SBAM Targets Taxes Health Care

December 17, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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LANSING — Preparing for his run as CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), Rob Fowler said tax and insurance reforms are urgently needed if small business owners are to lead the Michigan economy to recovery in the coming year.

Fowler will take over as CEO from long-time president and CEO Gary Woodbury on July 1, 2003, and until then is serving as CEO-elect and director of business insurance services for SBAM.

Fowler said that small employers are crucial to renewed economic growth.

“Statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration show that in the past two decades it was the small business sector, not big businesses, that generated nearly all of the economy’s net new jobs,” he said.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 98 percent of Michigan’s businesses are small. These companies employ 2 million Michigan workers — over half of the state’s private non-farm workforce.

Small business also is responsible for 52 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

“Innovation, risk-taking and job growth are generated by the men and women in this state who own their own small businesses, not by the bureaucrats in government and big corporations,” said Fowler.

“Small business owners take the risks because they hope to reap the rewards. But if the rewards are short-circuited by taxes, regulations and high health insurance costs, then we’ll see the risk taking switched off as well.”

Fowler added that SBAM’s priorities in 2003 include a drive to revise the Internal Revenue Code to eliminate provisions that discriminate against small businesses, and also proposing tax code revisions that will establish true equity between small firms and their larger counterparts.

Another priority is small group health insurance reform.

“With small business health insurance premiums going up 20 to 30 percent this year, there’s not much money left over for small employers to hire workers or expand the business,” said Fowler.

“We need small business rating reform as soon as possible in 2003 to help moderate the huge premium increases and introduce much-needed competition in the small business health insurance market. That would really improve the small business outlook.”           

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