Archive for April, 2012

Haven’t We Seen This Tax Cut Before?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Whenever politicians start throwing “small business” around, it’s best to sit up and pay attention. It’s also best to take what they say with a grain of salt.

hmm

Long time readers know that I’ve been saying since forever that small business policy that misses most of the small businesses in the country shouldn’t be called small business policy. I’m sure there’s something else we could call it that would be catchier or sexier, and would have the advantage of being accurate.

So, as we swing into election season, House Republicans have passed H.R. 9, enticingly entitled the Small Business Tax Cut Act, with much jumping and yelling. In some ways, this is a decisive response to the kinds of criticisms that have been coming from House minority leadership for months. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-D) have been very noisy in their complaints that the Republicans had been ignoring the economy and only cared about their well-heeled corporate friends.

Perhaps not in direct response to these accusation (at least, not anything anybody is inclined to acknowledge publicly) but in a suspiciously timely fashion, this tax cut has emerged from the moth balls in the House.  House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), said in a statement when the House passed the measure:

“The Small Business Tax Deduction Act would provide tax relief for millions of small businesses, from mom and pop stores to small manufacturing and service companies, allowing them to invest and hire workers.  This is just the type of a jobs legislation that Washington should focus on, and I encourage the Senate to take up this bill.”

The Obama Administration’s Office of Management and Budget maintains that about half of the bill’s benefits would go to individuals with more than $1 million in annual income and to large corporations, because the legislation uses an excessively broad definition of a small business.

If you’re starting to feel a sense of deja vu, nobody can blame you. This is precisely the same debate that took place back in 2003, when President Bush’s second tax cut was being debated. He claimed cuts for the top tax bracket would benefit small businesses. A lot of other people said that was hogwash. Being blessed with a Republican Congress, Business got his tax cuts.

Nothing has changed since then. Nonemployers still comprise almost 80% of all small businesses and they still are only earning, on average, something like $45,000 per year. Most small businesses are microbusinesses are relatively low-earning outfits.

And, parenthetically, I wonder why these so-called small business tax cuts never confine the taxpayers that can use then to those that can prove themselves to actually be small businesses?

Now that it has passed the House, the bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee where, knowing Chairman Max Baucus (MT-D), there is likely to be some kind of action on the bill. Even so, it would be surprising if Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid were to let this bill see the light of day.

And provided the bill gets through all those potential roadblocks, President Obama is expected to veto it.

Everybody knew that when the House voted to pass this legislation along largely partisan lines. But the move will give endangered Republicans the ammunition to be able to tell the folks in their Districts that President Obama is anti-small business.

That was the real point of this exercise.

Question Photo via Shutterstock

From Small Business Trends

Haven’t We Seen This Tax Cut Before?

Source

Ukraine Cries Foul over Top EU Officials’ Boycott

Monday, April 30th, 2012

As top EU officials have apparently decided to boycott events in Ukraine due to concerns over jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the country has described the move as “Cold War tactics.”

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshin has said he hopes reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will skip the Euro 2012 football matches hosted by Ukraine were no more than press speculation, international media report.

Source

British Pedophile Suspect Remains in Bulgarian Custody

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The detention of the 63-year-old alleged British pedophile nabbed in Bulgaria on Sunday has been increased to up to 72 hours until the court decides if he will detained permanently, it has been announced.

The man is suspected of sexually abusing two Roma brothers aged 10 and 11. The children’s family allegedly knew of the Brit’s doings and received financial support from him.

Source

Bulgaria Moves to Focus on Alternative Tourism

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Bulgaria is focusing on developing alternative forms of tourism, the country’s Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Delyan Dobrev has stated.

On Monday, Dobrev commented on an announcement made by the country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov that the Tourism Unit of the Ministry is to be shifted to Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv.

“We reckon that a high priority should be set on alternative forms of tourism and specialized tourism,” Dobrev stated, explaining that Plovdiv is the “heart of Bulgaria’s alternative tourism….

Source

Concur Small Business Aims for Zero Keystrokes in Travel Expense Reports

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Concur has given a new name and new features to its travel expense management reporting software. Formerly called Concur Breeze, the online software application is now Concur Small Business edition.

What I found interesting is the company’s philosophy for the product.  They’ve taken a set of activities – – reporting on travel expenses — and want to make those activities as fast and easy as possible by reducing keystrokes and duplicate data entry. According to Thomas Marks, Director of Small Business for Concur, the company’s is driving toward zero keystrokes for small businesses.  ”Time equals money in small businesses,” he says.

