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August 22, 1993 | MICHAEL KINSLEY, Michael Kinsley's column appears in the New Republic, where he is a senior editor
These days we all worship at the shrine of "small business." In the debate about President Clinton's budget, opponents argued that higher taxes on incomes of more than $180,000 would not just hit the affluent because "small businesses" pay taxes at personal income-tax rates. The Clintonites replied that the budget bill was filled with new goodies for small businesses. The question whether "small business" is deserving of all this solicitude did not arise.
April 8, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Small-business owners were more optimistic about the economy last month and expected sales to increase as a winter marked by severe weather ended, according to survey results released Tuesday. The confidence index from the National Federation of Independent Business rose to 93.4 in March, from 91.4 the previous month. The measure is one of the few monthly barometers of the small-business sector, which is a key driver of the economy. Last month's increase nearly reversed a drop in February, but the index, which can range from 80 to 110, remains historically low as the economic recovery struggles to gain traction.
Rebuild L.A. plans to announce soon the creation of an independent $5-million loan fund to provide much-needed financing for small businesses in inner-city areas, RLA Co-Chairman Barry A. Sanders said Wednesday. The RLA Community Lending program, to be financed by a federal housing grant and private donations, will be announced around the April 29 anniversary of last year's riots.
March 27, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Connecticut lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill that will raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, a move that will boost the wages of about 90,000 workers in the state. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill into law Thursday evening, according to a statement from his office.  The bill's passage is a legislative victory for advocates who have been pushing to raise the minimum wage, arguing that many states' and the federal minimum wage law haven't kept up with rising living costs.
September 3, 1997 | VICKI TORRES
For all its touted political clout, small business appears to be no match against organized labor. For five years, labor unions have won their fight to block the top item on small business' agenda: clarifying state and federal independent contractor rules.
Fred Segal Essentials in Santa Monica stocks 75 brands of luxury soap from around the world, including Annick Goutal of Paris and Italy's Midani Erbe. But it's a funky, fragrant soap made by tiny Primal Elements Inc. in Garden Grove that leaves much of the competition in suds.
July 26, 1989 | LESLIE BERKMAN, Times Staff Writer
That envelope stuffed with discount coupons may be junk mail to you, but it's become a cost-effective way for a growing number of small businesses to get inside your home to peddle their products. It has also become a gold mine for Money Mailer, a Huntington Beach direct-mail firm that specializes in helping proprietors of small businesses band together to pitch their wares in one mailing. Money Mailer is one of a few national firms that specialize in what is called "cooperative" advertising.
November 22, 2010 | By Karen E. Klein
Dear Karen: How much cash should a small business set aside as a reserve fund? Answer: Because economic recessions are cyclical, having an adequate capital reserve is imperative for small businesses. It's also important to hedge against seasonal downturns and family emergencies or health problems. Just as individuals are advised to save enough to meet personal expenses for three to six months, companies should do the same, said Jim Sharvin, a CPA in Torrance. "Put that savings in a money market fund or a short-term CD. Don't put it at risk at all," he said.
March 12, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
California's small-business owners worry about the economy, regulatory burdens and taxes, but they're also concerned about the deteriorating quality of public education and crumbling roads and other public works. Those are the findings of an annual survey of 1,067 small-business executives just released by Small Business California, an advocacy group. Employers -- just over half of them with 19 workers or less -- have trouble finding capable staff and then have trouble navigating clogged freeways, said Scott Hauge, a San Francisco insurance broker who is Small Business California's founder and president.
July 9, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
Small-business optimism fell in June, a turnaround from a slight increase in May, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business. The group's economic index fell to 93.5, from 94.4 in May, which was its second-highest reading since the recession started. Job-creation plans increased slightly in June, the group reported, but expectations for improved business conditions remained negative. “The economy remains 'bifurcated,' with the big firms producing most of the GDP growth with little help from small business,” Bill Dunkelberg, the group's chief economist, said in a statement.
