Small Business Legislative Council Announces Agenda for 2007

The 110th Congress provides a fresh opportunity for us to pursue policies that will help our nation's small businesses to grow and flourish," said Dan Gilligan, President of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. As the incoming Chairman of the Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC), Gilligan has conveyed eagerness to reach out to the new majorities, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, to work towards SBLC's top five priorities for 2007. These priorities were recently endorsed by SBLC board members during the organization's annual planning retreat. "We believe that the new Congress provides us with a great opportunity to achieve comprehensive immigration reform," said Gilligan. "This has been a top issue for President Bush, and it appears he will find a very receptive audience with the new majority in Congress. We believe that it is important for any immigration reform proposal to include a guest worker provision, a path to citizenship, and increased border security. These three provisions will help ensure that small businesses have continued access to a critical pool of workers."

"We also recognize the continued health care crisis, which particularly affects small businesses," Gilligan continued. "Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that between 2004 and 2005 the number of uninsured increased by 1.3 million to 46.6 million, while spending on health care rose 7.9 percent. To this end, SBLC will focus on proposals that reduce spending and restore the safety net to help keep people insured."

"SBLC will also continue to pursue estate tax reform. Small businesses cannot afford to return to the draconian level of estate taxes prior to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001," stated Gilligan. "We also continue to support federal funding to improve our nation's infrastructure," Gilligan said. "We believe that this is one of the major purposes of the federal government and we will advocate for responsible spending in this area."

"Finally, we believe that there should be adjustments made to the Research and Development Tax Credit," said Gilligan. "Therefore, we encourage the implementation of a simple flat credit. The credit should be limited to companies with 500 or fewer employees or an asset size of less than $50 million. We believe that this would both address the current imbalance in usage and limit the tax revenue impact."

"We believe that the new Congress will provide us with many opportunities to advance the concerns of small businesses," Gilligan concluded. "Taking the cue from the thousands of hardworking entrepreneurs in America, we are brimming with optimism that we can succeed in helping small business continue to thrive and serve as the backbone of our nation's economy."

The SBLC is a permanent, independent coalition of nearly 60 trade and professional associations that share a common commitment to the future of small business. The purpose of SBLC is twofold: to consolidate the strength and maximize the influence of small business on legislative and Federal policy issues of importance to the entire small business community; and secondly, to disseminate information on the impact of public policy on small business. Its members represent the interests of small businesses in such diverse economic sectors as manufacturing, retailing, distribution, professional and technical services, construction, transportation, and agriculture. Its policies are developed through a consensus among our membership. Individual associations may express their own views.

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