City Seeking Input From Businesses on
Just as energy deregulation threatens to swell the ranks of the unemployed, the one government program designed to help them out is under attack.
So warned Martyn Hopper, the California director of the Washington, D.C.-based business advocacy group National Federation of Independent Businesses.
The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, with its slight surplus, is “too tempting an open bar tab” for lawmakers. However, as unemployment is expected to climb, every dollar of that money will be needed for its intended use, he said.
Unfortunately, legislators are coming up with ideas to tap into that surplus and use it for other purposes. Hopper referred to SB-28X and AB-122X, both of which would extend unemployment benefits not only to employees who lost their jobs, but also to those who lost time from work due to the energy crisis.
These are a “Pandora’s box of unforeseeable problems” not unlike the last major mess legislators made, which Hopper said , with no small irony , was the energy crisis.
The two vaguely worded measures leave unanswered whether employees are eligible for lost hours from work, or days, or even if they can collect unemployment insurance benefits while back at work. Also, the measure forces all employers to pay, whether or not they experience blackouts or any of their workers filed claims, he said.
Yet another measure, SB-523 by Sen. Dede Alpert, D-Coronado, would increase benefits, loosen eligibility requirements, and narrow the time from application to payment, Hopper said.
“Legislators need to work overtime on repairing California’s badly tarnished image, not sullying it further with ill-thought-out, poorly designed initiatives that will only bear rotten fruit,” Hopper said. “(This program) has provided a safety net for millions of Californians in the past and will be called upon again in the not-too-distant future.”
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Have A Say:
San Diego’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Service Committee is holding a public outreach meeting to better address the needs of small businesses throughout the city.
The meeting is a chance for small businesses to bring up “concerns that affect their ability to do business, from fees and regulations to permits and the availability of assistance programs,” said Eric Symons, spokesman for the city’s Community and Economic Development department.
The committee, which includes city council members, will rely on feedback from small business owners to help them refine city policies and programs, he said.
In addition to public testimony, there will also be presentations from the city’s Small Business Advocacy Board, each of the city’s 19 business improvement districts and others on a wide variety of small business topics, Symons said.
The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 23 at the InnSuites Hotel at 2223 El Cajon Blvd. For more information, call (619) 533-3982 or e-mail email@example.com.
Looking for a way to grow your company faster? Try an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
In a recent study of ESOP performance in closely held companies, Dr. Douglas L. Kruse and Dr. Joseph R. Blasi, professors at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., found “overwhelmingly positive and remarkable” results.
The study surveyed 343 companies which set up ESOPs between 1988 and 1994, pairing up each firm against similar non-ESOP companies. Sales and employment at these companies were compared for a period of three years before and after the plan’s start, Kruse said.
The results showed that ESOP companies have additional annual sales growth of 2.4 percent beyond what would have been expected, based on the match-up against competitors in the pre-ESOP period. Employment experienced similar gains, he said.
In addition, ESOP companies were more likely to steer clear of closure, sale, or mergers, with 69.6 percent of these companies which had set up ESOPs before 1994 surviving through 1999, compared to 54.8 percent of their non-ESOP competitors.
The Rutgers Study was funded by the Foundation for Enterprise Development, The Employee Ownership Foundation, the National Center for Employee Ownership, Rutgers University and Dun & Bradstreet.
“These positive findings reinforce the notion that employee stock ownership is an increasingly important element of savings, wealth creation and retirement security,” said David Binns, associate director of FED. “Owning a stake in the company where they work is a key element of retirement security for millions of working Americans.”
To submit an item for the small business and retail column, contact Zion at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 112, or e-mail lzion@ sdbj.com.