Issues Small Businesses are Facing in 2017

Your Mission Chamber of Commerce has the pleasure of working for businesses of all sizes. Whether large or small, they each play an important role in our local economy.

Part of what allows us to serve our small business members effectively is keeping up with the issues that directly affect them and similar businesses elsewhere. The following are a few topics that are affecting small business owners and which should be followed.

1.The Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Cost

This move by the current administration is aimed at helping simplify the complexity and costs that come with regulations that influence how small business owners operate their companies. The method employed essentially boils down to removing two regulations for every new one put in place.

It was met with approval by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the hopes that they could help identify which regulations were most detrimental and in need of change.

Important organizations like the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Small Business Association also came out in support of the directive. The two groups looked forward to working to see good things come out of cooperation with all parties involved.

There are concerns with the order, like the ones raised by entities like the Small Business Majority. Through their own research, they find local and state regulations to be more pressing matters than federal regulations for small businesses.

In addition, they feel that the order does not specifically address any particular issue, leaving room for interpretations that could ultimately act against the order itself. The process will likely take several years for precedent to be set as to how regulations will be carried out by different government agencies.

There also exists uncertainty about the administration exercising the discretion it granted itself to ignore the order if it becomes too much of a complication.

If an entire body of regulations is repealed, observers wonder how far the order will be followed in the aftermath of replacing it. Whether one or several new laws fill the void, the need for new regulations for these laws may conflict with the order.

  1. The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act promised a lot to small business owners. They looked forward to lower costs, additional tax credits, and a wider range of coverage options for owners and employees.

However, these options never fully materialized and many owners, with the help of the National Federation of Independent Business, fought the law. They narrowly lost the case in the Supreme Court and the issue remains one of the top priorities for small businesses.

One encouraging sign aimed at improving how affordable, flexible, and predictable health care is for small businesses is the American Health Care Act of 2017. Introduced in March to Congress, it targets many of the topics that became problematic with the Affordable Care Act.

It addresses and eliminates many of the taxes that businesses had to previously pay, like higher payroll taxes and taxes on health insurance products.

It also improves health savings accounts, allowing businesses to be more flexible with health care. They can better plan for potential future health care costs this way. It also contains a stabilization fund for insurance companies to better react to the changes in the market and ensure individuals and businesses stay covered.

  1. Immigration Reform

Texas is second in the nation, behind only California, in the number of undocumented immigrants living within its borders. Altogether, over four million immigrants currently reside in Texas. Many of them find their way into the country through the Rio Grande Valley, a fact locals know very well.

The new administration has made immigration reform one of its top priorities. One item that employers are watching carefully for changes is the H-1B visa program. Through this program, many skilled workers find employment in the United States. Any major changes to this program could affect the number of workers who would be available to fill open positions.

With additional proposed screening steps, including increased workplace audits, there exists concern that industries like hospitality and construction may also face difficulties meeting employment demands.

In addition, ICE raids have begun to influence the amount of business that certain establishments have seen. These raids have centered in communities that have heavy immigrant populations, escalating fear amongst residents and business owners.

Residents have grown reluctant to frequent some of their regular stops, worrying the business is a potential target. Some owners have already experienced a decrease in business and have been forced to lay off workers and take other measures as a result.

Stay informed with your Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce.

To better serve our members, the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce keeps a finger on the pulse of business trends. Our local small businesses face these and many more issues. If you have any questions, please contact us at (956) 585-2727 and we’ll be glad to provide the answers you are looking for.