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SELF-EMPLOYED RESPONSE TO THE STATE OF THE UNION

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:  Kristofer Eisenla, LUNA+EISENLA media
kristofer@lunaeisenlamedia.com | 202-670-5747 (mobile)

National Association for the Self-Employed Reaction to the State of the Union Address

President’s Middle Class Agenda Must Include Equity in the Tax Code and Flexibility and Affordability in Health Care

WASHINGTON, DCKatie Vlietstra, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs for the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and micro-business community, offered reaction this evening to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address stating, “true middle class economics means supporting the small business community and allowing them to be the foundation of our growing economy.”

“For far too long, America’s smallest business community – the self-employed and micro-businesses – have been left on the cutting room floor when it comes to tax fairness.  With a growing and diverse small business demographic fueling our country’s economic growth, it is past time for comprehensive tax reform that evaluates the overall tax code and makes the necessary adjustments to ensure fairness, equity and simplification in business tax reform. Any meaningful reform must include both changes to corporate rates as well as the individual tax rate. Without the inclusion of fairness and tax equity for the small business community, we simply cannot support tax reform that yet again ignores the millions of America’s smallest businesses.  In order for the small businesses that line Main Streets across America be robust and competitive, they must be treated equally like their corporate counterparts on Wall Street.

“Despite a budding new health care system, the small business community continues to seek more flexibility in securing access to affordable health care.  With their bottom-lines already squeezed, many small business owners could benefit from a less expensive tier of coverage such as the proposed ‘Copper Plan’. Thousands of small business owners will also lose a major tax benefit this year due to the outdated eligibility guidelines governing Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs). An unintended consequence of health reform that placed unrealistic limitations on the use of HRAs, the Obama Administration must clarify these rules to allow small employers to continue to use them to provide financial support to their employees.

“We urge the President and Congress to work together on creating a favorable environment for America’s small business community.  From equity in the tax code to more flexibility in the health care system, the small business community looks forward to working with the President and our elected leaders to make the middle class strong and healthy.”

For over a decade, HRAs have been a key tool for small employers to provide their employees with minimal financial assistance for qualified health care expenses.  With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the 2013 decision by the Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor to tie key lifetime or annual limits and coverage of preventive health services to small employers offering an HRA was a gross infringement on the small business community.  The change resulted in a particularly negative impact on small employers with 49 or less employees that are under no legal obligation to provide a qualified healthcare plan for their employees under the employer mandate of the ACA.  

Vlietstra authored an op-ed for Roll Call outlining areas where Congress could find common ground when it comes to the small business community, including tax reform and increased flexibility in the health care system.

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The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy. The NASE Small Business Locator helps identify and connect our nation’s smallest businesses. In addition, NASE’s new health care portal helps small business owners navigate the nation’s health care marketplace. The NASE is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States. For more information, visit the association's website at NASE.org

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