California's small businesses can now breathe a "collective sigh of relief," as Gov. Gray Davis vetoed three legislative bills that would have combined to push many mom-and-pop companies to the edge of insolvency.
So said Shirley Knight, California assistant state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, a Washington, D.C.- based business advocacy group. Knight praised the governor for aiding small business owners, who provide 97 percent of the state's non-government jobs.
"We commend the governor for exercising leadership and sound judgment in stopping dead in their tracks three measures that would have driven the cost of doing business in California out of sight and out of state," she said
The three bills in question were SB-996, which would have increased workers' compensation; SB-546, which would have increased unemployment insurance premiums; and SB-1149, which would have expanded the state's family-leave law, she said.
"With unemployment levels at record lows and a state budget surplus of $12 billion, it doesn't make an ounce of sense to throw sand in the oil of the machinery , small business job generation , that is responsible for this healthy economy," Knight said.
Knight noted 64 percent of California's 2.1 million full-time businesses are made up of sole proprietors without any paid employees, while an additional 32 percent have fewer than 20 employees. Big companies, with more than 100 employees, employ only 3 percent of the state's non-government workers.
"As numerically superior as small business is as a whole, they are much more fragile financially than bigger companies," said Knight. "They are hurt disproportionately harder when a new tax increase or regulation hits them. These three pieces of legislation the governor vetoed would have walloped many of them beyond repair."
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Local Company Honored: A Carlsbad-based firm was one of 63 small businesses nationwide to win the U.S. Small Business Administration's Tibbetts Award for its exemplary achievement in the Small Business Innovation Research program.
Ipitek, formerly the Tacan Corp., was honored Oct. 3 at a luncheon during the fifth annual Tibbetts Award ceremony in Washington.
The award is named for Roland Tibbetts, founder of SBA's SBIR program, in recognition of small businesses' superior achievements in innovation, research and technology. Awardees won for a wide variety of contributions, including advances in medicine and agriculture, said Cecelia Taylor, spokeswoman for the SBA.
Ipitek won for its work in integrated optics, or placing several optical switches and other devices on the same unit, much in the same way that integrated circuit boards place dozens of transistors on the same chip. The optical switches are ultimately used for fiber optic communication, said Jim Bechtel, senior vice president for Ipitek.
The SBIR program accounts for more than $1 billion per year in federal research and development funds. The SBA coordinates this initiative with 10 other federal agencies, Taylor said.
Details on the program and the award are available at (www.sba.gov/sbir), she said.
Trim The Fat, Save At Tax Time: Does your business need to slim down? Is it carrying excess poundage in the form of nonmoving merchandise?
You can put it on an "inventory diet" that will not only lose those products but will cut the fat out of your taxes at the same time, said Jack Zavada, director of communications for National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources.
NAEIR, a Galesburg, Ill.-based nonprofit organization that collects donations from American businesses for redistribution among schools and nonprofits across the United States, advises companies to donate unproductive, overstock merchandise to charity.
That way, businesses can qualify for a federal income tax deduction, under Section 170(e)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. For more information, call the NAEIR at (800) 289-4551.
Send your small business and retail items to Lee Zion at firstname.lastname@example.org.