Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Louisiana's and the nation's leading small-business association, has released the following statement about how small businesses fared in the 2014 session of the Legislature, which ends today:
"Our members were front and center in killing several bills that would have devastated small, family businesses.
"NFIB/Louisiana took the lead in opposing a proposed increase in the state minimum wage. We showed lawmakers that raising the minimum wage would hurt the very people the legislation was supposed to help--those with limited skills and experience and those just entering the workforce. If employers can't afford to hire as many workers, they would have choice but to hire people with the right skills and most experience.
"Our members also helped defeat the so-called ban-the-box bill, which would have wasted employers' time and money by preventing them from weeding out applicants with criminal records early in the hiring process.
"We succeeded in stopping a plan that would have automatically enrolled workers in state-managed individual retirement plans, a plan that would have created additional expenses for employers, not to mention unnecessary hassles for employees who don't want the government to take even more money out of their paychecks.
"NFIB also played an important role in stopping the deregulation of the lawsuit-lending industry and supported coalition efforts
to bring transparency to attorney contracts, remove contingency fee provisions and find compromise to the 'legacy lawsuit' issue.
"But despite these wins, our work isn't done.
"Our members also are still working to lower the threshold for jury trials. Today, civil claims under $50,000 must be heard by a judge, not a jury, an antiquated rule that denies people of their fundamental right to trial before a jury of their peers.
"And while we succeeded in stopping Medicaid expansion this session, we know the issue will come up again. The fact is that Louisiana simply can't afford to expand its Medicaid program. Our members don't believe Washington will continue to fund the expansion indefinitely, and when it stops, the burden will fall back on Louisianans in the form of higher taxes to cover the enormous bill.
"Before next year's legislative session, we will continue to work to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their small businesses."
NFIB/Louisiana has over 4,000 dues-paying members representing a cross section of the state's economy.
PHOTO: Todd Pack/NFIB