March 27, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former California official who founded a Los Angeles community bank, to head the federal Small Business Administration. Contreras-Sweet was approved Thursday by voice vote to the Cabinet position, which helps small businesses with loans and other assistance. She takes over for Karen Mills, a former venture capitalist who stepped down as the agency's administrator last year. President Obama said Contreras-Sweet "understands what it means to start a small business" and has "a proven track record of helping other small businesses succeed.
January 24, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
SACRAMENTO - A campaign group that received $11 million in "dark" political contributions and now owes it to the state has paid only $300,000. California's ethics agency on Friday announced receipt of the funds from the political arm of the Small Business Action Committee, whose president said the group's PAC would pay no more and would close.   The state has yet to collect any money from a second group, the California Future Fund, which owes $4 million but has shut down.
January 15, 2014 | By James Barragan
President Obama intends to nominate Maria Contreras-Sweet, the founder of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles and a former state Cabinet secretary, to head the Small Business Administration. Contreras-Sweet, who is highly regarded in the L.A. business community, is expected to be nominated Wednesday afternoon. She would fill the last vacancy in Obama's Cabinet. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Contreras-Sweet immigrated to Los Angeles when she was 5. She was the first Latina to serve as a Cabinet secretary in California when she was secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003.
December 2, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Trying to stem a steady erosion in employer health coverage, California's insurance exchange said it's looking to enroll 7,000 small businesses next year as part of the federal healthcare law. At an event in Los Angeles on Monday, officials with Covered California said their online marketplace for small firms is fully operational and that more than 1,500 businesses had already created shopping accounts on the state website. California officials sought to dispel any confusion after an employer-related delay last week by the separate federal exchange in 36 other states.
October 21, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
SAN FRANCISCO - With the tap of a finger, Christian Gastón Palmaz can use his iPad to remotely control one of the most sophisticated winemaking operations in Napa Valley. The apps Palmaz and his information technology staff created for the iPad tablet enable them to monitor and adjust the temperature in large tanks lined with sensors to more precisely control fermentation. With the iPad at its heart, the system has replaced a labor-intensive process that required a winemaker to constantly draw and test samples and then manually adjust the temperature.
October 11, 2013 | By Hugo Martín
The mild weather and cool temperatures of October make it one of the busiest months for rock climbing guides Seth Zaharias and his wife, Sabra Purdy. This time of year they're usually leading climbers up massive boulders and sheer canyons in Joshua Tree National Park. Then the government shutdown closed national parks Oct. 1. The couple now spend their day writing refund checks to dejected clients. In the first week of the shutdown, Zaharias estimates, he lost $2,500 in revenue.
May 2, 2012 | By Pat Benson
Small business owners, take your website one step further and add a video showing off what you do. Don't know how? A two-hour workshop on video for small business owners will be held at the Small Business Administration office in Glendale on May 8. The free workshop is one of a variety of educational programs for small businesses sponsored by the SBA's Small Business Development Centers. The workshop aims to help business owners use video to get noticed online and get more clicks.
March 12, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Small business owners were more optimistic about their prospects in February, but their overall confidence in the economy remained low, according to a leading private barometer. The Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business rose to 90.8 in February, up 1.9 points from the previous month. Although the increase was positive, the group noted that reading was similar to the average from 2008, as the Great Recession was taking hold.
September 26, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration, facing glitches in necessary computer systems, is delaying two online tools supposed to go live Tuesday for enrolling Americans in insurance under the president's health law. California is unaffected by the delay. But small businesses in some states that want to sign up their employees for health coverage on new federally run marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act will have to use paper forms until November, according to administration officials.
August 21, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Yelp Inc. was hoping to debunk misconceptions and ease business owners' concerns about the popular review website. Instead, many small-business owners at the company's town hall meeting in Hollywood on Tuesday slammed the site, venting their frustration at Yelp for aggressive advertising tactics and bogus reviews that they said hurt their businesses. "I have one-star reviews for my diner from people that have never walked into the place. They've never stepped foot, they've never tried the food, but they give me one-star reviews.
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