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Graves' Statement on Tax Day and the Small Business Tax Burden

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:00am
Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today released the following statement on Tax Day and the effects of tax policies on small businesses:

“Every year, the tax burden becomes more costly for America’s 28 million small businesses. The tax code is increasingly complicated and changes often. Most small businesses spend 40 hours or more preparing their taxes, and four out of ten businesses spend two full workweeks on compliance. That is a high cost in lost time and productivity for a small business. One in three small firms spends $10,000 on compliance. Jobs are still scarce, and the combined burdens of complex taxes and high rates are obstacles to growth. The jobs-stifling tax code is not just a Tax Day problem for small companies, but a year-round burden on their budgets that can impact their entrepreneurial decisions. Small businesses overwhelmingly support sensible reforms for lower rates, simpler preparation and clearer guidelines.”

Last week, the Small Business Committee examined these very challenges for small businesses. The growing number of tax provisions means that owners must spend significant resources on compliance that could otherwise be spent growing their companies. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s own National Taxpayer Advocate, there were over 500 changes to the tax code in 2010 alone, an average of more than one per day. And the steep tax rates mean small firms have less capital to invest back into hiring or expanding.

The National Small Business Association released a survey on April 9, 2014, in conjunction with the testimony of NSBA member Tim Reynolds, a small business executive. The growing complexity of the tax process causes 86 percent of small businesses to pay tax preparers.

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FDA’s Legally-Suspect Shift of Clinical Lab Test Regulation Through Guidance Documents

WLF Legal Pulse - 9 hours 27 min ago
Guest Commentary by Gail Javitt, Sidley Austin LLP* The penchant of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use “guidance” documents as a means to effectuate substantive regulatory change may have reached its zenith on July 31, 2014, when FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health announced its intent to issue two new draft guidances. […]
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Graves Asks SBA to Study Rise in Occupational Licenses

House Small Business Committee News - 20 hours 21 min ago
House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today requested that the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy conduct a study on the rise of occupational licensing across states and the economic effects of licensing on entrepreneurs.  

In his letter, addressed to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Winslow Sargent, Graves outlines the steep rise of occupations subject to state and local licensure laws, which now directly affects about one in three occupations and creates barriers for entrepreneurs. According to a 2007 study, the total cost of licensing regulations to the economy is between $34.8 billion to $41.7 billion per year. Notably, a June 2014 study found that occupational licensing was the number one regulatory burden facing small firms. In an economy in which jobs are still scarce, these requirements can reduce opportunities and create unnecessary obstacles for individuals, especially those of fewer means, who want to start a business and attain economic self-sufficiency.

“At a time of economic uncertainty, when our nation’s job creators, small businesses, are struggling to stay afloat, we are concerned that occupational licensing laws which are not narrowly tailored to the public benefit could have the unintended consequence of stifling entrepreneurship,” Graves states in the letter. “Occupational licensing also may impede innovation and business development as would-be entrepreneurs focus their resources on meeting licensing board requirements rather than on meeting the needs of their businesses or customers.”

The Committee on Small Business has closely monitored this issue and as the letter states, “The Committee on Small Business has held two hearings over the past few months regarding the barriers to entrepreneurship caused by occupational licensing and we believe that this issue merits further examination.  At a Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce of the Committee on Small Business hearing on March 26, 2014, entrepreneurs and academic experts testified on the barriers to entry that such anti-competitive licensing places on entering the market and job creation.  At a July 16, 2014, Committee on Small Business hearing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testified on its efforts to curb anti-competitive licensing schemes through advocacy and enforcement of federal anti-trust laws to prohibit unfair competition.” 

The entire letter to the Office of Advocacy is available HERE.

