Connect & Collaborate's Election Review

Tune in for COBRT's Connect & Collaborate Radio's post-election show with Jeff Wasden, President of the Colorado Business Roundtable, as we review the ballot initiatives, how they did, and possible results of these voter decisions.

Jeff will be joined by:

  • Kelly Sloan, Director of Government Relations at Olson Strategies and Advertising, for a statewide perspective on election results
  • Steve House, Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, to discuss where the party goes from here
  • Secretary of State Wayne Williams will provide us with a debrief of the overall election process and other related issues

This Connect & Collaborate show aired live the day after the election on Denver's Money Talk 1690 AM. If you missed that -- or if you heard it and want to pass it on to a colleague -- the podcast is available here. You can hit play right here, you can download it from here to listen to anytime, or you can subscribe to Connect & Collaborate on your favorite podcast app.

Get to Know Your November Ballot

Did you know that this year’s ballot is going to be the longest we’ve seen since 2010? That could be tough to navigate, but everyone’s vote matters. 

Colorado Business Roundtable is partnering with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and over 25 other organizations to bring you the U.S. Senate Candidate Forum on Monday, Oct. 17. We’ll give incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and challenger Darryl Glenn the opportunity to discuss key business issues such as economic development, job creation, immigration, tourism, workforce housing, water, energy, education and health care. The forum will be moderated by Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover. We’ll also talk about five important ballot items: Amendments 69, 70 and 71 and Propositions 107 and 108.

Reserve your seat for the forum so you can get all the details you need to navigate your November ballot. 

Here are the luncheon details:

Date: Monday, Oct. 17
Time: 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Networking & registration: 11-11:30 a.m.
Program: 11:30-1:30
Location: Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1400 Curtis St.

Please register as an individual or purchase a table at denverchamber.org/forum

Interested in joining as a partner? Contact bridget.garcia@denverchamber.org or (303) 620-8088.

Thank you for your support!

COBRT's Positions on 2016 Ballot Initiatives

This November, residents in the Denver metro area will be voting on ten different regional or statewide initiatives that will bring dramatic changes to Colorado if approved by the voters. In addition, voters will be voting on a new President, state Senator, and all seven members of Congress as well as numerous local issues. 

This year, 158 different titles were submitted to the Office of Secretary of State. Of those, nine proceeded with signature collection and turned in boxes and boxes of signatures for verification. 

Supported by COBRT:

  • SCFD reauthorization. Regional issue for those within the district (seven metro counties) that would extend the penny-per-$10.00 sales tax. The allocation of funds has been tweaked to provide additional support for local community organizations. The economic activity of $1,850,000,000.00 make this a valuable asset and resource and worthy of our support. 
  • Amendment 71, Raise the Bar. Raise the Bar aims to protect our state constitution and ensure the voice of all Coloradans is heard. Mandates that 2% of the signatures required to amend the constitution come from each of our state’s 35 senate districts and raises the threshold from 50+1 to 55+1. Every election cycle, businesses have had to dip into their wallets and fight off onerous, crippling initiates with signatures collected from a small subset of the state’s voters. Ensuring voters in Pueblo, Grand Junction, Fort Collins and other communities have a say in matters that impact the entire state makes sense. 

Opposed by COBRT:

  • Amendment 69, ColoradoCare. Proponents are wanting voters to approve a government-run universal healthcare system that would double the size of the state budget and create a risky, uncertain, and untested system. The cost to business and placing Colorado at a competitive disadvantage warrant defeating the proposal. 
  • Initiative 101, Minimum Wage Increase. Proponents would like to increase the minimum wage to $12.00. Colorado’s minimum wage is already above the national average and adjusts annually based on the underlying consumer inflation rate. We are concerned about job loss, wage compression, and the misconception that entry level, first-time job seekers need a living wage. We would like to create educational opportunities and training programs to help fill millions of unfilled jobs that pay above the living wage standard. 

Under Review by COBRT:

  • Let CO Vote, Initiatives 98, 140. Initiative 98 would allow 1.3 million unaffiliated/independent voters to participate in party primaries and Initiative 140 would restore the presidential primary in Colorado. 
  • Initiative 143, Cigarette and Tobacco Tax. Proposal would triple the cigarette tax and increase current tax on tobacco by 22%. Campaign for a Healthy Colorado argues this would slow tobacco usage with increased tax revenue being spent on education and prevention, cessation and research. 