Concur wants to help save time for business owners and company employees who travel on business, by automatically capturing expense and travel data that already exists in other places, such as receipts and credit card statements, and pulling it into Concur’s expense management application.   In other words, instead of your employees rekeying the same data into different applications, the technology does the heavy lifting to capture and move data.

The product lets you:

  • Capture expense receipts with a smartphone
  • Upload or email receipts
  • Sync credit card charges automatically
  • File or submit expenses using a mobile device and Concur’s mobile app

Concur also owns TripIt. If you use TripIt for travel itineraries, the Concur software will extract expense information automatically out of the itinerary and sync it up with credit card statements, so that you don’t have to do all that grunt work.  Then, when the expense report is ready, it automatically syncs data with QuickBooks (desktop edition), so that your accounting records are immediately updated.

Concur Small Business

Concur Small Business has been redesigned to be more intuitive to use in this latest update, with a streamlined dashboard and “smart tips” providing onscreen guidance.  That’s important, because today software has to be “learnable” on your own, without sending people through time-consuming training.

According to Marks, the core market for this product is businesses with 50 employees and under, although larger companies can use Concur Small Business, as can solo entrepreneurs.  It is available for companies located in the United States and the U.K.

Concur was founded about 20 years ago as QuickExpense. Twelve years ago the company began migrating to a cloud based platform, and now all their apps are completely in the form of Web-based or mobile applications.  Concur acquired TripIt in late January 2011.  Concur serves the enterprise market as well as the small business market, with 18 million end users in 100 countries around the world.

From Small Business Trends

Concur Small Business Aims for Zero Keystrokes in Travel Expense Reports

Source

Rurelec awaits compensation for Guaracachi

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Court of Arbitration to rule on $142.2m claim following nationalisation of Bolivian subsidiary in 2010

Barosso to Snub Euro 2012 in Ukraine over Tymoshenko Case

Monday, April 30th, 2012

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has declared that he has no intention of visiting Ukraine for the upcoming Euro 2012 football championship the country is co-hosting, unless there is a swift improvement in the human rights situation there.

“The president has no intention at this point in time of going to Ukraine or participating in events in Ukraine.” Barosso’s spokeswoman has commented upon whether the Commission had decided to boycott the event due to concerns over jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Source

Bulgaria to Set Up Project Company for New Kozloduy N-Plant Unit

Monday, April 30th, 2012

A project company will be established within the next 10 days for the construction of Unit 7 at the country’s only existing nuclear power plant in the Danube town of Kozloduy, the country’s Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev said Monday.

Currently, a working group is developing a road map for the project. Once the working group has created a project company, the project company will start looking for a strategic investor.

Source

Son of Gunned Down Bulgarian PM Enters Politics

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Karlo Lukanov, the son of former Bulgarian Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov, is entering the executive council of a Bulgarian political party called United Social Democracy.

Lukanov-junior told the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday that he had no intention of engaging himself in the political life for quite a long time. However, he pointed out that “a moment has come in which one should not just sit idly by and observe, criticizing from a distance….

Source

Small Business No Longer Plagued By Recession Pessimism

Monday, April 30th, 2012

According to the spring 2012 release of the twice-a-year PNC Economic Outlook Survey, small business owners are no longer as pessimistic about the economy as they were during the economic downturn and the early part of the recovery. However, they aren’t exactly back to their pre-recession optimism either.

optimistic economy

The nationally representative survey of approximately 500 business owners and managers of companies with sales of between $100,000 and $250 million per year shows that the net percentage of respondents who were pessimistic (percentage pessimistic minus percentage optimistic) about the local economy was 22 percent in the spring of 2012.

This was the lowest level since the fall of 2007, when the net percentage pessimistic was 1 percent. But back in the fall of 2004, 9 percent of small and medium sized business owners were more optimistic about their local economy than pessimistic about it.

A similar pattern can be seen in the business owners’ optimism about their own companies. A net 11 percent were optimistic this spring, the most positive level since the fall of 2007. But again, these numbers are low in comparison to before the recession. In the spring of 2007, for instance, a net 30 percent of respondents were optimistic.

Moreover, decision makers at small and medium-sized businesses remain profoundly pessimistic about the national economy. A net 38 percent were pessimistic about that in the spring of 2012. In comparison to the net 15 percent who were optimistic in the fall of 2004, that’s not very positive at all.

Then again it’s not the horrific net 69 percent pessimistic about the national economy recorded in the spring of 2009.

Optimistic Photo via Shutterstock

From Small Business Trends

Small Business No Longer Plagued By Recession Pessimism

Source

Search
Categories