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WCOE Turning Point for 8/19

Turning Point RSS - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:59am

Supreme Court’s “Executive Benefits” Bankruptcy Ruling Provides a Practical Solution to a “Stern” Problem

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 3:43pm
Guest Commentary by Dee Wallander, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech University School of Law. In an overlooked but practically significant decision from its October 2013 term, Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the procedural impact of its 2011 […]
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Washington Post Parrots Activists’ Skewed Spin of FDA’s “GRAS” Process

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:25am
Just below the fold in the print and digital versions of this morning’s Washington Post blares the headline “Food additives on the rise as FDA scrutiny wanes.” The story dutifully advances the perspective of professional activists that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) process for food additives is perilously broken. […]
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Monday Morning Mojo: Stay Calm

InteroMojo - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 7:30am

Living in Silicon Valley is akin to going 200 miles an hour with your hair on fire. It is an exciting, inspiring and amazing place to live and work, but it is also incredibly competitive and intense. In every industry you are going head to head with the best of the best in the world doing whatever it takes to get the edge and win. As a result it can also be an incredibly stressful place if you don’t know how to manage it. So, the question is, how do you manage it and stay calm because your ability to manager your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. I was reading a great article a few weeks back titled How Successful People Stay Calm. After checking it out I knew it was mojo material so today I’m sharing it with you. Here are the ten best strategies to stay calm:

  1. Appreciate What You Have – Take time daily to contemplate what you’re grateful for. Research shows that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being.
  2. Avoid Asking “What if?” – This statement is like throwing fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go a million different directions and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action. Calm people know that asking “what if?” will only take them to a place they don’t want or need to go.
  3. Stay Positive – Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day or week and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. You must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.
  4. Disconnect – When you make yourself available 24/7 it is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment…you are exposing yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and turning off your phone (gulp) gives your body a break and lowers stress levels. This is a super tough one in Silicon Valley and one definitely need to work on myself.
  5. Limit the Caffeine intake – Another brutal one for me. Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which is a “fight-or-flight” response. This kind of a response sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but no so great when you’re responding to a curt email.
  6. Sleep – When you sleep your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them so you wake up alert and clear-headed. Not getting a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control. Snooze!
  7. Squash Negative Self Talk – Don’t be a Debbie Downer. The more you squander in negative thoughts the more power you give them. Remember that most thoughts are just that…thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. You can bet that your statements or thought aren’t true any time you use words like “never”, “worst”, “ever”, etc.
  8. Reframe your perspective – You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. Before you spend too much time dwelling on something negative, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. When you start thinking or saying things like “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation.
  9. Breathe – This is the easiest way to control your stress. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. Close the door, put away all other distraction and just sit in a chair and breathe…focus on your breathing.
  10. Use your support system –It’s tempting, but entirely ineffective, to tackling everything yourself. To be calm and productive we need to recognize our weaknesses and ask for help. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on your team, rooting for you, and ready to help. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will not only reduce your stress but it will strengthen your relationships with those you rely on. I always say it shows your strength when you ask for help and shows weakness when you don’t.

I don’t know about you but I know I have some work to do.

Be fired up, but stay calm and CRUSH IT!!!!!

Categories: Latest News

Rockefeller Opens Inquiry Into Airline Passenger Fees and Consumer Data Privacy Policies

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced that he is seeking information from the top ten revenue generating U.S. passenger airlines about how they disclose certain additional fees to consumers when they are making ticket purchases.  Rockefeller’s inquiry also asks the airlines to provide information about internal policies aimed at protecting consumer information gathered during the ticket purchase process. 

In recent years, airlines have increasingly been ...

Weekend Wellness: Top 10 Things Taken For Granted

InteroMojo - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 9:00am

The other day, I heard the list below, read to me by one of my teachers. I don’t know if I was in “that” space to where it hit me hard, or it’s just a beautiful piece. Regardless, I feel compelled to share! I don’t know who wrote it, how this was researched, or even when this was researched; however I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Top 10 things people claim to have taken for granted when they were alive:

10) How important they were to SO many

9) How easy life was when they stopped struggling and fighting

8) That all their prayers and thoughts were heard

7) That there really were no coincidences

6) How far ripples of their kindness actually spread (* my personal favorite!)