No Position:

  • Amendment T was a referred measure from Colorado’s legislature (SCR 006). The concurrent resolution strikes an exception that exists to slavery and involuntary servitude that exists in Colorado’s Constitution.
  • Amendment U is another referred measure from the Colorado legislature (SCR 002). The concurrent resolution proposes amending the constitution to create an exemption from property taxation for possessory interests in real property.
  • Initiative 145, Medical Aid in Dying. Initiative would allow doctors to write life-ending prescriptions for terminally ill who have less than six months to live and want to die on their own terms. 

 

Tobacco-Tax Measure Makes November Ballot

DENVER -- Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced on August 15, 2016 that a proposal that would triple the taxes on a pack of cigarettes will be on the ballot this November.

Backers of the "New cigarette and tobacco taxes" proposal submitted their petition signatures on Aug. 8. A 5-percent random sample of the submitted signatures projected the number of valid signatures to be greater than 110 percent of the total number of signatures required for placement on the ballot.

Read More

SBA Office of Advocacy Hosts Federal Regulatory Roundtables in Denver, Colorado and Boulder, Colorado: August 9-11, 2016

The Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration is holding several free small business roundtables in Denver, Colorado and Boulder, Colorado from Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 through Thursday, August 11th, 2016 to discuss current federal regulatory issues affecting small businesses in Colorado and throughout the nation.

Assistant Chief Counsel Janis Reyes and Regulatory Analyst Jonathan Porat, authorities in federal labor and immigration issues for small businesses, will talk about the new federal overtime rules and how current visa and immigration issues affect small business hiring. 

Assistant Chief Counsel Dillon Taylor and Regulatory Economist Lindsay Scherber cover tax, securities and pension issues. They will speak about new SEC crowdfunding rules along with other proposed tax and securities rules. 

This is an opportunity to hear about proposed federal regulations and recently enacted federal regulations from subject matter experts and ask any question small business owners and operators may have regarding their implementation.

The goal of SBA’s Office of Advocacy, as the voice of small businesses in the federal regulatory process, is to engage on key regulatory issues affecting small businesses throughout the country, listen to issues and concerns about how these regulations will impact small business operations and to take back ideas on how these regulations could better fit small businesses continued successful operation.

For more information and to register for the events, please see the below details.

Tuesday, August 9th | Denver, CO
Time: 5-6 pm MT
Location:  Community Hall, Mi Casa Resource Center, 360 Acoma St. Denver, CO 80223
Partner: the Mi Casa Women’s Business Center. For more information about the Women’s Business Center, please visit their website.
Focus of Roundtable:  Federal labor and immigration issues. Spanish translation services will be available.
Please register for this event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/federal-labor-immigration-issues-for-small-businesses-tickets-26811599215.

Wednesday, August 10th | Boulder, CO
Time: 9:30-11 am MT
Location: Boulder Creek Room at Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302
Partner: the Boulder SBDC. For more information about the Boulder SBDC, please visit their website.
Focus of Roundtable: SEC crowdfunding rules and other proposed tax and securities rules
Please register for this event: https://clients.coloradosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=50360136.

Time: 2-3:30 pm MT
Location: Boulder Creek Room at Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302
Partner: the Boulder SBDC. For more information about the Boulder SBDC, please visit their website.
Focus of Roundtable: Labor and Immigration issues affecting small businesses.
Please register for this event: https://clients.coloradosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=50360137.

Thursday, August 11th | Denver, CO
Time: 8-10 am MT
Location: 1600 Broadway, Suite 1600, Denver, CO 80202
Host: Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI). For more information about CACI, please visit their website.
Focus of Roundtable: Proposed and recently-enacted federal regulations that affect small businesses.
Please register for this event: http://cochamber.com/event/caci-host-sba-experts/.

Time: 1-3 pm MT
Location: Conference Room (Eighth Floor), 1625 Broadway, Ste. 2700, Denver, CO 80202
Partner: the Colorado SBDC Network. For more information about the Colorado SBDC Network, please visit their website.
Focus of Roundtable: Proposed and recently-enacted federal regulations that affect small businesses.
Please register for this event: https://clients.coloradosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=900360054

From Taxes to Booze, a Crowded Ballot Could Await Colorado Voters

(DENVER) -- Ethics, elections and oil-and-gas are among the issues that could be on the November ballot.

Colorado allows citizens to put issues on the ballot after going through a process that includes reviews by staffers with the Secretary of State, the attorney general and Legislative Legal Services. These reviews do not determine the merit of the proposal, only if it meets state standards to attempt to get on the ballot.

