NFIB head: State’s small businesses face 'uncertainty'

U.S. small business employment remained flat in March for the second consecutive month, according to findings of the monthly Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes.

The report also found that while average hours worked and monthly wages both increased, small business revenue overall declined 0.15 percent in February.

Jim Brown, Nashville-based state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said “uncertainty” continues to cause concern for the state’s small business community.

“The negative impact of Obamacare cannot be overstated, as well as the tsunami of regulations by federal agencies that is inhibiting entrepreneurs,” said Brown (pictured). “Unemployment essentially is not improving, either. In fact, the number of underemployed — people out of work or who have quit looking for work — continues to be very high. In addition, the long-term threat of runaway spending and other federal policies is very real."

Despite the recent employment plateau nationally, small businesses have added more than 575,000 jobs since March 2010, the Intuit Inc. report notes.

Employees’ average monthly compensation grew 0.4 percent in March, an increase of $9 from February’s revised figure.

Apr 2, 2014 6:45 AM

'More brake and less pedal' thanks to Obamacare

Jim Brown, the Nashville-based Tennessee state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, reacts to April's NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism:

"At last month’s Small Business Day at the Capitol, many NFIB members echoed what’s in this month’s report. The uncertainty over Obamacare continues to be a real weight on their decision to expand, hire or invest. Small business owners in Tennessee are using more brake and less pedal because of harmful federal policies like Obamacare."

Apr 9, 2013 2:00 PM

NFIB Tennessee focuses on state bills

The Tennessee chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business has outlined all the bills the Tennessee State Legislature will review this session and that could potentially impact small businesses. It's a lengthy list worth perusing. Check it here.

Feb 14, 2013 7:15 AM

Survey: State's small biz owners want workers' comp reform

Members of the National Federation of Independent Business in Tennessee strongly support major reforms to Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system, according to a recently conducted survey released Monday.

Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee, said his group "will support comprehensive workers’ comp reforms to include a tighter definition of injury causation and shifting the resolution of disputed claims to a purely administrative process.”

“Tennessee’s processes are bureaucratic, which leads to high costs for employers and delays in medical treatment, return to work and disability payments for employees," said Brown (pictured). "Gov. [Bill] Haslam’s administration has identified many much needed reforms, and we look forward to working with him and members of the General Assembly to improve our workers’ comp system.”

Brown said NFIB, the state’s largest small business association, also will work with leaders to ensure Tennessee small business owners are guaranteed a fair, impartial appeals process for disputes that arise through tax audits.

“Tennessee taxpayers deserve to have their tax hearing appeals heard by an independent body, rather than the same department that decided the case in the first place,” said Brown, noting most states have established an independent appeals process. “Smaller taxpayers who cannot afford to file a lawsuit especially need a less expensive, expeditious and independent forum. Tennessee can accomplish this important goal with almost no additional bureaucracy.”

Preliminary survey results from NFIB/Tennessee’s 2013 Member Ballot indicate the following:

• 77 percent of members oppose Medicaid expansion, while 11 percent favor and 12 percent are undecided
• 79 percent believe Tennessee should prohibit taxpayer-funded government entities from competing directly with private business, while 11 percent oppose and 10 percent are undecided
• 75 percent believe Tennessee should prohibit local governments from enacting minimum or living wages, while 17 percent oppose and 7 percent are undecided
• Members were split on establishing a state-run health exchange (41 percent support, 38 percent oppose and 20 percent are undecided)
• Members were split on legislation that would require insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs (41 percent support, 36 percent oppose and 23 percent are undecided).

The 108th Tennessee General Assembly is schedule to convene today.

Jan 8, 2013 7:15 AM

NFIB tabs support manager

The National Federation of Independent Business has named Sarah Waters member support manager for Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Waters, who will be based in Nashville, will work closely the NFIB directors in the four states to help NFIB members engage in the legislative and political processes.

“We’re pleased that Sarah has joined our team,” Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee, said in a release. “Sarah has a lot of experience and a lot of energy, and that's important when it comes to helping the voice of small business be heard.”

