All blogs filed under Small Business
Federal agencies provide approximately $400 billion in contracts each year that are small business eligible. There are over 275,000 small businesses in Pennsylvania that employ over 3.2 million people, and I want to ensure that they have the tools they need to grow. That is precisely why I hosted a Small Business Procurement Workshop at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. I want to make sure that federal procurement becomes easier for Pennsylvania businesses.
By partnering with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, we were able to bring together about 75 businesses from across the region to learn how to do business with the government. The summit provided the informational toolkit these professionals will need to navigate the procurement process and strengthen their businesses. The Government Services Administrator David Ehrenwerth, along with leading experts in federal procurement, met with Lehigh Valley businesses to assist them with the process.
In these tough economic times, businesses need to find new customers and markets, and I believe this summit will help them do just that. For more information and a complete list of federal resources, please visit the procurement section of my website.
Joe Santelli, owner of Santelli Tempered Glass in Monessen, PA, was recently named Pennsylvania’s Small Business Owner of the Year and was honored in ceremonies both in his home state and in Washington, DC.
Joe began his company’s operations in 2006 in a former steel mill, creating 23 jobs in Pennsylvania, which he doubled within a year. In 2010, after achieving $5 million in sales, he expanded his company utilizing a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Joe took advantage of key federal resources that promote business development, such as SBA loans and Small Business Development Centers. Utilizing these tools helps entrepreneurs meet the challenges of starting, sustaining and growing their small business.
Joe is one of 275,000 small business owners in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which combined employ over 3.2 million people. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I will continue to advocate for increased access to capital and key federal programs that help businesses create jobs and grow revenue. I applaud the courage and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by Joe Santelli and millions of Americans in establishing such enterprises.
Small Business owners may not know of the newly-revised payroll tax form, which eligible employers can use to take advantage of the special payroll tax exemption for new workers hired in 2010. This incentive was created as a part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which I was proud to support. In addition to this provision, the HIRE Act provided for an expansion of the Recovery Act provision that enables small business owners to write-off certain capital expenses. I hope that many Pennsylvanian entrepreneurs will be able to take advantage of the provisions in this legislation to help improve their businesses and drive our economy forward in its recovery.
The payroll tax form has been posted on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) website where you can find more information on this tax exemption.
In addition, many small business owners have expressed concern about the impact of the upcoming requirement mandating reporting of the value of health insurance coverage on employee’s Form W-2. The IRS confirms that employer-provided health coverage is NOT taxable. The IRS explains on its website that this reporting is for informational purposes, to show employees the value of their health care benefits so they can be more informed consumers. The value of the employer contribution continues to be excludible from an employee’s income and is not taxable. More information on this subject can also be found on the IRS website.
On Monday, I held a field hearing on financial regulation and reform entitled “Bringing Accountability and Transparency to Wall Street.” As the Senate continues to debate the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S. 3217), I wanted to make sure I heard from people and small businesses that have been directly impacted by the financial crisis as well as experts in the field of economics and finance.
The hearing was held at the Creese Student Center on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the hearing I was able to gather valuable information from six witnesses: Steven Kaplan, who is the Secretary of Banking for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Skip Voluntad, who is the owner of Asian Pacific Management and Consulting Company and also serves on the Executive Council of the Association of the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP); Dr. Michael Gombola and Dr. Jie Cai, Drexel Lebow College of Business Finance Department Head and Professor, respectively; Tracy Levesque, the co-owner of YIKES, Inc. a Web design, development and ecommerce small business; Jim Sysko, a Professor of Business Administration and Business Ethicist Scholar at the McGowan School of Business, King’s College.
Each of the six witnesses was able to provide a unique perspective on a variety of topics that included how the financial crisis has affected credit availability for small businesses, the impact of deregulation in Pennsylvania and the relationship between executive pay and company performance, among others. Listening to these testimonies reinforced what I have seen travelling across Pennsylvania and in reviewing job loss and foreclosure numbers, and that is the need to pass strong reform for our financial markets and mega banks.
It is clear that American families and small business were pushed to the side by Wall Street mega banks as they consolidated their power simply to gain wealth for themselves and their stockholders. For this reason, I look forward to making sure that reform to improve accountability, resiliency and transparency in the financial system is passed in the Senate.
Guy Dunn, a Drexel Hill resident, was recently awarded over $300,000 for an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contract to install digital television convertors in Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Mr. Dunn's business will now be able to hire and additional thirty workers, ninety percent of whom are also minorities. His company, The Idea Guy LLC, will perform over 5,000 free installations of converter boxes to ensure that constituents are prepared for the switch to digital television broadcasting. This contract from the ARRA is creating jobs for minority owned small businesses while meeting the other needs of our State and local communities.
I share President Obama's commitment to the oversight and transparency of funds distributed from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is important that minority and women owned business are treated equitably in the distribution of federal contracts. I will continue work diligently to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have an equal opportunity to access funding to sustain and grow their businesses.