Dan Hilton 2015-02-07 04:13:39
How Will the President Use That Pen? IT WAS JANUARY 2007; America had withdrawn its armed forces from Iraq, provided health care for children nationwide, and the use of embryonic stem cells became permissible for the first time. You don’t remember those things happening? It’s because they didn’t. As you’ll recall, Democrats swept both houses of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections, setting up a confrontational final two years for President Bush, with the opposition party in full control to send him legislation as they chose. REPUBLICAN MAJORITY Fast forward to January 2015, Republicans are in full control for the first time in Barack Obama’s presidency and by all accounts, they plan to take advantage of their majorities. Like their Democratic counterparts did on the campaign trail in 2006, they have made lofty promises, but will they end up with the same results? It seems since the initial passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as they’ve labeled it, Republicans have declared their intentions to repeal the ACA. They’ve had Limited success at chipping away at some of its parts, such as requiring employers to file an IRS 1099 form for every transaction greater than $600. A significant paperwork burden, which ultimately received bipartisan support to eliminate, the provision stands as a lone highlight for those wanting relief from this law. The new majority may not achieve everything they’ve promised, but they are guaranteed to force the president to use his veto pen more so than his previous six years in office. With the president issuing veto threats, literally while the 114th Congress was being sworn in, voters can expect a fight. Historically, vote counters in Congress tallied the votes needed to reach 60 in order to pass a bill out of the Senate. Now that magic number will be 67, which is the number needed to override a veto. It will be interesting to see whether the president stands by his veto threats and sends back all of the Republican’s priorities, or whether he will relent and finally allow a ready-made infrastructure project such as the Keystone XL pipeline. THE TIME TO COME TO WASHINGTON IS NOW How many times have you stood around the counter, warehouse or water cooler asking out loud, “What are they thinking in Washington”? In my opinion, one of the most valuable resources available is the fifth-annual Supply House Times - American Supply Association roundtable interview. It’s where we can see firsthand what our members are thinking about on a variety of topics impacting their businesses. These are stories I’ve shared on Capitol Hill, stories about ongoing concerns over health care, the uncertainties that still exist in our economy, and the various opinions and practices to confront e-commerce. As one participant stated, “In my opinion, health care is not in a healthy place for small businesses in the United States right now… we have no idea the ripple effect it will create and the challenges that are before us.” That is a story and sentiment that should be told to policymakers directly. When costs are broken down as effectively as Robertson Heating Supply’s Scott Robertson did when he said: “…you divide $12,000 into a salary of $32,000 to $34,000 a year and that one fringe benefit is about a third of what we pay in compensation. You are seeing restaurants now taking employees down to 30 hours or less because they can’t afford to pay a worker who qualifies for insurance. It’s upside-down for those people in that $15-$20 an hour range.” These are concerns that Congress needs to hear, firsthand. The multiplying effect of a stakeholder, such as a small business owner making this case, backed up by real-world evidence, is immeasurable. As the ones fighting in the trenches every day, who have to live under the rules and regulations put forth by the government while making sure payroll is met, ASA members have the greatest reason and opportunity to come to Washington. FEATURED UPCOMING EVENT ASA’s Legislative Fly-In Join us in Washington April 14 – 15 for ASA’s Legislative Fly-In and share your stories with your elected officials. The time for Congress to get it right is now. To do that, they need your help! Visit ADVANCEYOURABILITY.COM for event registration details or contact DAN HILTON at DHILTON@ASA.NET and (703) 328-5234. How to Find an Hour a Day by Steve McClatchy, President, Alleer Training & Consulting PLAN 5 MINUTES EVERY DAY Taking less than 1% of your day to plan the other 99% will yield much more than 5 minutes in return. The many benefits of a written plan include the ability to recover faster from interruptions, to control events instead of events controlling you, to weigh daily opportunities against your plan so you can make better decisions and to save the time lost transitioning between tasks. The excuse I hear most often for not planning is “I don’t have time,” but really it’s time you lose when you don’t have a plan. PRIORITIZE Psychologists say there are only two forms of human motivation and they are to “move toward gain” or to “prevent pain.” Gain activities include things that move you toward your goals. Prevent pain activities include all responsibilities that would eventually find you if you neglected them. Great time managers (great decision makers) execute