5) What really was important…happiness, friends and love

4) That any and all of their dreams could have come true had they wanted it badly enough

3) How good looking and fun they always were if they would have just relaxes

2) How much guidance they received whenever they asked for help

1) That “life” is in everything, everywhere, especially themselves.

Enjoy! Who are you important to? What dreams do you have? Where has your kindness spread? Do you ask for help? Where do you see life?

Categories: Latest News

Intero Cool Apps: A Smarter Sprinkler System

InteroMojo - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:00am

Saving water has been a big concern here in California, as well as other parts of the country, this year. While some people have been holding off on watering anything in their yard to conserve water, others are letting their sprinkles go for hours. Both are hard to watch in this time of water uncertainty so to help with that, today we’re adding one more app to your suite of smart home controls; one specifically designed to monitor your irrigation system.

Greenbox is a sprinkler control system that uses your smart phone to program and optimize your watering schedule.

Setting it up is easy. Just install the Greenbox controller right next to your current analog one. Through this controller, you can control up to 8 zones of your yard. Download the app and your irrigation system is at your fingertips. Label each zone and even take a picture of the area so you know exactly where that zone is.

Use your phone to set up your watering schedule and adjust timing as you wish for each zone. The app will optimize your watering programs using a proprietary irrigation algorithm so your grass and plants get exactly the amount of water they need.

Using location-based weather data, Greenbox will send you notifications about upcoming changes in the weather so you can update your watering schedule if needed. You can even set up the app to automatically turn off if there’s any sign of rain. That means no more wasted watering in the middle of a rainstorm!

Be the first in your neighborhood with a smart sprinkler system by ordering your Greenbox today. The devices are $249.00 each and will ship this fall.

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Thursday’s Thoughts on Leadership: The Power of Five

InteroMojo - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:36pm

A colleague of mine, Melanie Terry, owner of iDesign Spaces and a good friend of Intero’s, just finished reading one of my favorite books, The 5 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Talking to her about it reminded me of the clarity I, myself, found after reading it. The book is a powerful code of conduct that can lead to greater happiness and sense of purpose and possibilities.

Remember the agreements?

  1. Be impeccable with your word – In other words, speak with integrity and steep your words in truth and love.
  2. Don’t take anything personally – What others may say about you is a projection of their own reality, not yours. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t make assumptions – Ask questions and communicate clearly with others to avoid misunderstandings.
  4. Always do your best – By always doing your best you avoid regret and self-judgment.
  5. Be skeptical, but learn to listen – Question everything, listen to the intent behind words and you will understand the real message.

Human interaction is often complicated yet The Five Agreements reduce it to very simple terms. The agreements remind us of who we are, how to behave, how to accept ourselves, and what is possible. By stressing respect of everything around us, they become a roadmap to joy, personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

As Don Miguel writes, “By practicing the Five Agreements, what you are really doing is respecting everything in creation. You are respecting your dream; you are respecting everybody else’s dream. [Through The Five Agreements] your effort is really for everyone, because your joy, your happiness, your peace, and your heaven are contagious. When you are happy, the people around you are happy too, and it inspires them to change their own world.”

Perspectives aligned on the road to happiness …

Categories: Latest News

Fifth Circuit Decides Texas Water Agencies Can Leave Crystal Ball at Home: Aransas Project v. Shaw

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:52pm
Guest Commentary by John Eisler, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech University School of Law. “[B]ecause of convenience, of public policy, of a rough sense of justice, the law arbitrarily declines to trace a series of events beyond a certain point.”[1] That “certain point” is […]
Categories: Latest News

Yates Prosecution Throws Logic of Sarbanes-Oxley Act Overboard

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 9:50am
Guest Commentary by Nicholl B. Garza, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech University School of Law. Imagine if a commercial truck driver received a citation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for failing to keep a record of his driving hours. Further suppose the […]
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