state to help create jobs. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., elected to congress last month in a special election, said one of his first objectives was to meet with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the issue of land use regulations.

Even President Obama has vowed to ease the regulatory burden on business.

Thompson said there have been a few successes in stopping the implementation of some regulations, such as a proposed federal change to require farm equipment drivers to have commercial driver’s licenses.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has denied it was considering such a regulation.

But while the Obama administration has announced an effort to reduce the regulatory burden, new regulations are being adopted at a rate of 10 a week, Thompson said.

While the intent of many of the regulations is good, Pezonella said they are being implemented at an ever-growing rate, requiring about 40 hours a month now to deal with in his business.

“They make them faster than I can read them,” he said.

Pezonella said he visits Washington, DC, and meets with his elected representatives every year to raise the concerns of excessive regulation, but nothing seems to change.

“I don’t think they have control over some of these departments,” Pezonella said. “I think they call but it doesn’t matter to these guys. They go do their own thing.”

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Audio clips:

Reno businessman Raymond Pezonella says government officials used to be helpful:

102511Pezonella1 :21 you did wrong.”

Pezonella says he would like to know why federal officials have become so adversarial:

102511Pezonella2 :14 is it for?”

NFIB State Director Randi Thompson says overly burdensome regulations will delay the country’s economic recovery:

102511Thompson1 :06 in this recession.”

Thompson says all regulations aren’t bad, but there needs to be some balance:

102511Thompson2 :09 in the pipeline.”

 

State Senate Republican Offers Bill To Exempt New Employees from Modified Business Tax

By Sean Whaley | 6:41 pm March 1st, 2011

CARSON CITY – A Republican state senator has proposed his own idea for job creation: A break on the modified business tax for new employees hired by employers after July 1, 2011.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said Senate Bill 199 would exempt new employees hired by Nevada businesses from the tax as an incentive to add workers to their payrolls. Co-sponsors include five other Republican lawmakers. The measure was introduced Monday.

“The concept is based on the payroll tax, which unfortunately unfairly burdens employers based on how many employees they have,” he said. “Only if it is a brand new additional employee – above and beyond what you currently have – the new employee will not have the payroll tax charged upon them for one year.”

Settelmeyer’s jobs proposal comes as Democratic leaders in both the Assembly and Senate are touting their own job creation initiatives, including a plan to use some existing revenues to bond to build public works projects, and another to create a bidder’s preference on such projects for companies that hire Nevada workers.

SB199 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee but no hearing has been scheduled yet.

Settelmeyer’s bill would require employers to demonstrate that any employees hired under the tax exemption are new additions to a firm’s current workforce, but there would be no limit to the number of new hires that could be included in the exemption. The exemption would be available to existing businesses only.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the organization typically opposes tax exemptions or abatements but believes Settelmeyer’s proposal is a positive job-creating measure.

“We do see this as a private sector jobs creation bill,” he said. “Anytime you can stimulate private sector hiring without relying on public sector dollars, that is a good thing.”

Nevada’s nearly 15 percent unemployment rate does not appear as if it will decline anytime soon, and the tax incentive in SB199 could assist in reversing that trend, Wachter said.

Randi Thompson, the local representative for the National Federation of Independent Business, said the bill is a good start to getting Nevadans back to work.

“Anything that would encourage hiring is a good thing,” she said.

Thompson said she remains concerned, however, about the Legislature’s intentions as to the current rates of the modified business tax.

Nevada’s modified business tax is based on an employer’s gross payroll, after deductions for health insurance benefits paid by the employer. The 2009 Legislature increased the tax rate from 0.63 percent to 1.17 percent for large businesses as a way to balance the current budget.

At the same time, it reduced the rate to 0.5 percent for small businesses. Both changes will expire on July 1, 2011, unless the Legislature takes action.

Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to let the increase for large businesses expire, but he wants to continue the lower rate for small businesses for the upcoming two-year budget.

Settelmeyer said he has been told by small businesses that the exemption could make the difference between hiring a new worker and waiting. Larger casino operators have made similar comments, he said.

Audio clips:

Sen. James Settelmeyer says the payroll tax burdens employers based on the number of employees:

030111Settelmeyer1 :08 employees they have.”

Settelmeyer says only new employees would be eligible for the exemption:

030111Settelmeyer2 :08 for one year.”

Nevada Small Business Owners Support Key Aspect Of Obama Health Care Law

By Andrew Doughman | 4:00 am February 28th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A new study shows support for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plan to implement President Barack Obama’s national health care reform law.

Nevada small businesses prefer a health insurance exchange crafted in Nevada rather than one created and implemented by the federal government, according to a survey from the local branch of the National Federation of Independent Business.

The small business association is the only private organization suing with 26 states, including Nevada, against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law sometimes called “Obamacare.”

Nevada’s government has chosen to adhere to the law’s deadlines until a definitive court ruling either upholds or strikes down the law. In doing so, the state government has more say in meeting the law’s mandates.

About 100 businesses responded to the poll’s question: “Should Nevada establish its own health insurance exchange instead of deferring to the federal government?”

A majority, 55 percent, said Nevada should be in charge while 19 percent voted ‘No,’ Nevada should not be in charge.

The remaining 26 percent were undecided, perhaps revealing that the law’s intricacies are still new to some business owners.

Many are familiar with the “individual mandate” that sets a deadline for the imposition of penalties for not having health insurance. This is the aspect of the law most frequently called “unconstitutional” by those like Sandoval and others suing to have the law overturned.

The health care insurance exchange is a less-trumpeted piece of the law that could act like a clearinghouse for first-time individual and small business buyers. It’s supposed to be active by 2014, but the planning has already started.

Nevada has hired a Massachusetts-based contractor to help set up what is essentially a Travelocity or Expedia for health insurance; it would find the best deals for a buyer based the buyer’s preference and other personal criteria.

It’s an important concept for small businesses because the federal law allows businesses with up to 50 employees to purchase “qualified” health insurance plans through the exchange. One question Nevada’s policymakers will have to answer is whether the state’s exchange should have a separate division just for small businesses.

Two public meetings, one in Las Vegas and one in Reno, are slated for this Tuesday and Wednesday to allow public comment regarding Nevada’s exchange.

Some policymakers are also entertaining the idea of establishing such an exchange even if the federal law is ruled unconstitutional.

“Regardless of whether this bill gets repealed or not, I have a feeling that health care exchanges will be part of the future anyway,” said Randi Thompson, the local representative for the National Federation of Independent Business.

As KUNR reported earlier this month, Mike Willden, the director of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, has also talked with Sandoval about decoupling the federal law’s mandates and Nevada’s health insurance exchange.

“He [Sandoval] thinks there may be some sense in having a health insurance exchange even if the Supreme Court strikes down the law,” Willden said Friday outside of a committee hearing about the federal health care law.

The National Federation of Independent Business conducts a poll annually so that its lobbyists have some direction for their efforts during legislative sessions nationwide.

In Nevada, the poll’s three other questions were not nearly as controversial as the health insurance exchange question. Among respondents, 77 percent said they would favor penalties for businesses hiring illegal immigrants, 72 percent would support tax exemptions or incentives to promote job growth and 75 percent would endorse a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new government workers.

Thompson said she sent the poll to the approximately 2,000 Nevada members of the National Federation of Independent Business, and said that the 100 respondents represented a “broad spectrum of businesses.”