their prevent pain tasks but also have gain activities as a consistent part of each day. UNDER COMMIT AND OVER DELIVER This is one of the greatest productivity secrets of all time. So often we tend to do the opposite. This one skill alone can reduce tremendous amounts of stress in your life and significantly strengthen your relationships. ASA Launches New Region THE AMERICAN SUPPLY ASSOCIATION is a federation of several regional organizations that formed nearly 50 years ago. One of the association’s regions fell on hard times in 2003 and remained without local leadership until recently when a small group of leading distributors stepped up to work with the national association to rekindle regional representation. Today, Southwest Central Distributors (SWCD), an affiliation of distributors, manufacturers and manufacturers representatives throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico, has now become an official regional affiliate of ASA. SWCD’S GOAL The goal of the SWCD is to provide PHCP & PVF firms in the region the ability to connect, share ideas, learn and lead. Managed by the ASA and guided by volunteer leaders, the new SWCD region is a peer group of leading organizations less interested in building an independent organization; and more interested in seeing that ASA provides forums for employees to cultivate local peer networks, engage them in industry issues such as advocacy on the state level and gain greater insight as to what is happening in their local market. MORE INFORMATION Educational and networking events have been planned throughout the region with both spring and fall sessions. For information on SWCD events or to get involved, contact the ASA at (630) 467-0000 or visit the ASA website at advanceyourability.com. OSHA UPDATE: New Reporting Requirements Start January 1 BEGINNING JAN. 1, 2015, a change was made to what covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers are now be required to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident. Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident. The updated reporting requirements are not simply paperwork; they also have a life-saving purpose. They will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards. OPTIONS FOR REPORTING Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA. They can call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 800-321-OSHA (800-321-6742), or they can report online at osha.gov/report_online. Employers under federal OSHA’s jurisdiction should have started their reporting Jan. 1. Establishments in a state with a state-run OSHA program should contact their state plan for the implementation date. Why Choose an ESOP? by Robert Gross, Prairie Capital Advisors, Inc. WHEN IT COMES TO DECIDING UPON AN EXIT STRATEGY, owners of closely held businesses have a lot to think about. Faced with the frightening prospect of turning over the business they have worked so hard to build to new ownership, they might worry about what will happen to the company – and their employees – once they’re gone. Selling the business to a third party isn’t always a welcome or viable option. But if there isn’t a qualified management team or successor in mind, what’s a business owner to do? Fortunately, there is an alternative that can help ensure the continuation of the business while providing significant financial rewards for both the owner and the employees: selling the business to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). An ESOP is a trust set up by a corporation to allot some of its stock to its employees over time. It’s similar in many ways to a profit-sharing plan. Shares are allocated to individual employee accounts based on their compensation levels As well as how long they have worked for the company – as employees accumulate seniority, they become increasingly vested in the account. ESOPS CAN BE USED FOR MANY PURPOSES, INCLUDING: o As part of an ownership succession strategy o As a pure employee benefit plan o As a component of a complete leveraged buyout o To create a market for inside or outside shareholders o To enable shareholders with management responsibilities to gradually ease out of the business o To finance corporate acquisitions o To enhance employee performance and morale This variability, plus an attractive slate of tax benefits, makes an ESOP a compelling choice in a number of succession planning and corporate finance situations. Further, ESOPs can help business owners gradually begin the process of converting their closely held ownership over to liquid, diversified capital. An ESOP can also help ensure the company will retain the owner’s original corporate vision by helping to retain key managers. In addition, because employees own a portion of the company, they will have stronger ties to it and will be more likely to work hard to ensure its success. OTHER BENEFITS INCLUDE: o Companies can fund ESOPs with pre-tax dollars o The owner may sell to the ESOP in stages, gradually relinquishing control of the company o ESOPs can be used to raise capital in order to finance acquisitions or refinance debt o ESOPs can infuse working cash flow into the corporation o ESOPs can be used to match employee contributions to a 401(k) plan, significantly reducing the cost of employee benefits
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