CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2013 |
Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, announced $37 million in grants Tuesday to begin the massive task of educating millions of Californians about the new healthcare law. The grants will go to 48 organizations, including universities, nonprofit groups, health foundations and unions. They will help state officials explain the new benefits, show people how to access insurance, and encourage small businesses to enroll. Covered California's executive director, Peter Lee, said Tuesday that getting the word out will require collaboration and partnership across the state.
May 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted 69-27 Monday to approve legislation that would allow states to force larger online retailers to collect sales taxes. But the bill faces an uncertain future in the House as lawmakers, particularly Republicans, wrestle with whether the Marketplace Fairness Act amounts to a tax increase. The Market Place Fairness Act would give states the authority to force larger retailers to collect sales taxes that residents already are obligated to pay. But with most consumers dodging those taxes for years, the result will be that people will pay more in taxes.
May 1, 2013 |
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the nation's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., is imposing unreasonable rate hikes on about 5,000 small businesses. Jones said Wednesday that UnitedHealth couldn't justify the average annual increase of nearly 8%, which reflects both higher premiums and a reduction in benefits. He said the rate hike, which went into effect Wednesday, affects up to 45,000 small-business employees and dependents and represents $12.5 million in higher costs.
April 26, 2013 |
Owners of Southern California small businesses are mixed on the state of the economy, according to data released Thursday. About 42% said the economy was recovering, and 48% said the nation was still in a recession, according to the U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey. More than two-thirds of the business owners said they were unlikely to make a capital expenditure in the next year. In Southern California, 64% of respondents characterized their financial health as “good,” and 46% said they expect higher revenues in the next year.
April 21, 2013 |
Business and insurance groups are attacking a proposal by state regulators to impose new limits on a controversial form of health coverage that insurers are selling to small employers. The California Department of Insurance is pushing legislation that calls for new rules on a type of company self-insurance that's growing more popular as small businesses seek alternatives to ever-rising premiums for conventional health coverage. State regulators elsewhere as well as federal officials are watching this debate in California closely because they are concerned that these policies will proliferate nationwide.
April 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Small-business owners were less optimistic about the economy last month amid signs of another slowdown in the recovery. The Small Business Owner Optimism Index from the National Federal of Independent Business dropped to 89.5 in March, down 1.3 points from the previous month, the group said Tuesday. The measure, based on a random survey of 759 business owners, had risen for three straight months. The average monthly reading has been 90.7 since the end of the Great Recession in mid-2009.
April 5, 2013 |
More than half of small businesses are in favor of requiring all employers to comply with some kind of E-Verify system, even though a majority of them don't use it or have never heard of it, according to a national survey. The National Small Business Assn. interviewed nearly 300 businesses for its 2013 Workforce and Immigration Survey . It found that 17% employ immigrant workers and that 46% depend on workers with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
April 2, 2013 |
Business owners often have a tricky relationship with the idea of giving immigrant workers a path to citizenship. On the one hand, employers (usually) want to keep their workers happy and working hard, which often means seeing their families more than once a year. On the other hand, workers who have citizenship have less incentive to stay with one employer, and may leave tough, low-paying jobs for other work, leaving employers in the lurch. “If the guest workers did become citizens, some of them would probably stay, they enjoy the farm work, and like working outside,” said Rusty Barr, a farmer featured in a Sunday story about immigration reform.
March 27, 2013 |
Proposed legislation to raise the state minimum wage could eliminate tens of thousands of jobs and harm the California economy, a small-business advocacy group said. The measure, AB 10, could wipe out more than 68,000 jobs over 10 years and cost $5.7 billion in lost production of goods and services, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business. More than 63% of the lost jobs would be in the small-business sector, NFIB researchers said.
March 23, 2013 |
BELVIDERE, N.J. - Amid the whir of fans and the glow of soft white light, workers tended to bright green seedlings sprouting in a giant greenhouse. Located about an hour's drive from Manhattan in the hills of northwestern New Jersey, the facility produces basil, chives, oregano and other herbs that are sold in grocery stores around New York City. But if Ken VandeVrede has his way the facility will one day be growing a much more valuable plant: marijuana. VandeVrede is chief operating officer at Terra Tech, a hydroponic equipment maker based in Irvine.