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August 6th through September 7th
As August nears, Congress is preparing to return to their states and districts for their August District Work Period. WCOE has prepared an August Recess Action Plan to mobilize members to engage their legislators while they are at home.
When Congress returns to Washington in September, they will face a number of issues, including FY2013 appropriations, expiring income tax and business tax rates, and looming automatic across the board cuts. Your Senators and Representatives will be working in their district and state Offices from August 6 through September 7.
WCOE’s Legislative Team has been hard at work in Washington advocating on behalf our policy priorities. Now, it is imperative that you use this opportunity to reinforce our message with your legislators. WCOE’s top legislative priorities are as follows:
In early 2012, the House Committee on Small Business passed what can best be described as a small business contracting wish list that would significantly increase small business contracting opportunities. In addition to raising the small business prime and subcontracting goals, the legislation addresses a wide range of procurement problems in areas ranging from contract bundling to strengthening subcontracting rules in federal agencies.
One provision in the contracting legislation would allow businesses with 3 times the allowable receipts and/or double the allowable number of employees to apply for contracts as mid-tier businesses. This would allow those firms that have graduated from small businesses size standard but are still too small to compete with their larger competitors to still keep a competitive edge in federal contracting. WCOE supports these efforts to increase and protect small business contractors and encourages further review of obstacles between small firms and government contracts.
Contracting with the federal government provides women-owned businesses with growth potential while ensuring the best possible deal for the taxpayer’s dollar. Although the government has never met its goal of awarding 5% of contracts to women-owned businesses, the Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement Program assists agencies in awarding contracts to women-owned firms. Two aspects stand in the way of full utilization of the WOSB program. First, contract awards are limited to a maximum of $6.5 million. Second, contracting officers do not have the ability to award sole source contracts, like other SBA contracting programs. S. 2172, the Fairness in Women Owned Small Business Contracting Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators, would fix these two problems by eliminating the dollar cap on contract awards and allowing for sole source contracts to women-owned firms. By actively engaging women business owners throughout the country to press for these changes, we believe this legislation can become law this year.
Uncertainty surrounding Congressional action on the tax structure in 2013 and a looming deficit is impeding business growth plans. Since most small businesses are pass-through entities, corporate and individual tax reform discussions impact their ability to plan for the future. Congress should give the business community a clear indication of its intentions with respect to tax reform now. WCOE supports the Snowe-Landrieu Small Business Tax Extenders Act of 2012 (S. 2050). Among other things, this bill would increase capital gains exclusions and the deduction of business startup expenditures as well as halving the S-Corp holding period.
This bill would also allow small business to use all types of general business tax credits to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax Liability. Tax uncertainty and excessive regulation have effectively tied small firms’ hands and continues to impede growth.
WCOE proposes that size standards in the construction industry be calculated based on number of employees within a company by using a FTE (full time equivalent) and not based on a company’s gross receipts. Currently, the manufacturing and telecommunications industries’ size standards are calculated by the number of workers employed by the company and not the gross revenue. With construction material costs doubling and tripling in recent years, increased gross revenue primarily reflects increased material costs, but not significantly enhanced income to a small business. The small business size standard for construction should be changed to be based on FTE hours of workers employed. SBA just issued its proposed size standards for two NAICS codes related to construction size standards. Reinforce our message to your Congressional delegation that failure to change the standards from revenue to number of employees would greatly assist WCOE members to win government contracts.
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