Prior to joining NFIB, Waters was political programs manager and legislative affairs administrative coordinator for the Credit Union National Association in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was the senior manager of advocacy for Psoriasis Cure Now and staff assistant to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida's 13th District. Waters also was a regional field manager for North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Bill Graham.

Nov 26, 2012 12:57 PM

NFIB endorses Duvall, Dickerson

The Tennessee chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business has endorsed Metro Councilman Robert Duvall in the 59th House District race.

Duvall, a Republican who represents District 33 on the council, is facing Democrat Sherry Jones, who has held the state House seat since 1995.

“Robert Duvall is the advocate small business owners in House District 59 sorely need because he understands bigger government dampens free enterprise and job creation,” Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee, said in a release.

NFIB/Tennessee SAFE (Save America’s Free Enterprise) Trust, which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members, made the endorsement.

In addition, NFIB has endorsed Republican Steve Dickerson in the race for the 20th Senate District. Dickerson will face Democrat Phillip L. North.

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Sep 6, 2012 10:19 AM

Small-biz sentiment stays in the tank

The National Federation of Independent Business says only five percent of the members it surveyed last month think now is a good time to expand. The association's index has averaged a score of 90 since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. That's 10 points below its 1973-2008 average and the lowest ever coming out of a downturn.

Aug 15, 2012 7:04 AM

NFIB economist: Break up the biggest banks

Bill Dunkelberg, the chairman of a community bank in New Jersey who is better known as the chief economist of the National Federation of Independent Business, has penned a short note railing against the Barclays LIBOR rate-fixing scandal that led to the resignation of CEO Bob Diamond. Dunkelberg's chief beef is with the power that the world's largest banks have amassed.

Not that smaller banks have no “crooks”, I am sure they do, but those crooks don’t have the leverage of the Diamonds and Corzines, the power in their greed and arrogance to damage millions of people and impair the operation of our financial system, to make bets with billions, trillions of dollars which can go wrong and do.

Jul 9, 2012 8:34 AM

Study reveals consequences of state's death, gift taxes

A Beacon Center of Tennessee and Laffer Center for Supply-Side Economics analysis of Tennessee’s death and gift taxes reveals the taxes have eliminated the hypothetical creation of 200,000 to 220,000 new jobs in the state during the past 10 years.

Nationally known economists Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden oversaw the study, called The Economic Consequences of Tennessee’s Gift and Estate Tax. Laffer, a former advisor to President Ronald Reagan, resides in Tennessee. 

The release of the study (read here) comes as state lawmakers consider repealing the two taxes during the current legislative session.

Among the study’s findings:

• Tennessee’s gross state product would have been between $6 billion and $18 billion greater without these taxes during the past 10 years.

• Tennessee’s asset base would have increased by at least $16 billion and by as much as $48 billion as a result of eliminating the taxes.

“The state death and gift taxes drive job creators, investors and taxpayers out of Tennessee,” Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center, said in a release. “Those who actually wind up paying the taxes — family business owners and rural farmers —can ill afford it.”

The study shows how a full repeal of these taxes would not only boost the state’s economy, but also bring much-needed tax revenue to state and local coffers. While the taxes have brought in less than $1 billion over the past decade, their imposition, the analysis reveals, has cost state and local governments as much as $7.3 billion in revenue from other sources such as sales, property and business taxes.

“Our analysis proves that not only is repealing these two taxes the right thing to do morally, it is in the best economic and fiscal interest of all Tennesseans to eliminate them,” Laffer said.

The Nashville-based Tennessee chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business supports repeal of the taxes.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee, formerly the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, is a Nashville-based not-for-profit political research and advocacy organization. Though nonpartisan, the think tank is known to generally take conservative positions.

Mar 20, 2012 7:10 AM

Still no life in NFIB index

Still waiting for America's small businesses to charge their way out of recession and drive strong GDP growth? Don't hold your breath, says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg, whose team's monthly sentiment survey showed only the slightest of gains and are below year-ago levels.

The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a negative 3 percent, 5 points better than December but still 13 percentage points below last year’s reading. Not seasonally adjusted, 18 percent expect deterioration (down 4 points), and 22 percent expect improvement (up 7 points). A net 10 percent of all owners expect improved real sales volumes.

Feb 15, 2012 10:43 AM