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Washington Watch - May 19, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Survey: Increased Tax Regulation on Small Business

As a result of a new law passed this year, all businesses will face additional IRS reporting requirements. The new law expands IRS's Form 1099 reporting system. Please take NASE's Monthly Survey regarding your thoughts on this new regulation.

Click here to take survey


Senate Approves Amendment to Financial Reform Bill Regulating Credit Card Transaction Fees

As they debate the financial regulatory reform bill (S.3217), the Senate recently approved an amendment to tightly regulate "swipe fees," or the amount credit card companies charge a merchant per transaction (usually 1-2 percent per transaction). 

The NASE supported this provision which would allow micro-businesses more freedom in payment selection choices and promotes competition among major credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard.

Under the amendment, a business would be able to provide customers with discounts for certain payment types, such as cash, check, or a specific credit card with lower fees without fear of facing penalties.  Additionally, due to "swipe fees" many businesses lose money on low-dollar sales paid for via credit card.  The amendment would now allow merchants to set a minimum or maximum transaction amounts for payment by credit card; a practice  that credit card companies currently restrict by threatening penalties.

While this important amendment for small business has been included in the Senate version of the financial regulatory reform bill, debate still continues and passage of the final legislation is still uncertain. 

Read more about the parent legislation, Restoring American Financial Stability Act (S. 3217), here.


Disaster Aid For Gulf Coast Small Businesses

In response to the oil spill off the Gulf Coast, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced the availability of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million. Eligible small businesses include small businesses engaged in catching or dependent on the sale of shrimp, crab and oysters, as well as fishing equipment and gear.

Visit YouTube for more on the SBA's Disaster Loans.


Small Business Quarterly Indicators

According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, the following are results indicating growth in the economy in the first quarter of 2010:

  • Real gross domestic product increased at an annualized 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, its third quarter of positive growth.
  • Mirroring broad economic trends, overall optimism was higher, with small businesses remaining cautious. 
  • Unemployment remained high at 9.7 percent in March, though nonfarm payrolls increased by a net 283,000 jobs. 
  • Interest rates remained low, and overall inflation appears to be in check.

Find out more by reading the publication, "Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and Small Business" located at http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/sbqei1001.pdf.


Washington Watch Online

Visit NASE Advocacy to view archived editions of Washington Watch. While you’re there, read the latest updates from the Washington, D.C. office, write your Congressperson, and find out how you can join the fight for micro-business.