The only measure already confirmed on the ballot is Amendment 69 or Initiative 20, State Health Care System. Backers were informed last November they had collected enough valid vote signatures to put what is known as "ColoradoCare" before the voters.  

The Secretary of State's website offers information about the proposed ballot measures and their status. Proponents of a majority of the measures face an Aug. 8 deadline to turn in 98,492 valid voter signatures, which is 5 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for Secretary of State in the last general election. Some measures would change Colorado's constitution, others are propositions and would change state law.

Here's a look at those issues where backers are circulating petitions:

Proposed constitutional amendments

  • Independent Ethics Commission: No. 53
  • Right to a Healthy Environment: No. 63
  • Local government authority to regulate oil-and-gas development: No. 75
  • Mandatory setback for oil/gas development: No. 78
  • Colorado Redistricting Commission: No. 132 
  • Colorado Legislative Redistricting Commission: No. 133
  • New cigarette and tobacco taxes: No. 143

 

Proposed propositions

  • Iran divestment of public funds: No. 47 
  • Food store license: Nos. 104105 and 106
  • Retention of excess state revenue: No. 117
  • Limits on specified liquor licenses: No. 126
  • Minimum age for employees of specified liquor licenses: No. 157

 

# # #

Questions? Contact the Colorado Secretary of State's Office
Secretary Wayne H. Williams
Contact Us

MEDIA CONTACT: (303) 860-6903
Lynn Bartels
lynn.bartels@sos.state.co.us

Colorado SBDC, Minority Business Office and PTAC Partner to Help Colorado Businesses Prosper

Dear Economic Development Partners:

We are happy to announce that the Colorado Small Business Development Center (CSBDC), the Minority Business Office (MBO) and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) have entered into an agreement to work together in assisting companies and people seeking business and government procurement assistance. The following items were agreed upon:

The CSBDC will undertake the following services:
* Recognize PTAC as the partner on marketing materials and website
* Invite PTAC in SBDC trainings and conferences that have the need for procurement assistance
* Provide evaluations for CSBDC clients if applicable
* Have a PTAC partner (where possible) do a procurement workshop or series for CSBDC clients (partner TBD)
* Distribute a statewide press release announcing new partnership between PTAC and the CSBDC
* Participate and support PTAC small business PR efforts (where applicable)
* Refer SBDC clients to PTAC for government procurement counseling and assistance

PTAC will undertake the following services:
* Recognize SBDC and MBO as partners on marketing materials and website
* Invite SBDC and MBO to PTAC training events, panels, and other events to the maximum extent practical
* Have CSBDC and MBO provide a workshop for PTAC clients on their services
* Distribute a statewide press release announcing new partnership between CSBDC, PTAC and MBO
* Participate and support SBDC and MBO small business PR efforts (where applicable)
* Refer PTAC clients to SBDC and MBO for business-oriented counseling and training
* Refer PTAC clients to the MBO Directory
* Add MBO and CSBDC as co-sponsors (or appropriate SBDC network office) to PTAC panel series, outreach forums, and other similar events as applicable.
* Provide award results for clients referred to the PTAC by MBO and CSBDC.
* Participate in the CSBDC and MBO Statewide Advisory Boards.

MBO will provide the following services:
* Recognize PTAC as a partner on marketing materials and website
* Invite PTAC to conduct procurement trainings, panels, and other events to the maximum extent practical on
* Distribute a statewide press release announcing new partnership between CSBDC, PTAC and MBO
* Participate and support PTAC small business PR efforts
* Refer MBO clients to PTAC for government procurement and counseling assistance


Thank you,
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

State Leaders Must Act to Curb Federal Regulators (op-ed)

Roman Buhler is the Director of the Madison Coalition working to restore a balance of state and federal power. He was a Committee Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years and served as Newt Gingrich's first House Committee Counsel. Contact: 
202-255-5000; info@madisonamendment.org; www.RegulationFreedom.Org


State Leaders Must Act to Curb Federal Regulators

The expanding power of federal regulators to dictate edicts from Washington would astonish the authors of our Constitution.

Regulators who re-interpret laws passed years ago in ways never intended by Congress threaten the checks on executive branch power that have served as the foundation for the rule of law.

If the Presidential appointees can transform the meaning of laws passed by Congress without the approval of Congress, the fundamental role of these elected representatives of the people is at risk.

No one is safe if the President and his or her appointees can unilaterally regulate any entrepreneur, investor, or an entire economic sector of existence.

The problem is even worse in a President's second term, when that President will never have to face the voters again.

