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A non-partisan, member driven organization that promotes the success of small business through political advocacy, networking, support services and educational programs.
By Amy Masters
The SBAC Health Care Committee, led by Steve Banke of 3Points, along with other dedicated SBAC members have been amazingly effective in pushing the Illinois Senate this veto session to pass HB 3976 to create small business health care co-ops. Read more about this bill here. While major strides have been made in the areas of legislative contact, coalition-building, and grassroots outreach, we still need your help to get HB 3976 passed.
HB 3976 passed the Illinois House earlier this year with strong bi-partisan support from across the state. At present, the bill is stalled in the Senate and must first be called for a vote and passed by the Senate Insurance Committee, chaired by Senator William Haine (D-Alton), before proceeding to the Senate floor. Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg is sponsoring the bill, and SBAC members have been successful at contacting and encouraging other senators to co-sponsor the bill, including Senators Annazette Collins, Jacqueline Collins, Susan Garrett, Linda Holmes, Dan Kotowski, John Mulroe, Michael Noland, Martin Sandoval, Ira Silverstein, and Heather Steans. More sponsors are still needed in order to get this bill called and passed through the Senate.
While major strides have been made in pushing HB 3976, we still need your help to get this passed. Here’s what you can do:
1. Call or Visit your state senator’s office (go to Illinois State Board of Elections to find your senator at http://ow.ly/78R38) by phone or email/mail correspondence and urge him/her to co-sponsor and/or support the bill. Consider making a trip to Springfield to personally lobby your senator for the bill during Veto Session. Post as a comment to this blog article or forward responses to Steve Banke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Davis, the owner of Davis Audio & Video, is generally reserved when talking about political issues that impact his successful, family-owned, small business. However, when David talks about how difficult it is to compete with large on-line retailers, whose customers do not pay sales tax, he becomes passionate. David explains, “It is becoming increasingly more difficult for us to compete with large internet companies whose customers can avoid paying sales taxes. Local businesses cannot be expected to compete when the price of our products is inflated by a sales tax internet companies do not pay.”
We must level the playing field for local businesses to ensure they can survive, and thrive, in this changing economic environment. For that reason, the Small Business Advocacy Council strongly supports the Market Place Fairness Act. This bi-partisan legislation, introduced by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), will allow our local businesses to compete with larger companies, outside Illinois, whose customers are not burdened with the Illinois sales tax. Moreover, this legislation will raise approximately a billion dollars in revenue for Illinois without raising taxes. That revenue would be extremely valuable to Illinois, which struggles with fiscal concerns that include rising taxes and underfunded government programs.
As small and mid-size business owners who create over half of the jobs in this country, it is important to have our voices, thoughts, and ideas heard by the decision makers in this country. We are organizing two joint SBAC and Jewish B2B Business Leaders Delegation trips this coming year to Washington, D. C. and Springfield. Join us for our Second Annual Business Leaders Delegation trip to Washington, D. C. from February 27th- 28th. Our two-day agenda will include meetings with the White House, Small Business Administration, Departments of Labor and Commerce and Congressional leaders, amongst others. We are also incorporating a recreational piece to the trip.
Save the date for our Business Leaders Delegation trip to Springfield on April 30th. Our state legislative leaders influence and shape policies that directly affect our local business community and we look forward to making our voices heard in our State's Capital. Our one-day trip will include meetings with Department Directors and House and Senate leadership. We will also enjoy a dinner reception to finalize our day.
If you are interested in joining us in Washington or Springfield or have any questions, please contact Blanca Campos at Blanca@sbacil.org.
SBAC and SimpleHx Pushing Forward to Bring a Non-Profit Health Insurance Cooperative Option to Illinois Small Businesses
The SBAC has strongly supported the creation of a self-insured health insurance cooperative to compete with the four large health insurance companies that seem to arbitrarily raise the premiums of small businesses. As we often hear from political folks, small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. We should no longer be crippled by the failure to have access to affordable health insurance options for ourselves and our employees. The time to tackle this problem is upon us.
Approximately two years ago, the SBAC formed a coalition of business organizations to push for the right to build an Illinois health insurance cooperative. Through robust political action and the hard work of many in the coalition, the State permitted the formation of such a cooperative. The next hurdle was to obtain the necessary capital to fund the cooperative. Such funding is available through the Affordable Care Act, and both red and blue states have received loans to launch them. CMS, a governmental agency, has been charged with lending the funds to cooperatives. In that regard, CMS has apparently hired Deloitte, a multi-billion dollar accounting/consulting firm, to investigate the viability of perspective cooperatives and make recommendations regarding whether they should be funded.
Approximately one year ago, after securing the right to build a cooperative, the SBAC partnered with SimpleHx, a non-profit entity comprised of doctors, surgeons, high-level insurance professionals and hospital administrators, for the purpose of establishing an Illinois health insurance cooperative. This past summer, SimpleHx drafted a lengthy and exhaustive loan application and submitted it to CMS. Subsequently, we traveled to Washington and were interviewed by an array of folks from Deloitte. SimpleHx’s loan request was denied.