Legislators are often criticized for enacting laws without realizing the full impact on their constituents. Frequently small businesses and corporations are lumped together under the business category in the minds of legislators and voters alike. How do small business interests compete with deep pockets corporations, unions and other special interest groups steadfast at getting the ear of legislators? We in the trenches know that what is good for those groups may be at odds with the reality of small business owners.
NAWBO has focused on public policy issues of national and statewide interest impacting women entrepreneurs and small businesses since 1975. By attending White House events, providing Congressional testimony, holding advocacy conferences, developing reports, and educating members, NAWBO has consistently brought the concerns of women business owners to our lawmakers in California and Washington, D.C.
In 1988, NAWBO played a key role in the passage of The Women’s Business Ownership Act, also known as H.R. 5050. This landmark legislation allowed women to receive business loans without the co-signature of a male relative. H.R. 5050 also created the National Women’s Business Council, a body of women entrepreneurs and women’s organizations that provides counsel to the President and Congress.
The following four areas have been a NAWBO priority at the National Level:
Access to Capital for Women-Owned Businesses
NAWBO supports federal legislation that helps to overcome the current barriers related to access to capital by women business owners (WBOs) and reduces the risk of private sector lending to small businesses. The major sources of funding that women business owners continue to rely on are personal savings, reinvested business earnings, lines of credit, loans, equity financing, and venture capital, in that order.
NAWBO favors a three-pronged advocacy approach in this area, choosing to focus on the various SBA loan programs, the Small Business Investment Company program, and tax incentives to encourage investment in the small business sector.
Increased Federal Procurement for Women Business Owners
NAWBO supports achievement of the 5% Federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and other steps designed to assure women business owners their fair share of Federal contracts and contract dollars. Failure to achieve the 5% goal has cost women business owners an average of $5 billion in lost contract dollars each year.
NAWBO opposes contract bundling, the Federal government’s policy of consolidating its purchases of unrelated goods and services into a single large contract. Bundling limits the opportunities for small businesses to effectively compete, thereby restricting competition and increasing the overall cost of goods and services to the federal government.
Affordable Health Care
Health care insurance cost reduction is a very important issue for NAWBO members. The results of the 2010 NAWBO Public Policy Survey show that health care cost issues are third only to the economy and business taxes as issues affecting our members’ businesses and their votes. In this critical time NAWBO wants to be part of the dialogue on health care reform.
NAWBO supports legislation that will make health insurance more affordable for women business owners and their employees. NAWBO will consider and support, as appropriate, federal and state legislation designed to address the rising cost of health insurance by lowering premiums or creating tax incentives that make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for small business owners and their employees.
Fair and Equitable Tax Treatment
NAWBO supports fair and equitable tax policy for large and small businesses that fosters the economic growth of women-owned and other small businesses. Legislation should be enacted to ensure tax equity and basic fairness for all forms of small business organizations. The privilege of deducting legitimate business expenses should no longer be based upon the entity chosen to operate the business.
For more information about the efforts that NAWBO national is making on our behalf please visit http://nawbo.org/section_263.cfm.
NAWBO California is having a Public Policy Day in Sacramento on June 12th where you will have the opportunity to speak to your legislators about the concerns of small businesses. If you are thinking that you do not have the skills or comfort level to do this, rest assured you will be in the company of NAWBO sisters who will skillfully model the art of effectively communicating with legislators, even those who may be from a different political party than you.
If you are interested in attending the June 12th Public Policy day, please let me know. Additionally, if you are interested in becoming part of NAWBO-OC’s group to address public policy issues, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So back to my original question – where is your voice? Being part of NAWBO gives you a very clear voice at both the National and State level. It is one of the benefits of membership.
Our March dinner meeting provided a moderator and panel of three veteran small-business owners and experts in the fields of business law, staffing, and organizational development to provide insightful information to grow your company and avoid business growth obstacles. Click here to learn about many of the key points the panel covered.
I look forward to seeing you at many of the exciting upcoming events. Click here to make sure that you don’t miss any.
Have a productive and successful month.
Maureen Rhyne, Ph.D.
NAWBO-OC 2011-2012 President
President, Heritage Associates, Inc.