It is time to restore limits on executive branch power by putting into the Constitution a basic principle:

"Regulations, like laws should have the consent of the governed."

Just as the idea "No Taxation Without Representation" rallied patriots who fought for American Independence, "No Regulation Without Representation" must be a rallying cry for those who believe that democracy, not bureaucracy is the essence of our American Republic.

Every Republican who cast a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives along with some courageous  Democrats supported the REINS Act in 2015 to require the Congress approve major new federal regulations.

But it is unlikely that the REINS act could get 60 Senate votes necessary to overcome a filibuster even if a pro-limited government President were elected in 2016.

And even if enacted, a law could be repealed or waived by a future Congress and President. That is why permanent Constitutional reform is needed.

But, while Washington may be gridlocked, federal regulators become less popular the further one travels from the beltway.

Majorities of state legislators in 2/3 of the states almost certainly agree that federal regulators should be held accountable to elected officials.

And just as pressure from state legislators helped force Congress to propose the original Bill of Rights, similar pressure could force Congress to curb the authority of federal regulators.

In fact, three times in American history, pressure from states has helped force Congress to propose Amendments states wanted, starting with the Bill of Rights and including both the 17th Amendment for direct election of U.S. Senators and the 22nd Amendment for presidential term limits.

That helps explain why 15 State legislative chambers have already passed Resolutions urging that Congress propose the "Regulation Freedom Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution to require that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress.

Similar Resolutions, or letters from state legislators urging Congress to propose the Amendment are planned in more than 25 states, including Virginia, in 2016.

The text of the Amendment is as follows:

"Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation."

This Amendment would ensure that the most controversial and consequential regulations would be flagged for review by Congress and could not go into effect unless they were approved.

It has the support of more than 500 legislators, 3 Governors, the American Farm Bureau, the National Taxpayers Association, and a growing number of business and grassroots political groups around the nation.

From Colorado support for the Amendment includes former Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, business leader Terry Considine and conservative think tank leader John Andrews.

Given that both houses of 31 state legislatures are now controlled by Republicans, and control is split with one House controlled by Republicans and one House by Democrats in 7 more states, making federal regulators more accountable to elected officials could become a significant issue between now and November 2016.

State legislators, Members of Congress, and Presidential candidates will be asked:  Should federal regulators keep their power to dictate from Washington, or is it time to make them more accountable?

And as bipartisan support for the reining in federal regulators grows, in the form of Regulation Freedom Amendment Resolutions passed by state legislatures in some states,and letters signed by majorities of state legislators in other states, perhaps even federal regulators and those in the White House who appointed them will start paying attention.  Increased support for this effort could very possibly deter some future regulatory abuse.

Growing attention for this effort could also give voters the ability to distinguish which candidates for President want to keep or expand the regulatory power this Administration has abused, and which candidates want to restore Constitutional checks and balances intended by the authors of our Constitution.

The deadlock in Washington can be broken. Leadership from the states, from state legislators, and from Members of Congress who want to partner with state leaders can be a key part of making it happen.

But ultimately, it is business, community, and grassroots leaders who raise these issues with their elected officials who will make the difference.

COBRT and Partners Encourage Sen. Bennet to Co-Sponsor Draft Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015

January 27, 2016

The Honorable Michael Bennet
United States Senator
261 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senator Bennet,

We are writing to encourage you to co-sponsor the draft Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 (RIA) which has been developed by a bipartisan working group of Senators, led by Senators Lankford and Heitkamp, committed to improving how regulations are developed. The draft includes legislation that has been reported from the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on a broadly bipartisan basis.  

The Regulatory Improvement Act is designed to ensure that federal regulations meet their intended goals in the most efficient and effective way possible. The provisions in the bill are consistent with recommendations made by a number of independent groups. If enacted, the RIA will not change any underlying rulemaking authority, nor will it necessarily lead to different regulatory outcomes. It would, however, update the 70-year old process by which major rules are developed.

For example, title III of the draft legislation would ensure that major rules are accompanied by the issuing agency’s plan for assessing how effectively the rule is accomplishing its regulatory objectives. This title codifies a retrospective review initiative launched by the Obama Administration. 

Title IV would promote earlier public engagement by requiring agencies to publish advance notices of proposed rulemaking for major rules (those expected to cost more than $100 million annually). The sooner an agency gets good suggestions for how to accomplish its regulatory objectives, the less chance that it will waste time and resources on sub-optimal approaches. 

