Small businesses are the engine of America's economy, representing more than 95% of all employers. They are responsible for 50% of our gross domestic product and create 7 out of every 10 new jobs nationwide. In Wisconsin, over 447,000 small businesses, including 340,000 self-employed individuals, contribute enormously to our state economy and communities.
As a member on the tax writing House Committee on Ways & Means, I am looking at a number of commonsense proposals to help Wisconsin's small businesses invest in their companies, afford reasonable health insurance, and offer retirement plans to employees.
I plan to push the following proposals in Washington and will continue to look for other solutions to solve problems that small and family-owned businesses have in western Wisconsin and across the country.
Affordable Health Care
* Because more than 60% of the uninsured come from families who are self-employed or who work for small businesses, I have introduced legislation that will make health insurance more affordable for these groups.
* H.R. 3660, theEquity for our Nation's Self Employed Act would allow the self-employed to deduct the cost of health insurance from payroll taxes. Currently, they are the only group of businesses who are prohibited from taking that deduction.
* I also plan to introduce new legislation that will provide federal tax incentives and encourage states to harmonize their insurance laws so that small businesses can pool together to purchase health insurance.
Modernizing Small Business Rules
* Many of the rules under which S Corporations operate date back nearly half a century. These outdated rules hurt the ability of S Corporations to compete and grow.
* That is why I introduced H.R. 4840, the S Corporation Modernization Act of 2007, which would ensure the continued success of these businesses by increasing access to capital, making it easier for existing businesses to convert to S Corp status, and encouraging more charitable giving by S Corps.
Encouraging Retirement Savings for Small Business Employees
* Currently, many small businesses do not offer a 401(k) or similar retirement savings plan because of the complexity, cost, and liability of sponsorship.
* In response to this problem I recently introduced H.R. 5160, the Small Businesses Add Value for Employees (SAVE) Act, which would improve existing SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401(k) retirement plans to make it easier for small businesses to offer savings plans to their employees.