Title II would clarify Presidential authority to require independent regulatory agencies to prepare regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) when proposing a new major rule, similar to that required of agencies covered by Executive Order 12866, originally issued by President Clinton. While some independent regulatory agencies today prepare RIAs, some do not and among those that do, the quality varies greatly. In order to ensure these agencies’ continued independence from the Executive Branch, a new office would be established within the Congressional Budget Office to oversee these analyses and help ensure consistent quality. The new office could not reject rules or review them for more than 90 days. 

Title V would largely codify existing OMB guidance for issuing “major” or “significant” guidance and provide greater public notice of an agency’s current guidance. Title I would authorize a bipartisan expert commission to review regulations that are at least 10 years old and to make recommendations to the Congress regarding changes to regulations that are outdated or counterproductive. 
 
We support a smarter, more modern approach to regulation that meets regulatory goals while also promoting innovation, economic growth and job creation. We believe the draft legislation represents an important step toward meeting those goals.

I am grateful for your attention to this issue and look forward to working with you and your staff on legislation that would make the U.S. regulatory system more efficient and effective.


Sincerely,

Jeff Wasden
President, Colorado Business Roundtable
    
John A. Hayes
Chairman, President and CEO, Ball Corporation

Jacqueline Hinman
Chairman and CEO, CH2M

Kent Thiry
Chairman and CEO, DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.

Terry Knight
General Manager of Control Solutions, GE Measurement & Control

 

 

 

2 Million Coloradans Now Live in Communities That Have Prioritized Attainable Housing

2 MILLION COLORADANS NOW LIVE IN COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE PRIORITIZED ATTAINABLE HOUSING

The Colorado General Assembly last session failed to address the defect in state law that exposes homeowners and builders to a high risk of expensive, time-consuming litigation – despite broad bipartisan and coalition support. 

This defect means that Colorado’s housing market is not keeping pace with the demand for attainable homes among first-time homebuyers and others with a modest income. Rising housing costs and soaring rents threaten to price many Coloradans out of the market.

Yet condos, which have always provided a pathway to homeownership, now represent just 3.4 percent of new homes in the Denver metro housing market. And it’s a growing concern across Colorado – from Fort Collins to Durango. Several communities are leading the way by addressing their attainable housing issues by passing local laws to jump-start condo development.

Now nearly 2.5 million Coloradans live in communities that have begun the process to fix the defect in state law.

The list includes:

• Denver

• Colorado Springs

• Douglas County

• Aurora

• Parker

• Lone Tree

• Littleton

• Lakewood

• Wheat Ridge

• Arvada

• Commerce City

• Centennial

• Castle Rock

These communities have approved common-sense reforms that offer a balanced approach to create a fair legal resolution for construction issues, and most importantly, will not take away a homeowner’s or community’s rights to seek a resolution to a construction issue.

NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE COLORADO GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ACT!

The Homeownership Opportunity Alliance is committed to addressing Colorado’s attainable housing challenge and is actively reviewing the reforms offered during the last legislative session.

Paid for by the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance
HOUSING4CO.ORG | FACEBOOK.COM/HOUSING4CO | @HOUSING4CO

National Small Business Association 2015 Status Report & Holiday Message

As we approach the end of 2015, I want to thank you for supporting a strong and thriving small-business community through your membership and participation in the National Small Business Association (NSBA). With all eyes on the 2016 election, I expect the coming year to be a busy one with many challenges, but I firmly believe we can meet those challenges with entrepreneurial aplomb.

I’d like to take a few moments today and share with you the good work your organization has done in the last year. While progress in Washington, D.C. may seem like an oxymoron, the staff and leadership here at NSBA have been hard at work on the issues that matter to your business, and despite the often lackluster performance of Congress, we actually have had several major achievements and successes this year.
 
Permanency for Tax Extenders
Late last week, Congress voted to approve legislation that would, among other things, permanently increase expensing limits under Section 179. One of NSBA’s Top 10 Priorities, tax extender permanency has often been held hostage by a dysfunctional Congress. NSBA has lobbied aggressively for eased tax complexity and enabling small businesses to better plan, and this provision will do just that.
 
The legislation also included a delay in implementation for three new taxes that were created by the Affordable Care Act: the excise tax on medical devices; the so-called Cadillac tax on costly health benefits; and a tax on health insurance companies that gets passed through to small businesses. NSBA has serious concerns about each of these taxes, so the delay is at least a partial victory.
 
Expanding Export Opportunities for Small Business
In November, one of NSBA’s Top 10 Priorities was achieved: Congress voted to enact a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance U.S. companies’ projects overseas., NSBA played a pivotal role in spreading the word about Ex-Im Bank and how it is a key tool for small-business exporters.
 
In June, Congress signed off on a measure handing President Barack Obamatrade promotion authority, which guarantees an up-or-down vote on trade deals and prevents Congress from amending them. NSBA strongly supported this provision which will better enable the passage of trade deals which clear many international hurdles and tariffs for small businesses.
 
Confirming a Chief Counsel for Advocacy
Just recently, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the nomination of Darryl DePriest as the Chief Counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy. Following nearly a year without a Senate-approved Chief Counsel, NSBA registered its support of Mr. DePreist and urged the Senate to vote promptly.
 
Improved Federal Contracting
In November, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 was enacted, which included 25 provisions intended to ensure contracts are available for small businesses and better assist those businesses as they compete for contracts. A long-term priority for NSBA, we have continually urged lawmakers to ensure fairness and the opportunity for small businesses to compete for federal dollars.
 
Expand Access to Capital
Another of NSBA’s Top 10 Priorities was partially met when the Securities and Exchange Commission in October finally voted to approve the final crowdfunding rules per the NSBA-supported Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act). These regulations will allow small businesses to more easily raise capital and will open up investment in small firms.
 
NSBA also submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. court of regarding a lawsuit disputing regulations from the SEC to ease investment opportunities for small firms.
 
In July, legislation was passed to expand lending authority for SBA 7(a) loan guarantee program, following the program reaching its statutory cap two months early due to high demand. NSBA has been an outspoken supporter of the 7(a) loan program and strongly urged lawmakers to support increased lending authority.
 
Protecting Small Inventors
NSBA strongly opposed two patent-reform bills which would greatly harm the ability of small inventors to protect their patents and seek investment. Our strong opposition helped to stall the bill from a floor vote this year.
 
Giving Small Business a Voice
NSBA’s annual Washington Presentation was a rousing success this June where our members attended a high-level White House Briefing and heard from eight Members of Congress during our Congressional Breakfast prior to a busy day of Hill meetings with their elected officials.
 
In February, NSBA hosted our biennial Small Business Congress where members from across the country heard from top-notch speakers including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), then discussed and debated the key issues facing small business, resulting in NSBA’s member-voted Top 10 Priorities.
 
Testified Before Congress and the Administration
NSBA and its councils, the Small Business Technology Council and Small Business Exporters Association, testified before Congress this year on a number of key issues, including tax simplificaiton, the state of the small-business economyexportingpatent reform and cybersecurity.
 
Additionally, two NSBA board members testified in April at an SBA Region 3Regulatory Fairness Board national hearing in Washington, D.C.
 
Provided Critical Data on Small Business
NSBA has continued this year with our highly-respected surveys on topics ranging from taxes to health care, and continues to do our biannual Economic Reports which provide critical data to lawmakers and the media on how small business is faring.
 
Represented Small Business in the Media
NSBA and its leadership was featured in a number of high-profile media reportsthroughout the year in outlets ranging from Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC to Forbes and Time Magazines, The Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as in countless major city dailies, Business Journals  and the Associated Press.
 
Recognized Outstanding Business Leaders
NSBA in June, recognized 5 outstanding small-business owners and leaders who are making a difference in their communities and beyond with our Lew Shattuck Advocate of the Year Award.
 
Member-Focused Issue Calls
NSBA continued with its popular Issue Briefing call series where members heard from high-level experts on a variety of issues, including tax reform, newovertime regulations, our annual State of the Union Analysis, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
 
NSBA Leadership Council
NSBA continues to grow its Leadership Council with impactful small-business leaders from across the country, and is providing meaningful content and insight on the politics of small business with the group, as well as providing great networking opportunities.
 
Outstanding Member Discounts
NSBA has cultivated valuable relationships with our corporate sponsors who continue to offer NSBA members fantastic discounts and valuable resources.
 
There is still much to do: pushing back against NLRB efforts that would drastically expand union reach to small firms that contract with larger firms; working to prevent massively burdensome new overtime rules from becoming law; ensuring Congress focuses on our looming debt; addressing the untenable cost increases under the Affordable Care Act; and much more.Today, I am asking you to take a few moments and complete our Year-End Economic Survey to help us continue to provide you with the best advocacy possible. I look forward to continuing our work together in the coming months and year on these and the many other key issues facing your business. 

As we close the chapter to 2015, I am happy to extend the best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season from NSBA staff and leadership.
 
Happy Holidays,
 
Todd McCracken
President