In Court NFIB Protects Small Businesses from Government Overreach

Date: April 14, 2021

In two recent cases, NFIB's Small Business Legal Center has fought for owners against obstructive government overreach.

In courts across the country, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center fights to defend the rights of small business in court cases. In two of the most recent cases, the Legal Center is working to prevent government overreach from infringing on small businesses: 

Ohio v. Yellen. On April 9, NFIB filed an amicus brief before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohiosupporting Ohio’s challenge to the provision of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) that would prevent states from using federal funds for tax relief. 

ARPA, a major COVID-19 relief bill passed into law in March 2021, made funds available to states only if the state first agrees not to take any administrative actions to decrease their net revenue, such as through tax credits, rebates, or tax deductions. NFIB argues in support of Ohio that this is an unprecedented, unconstitutionalanti-small business measure that attacks states’ power to control their own tax policies. 

“Small businesses are still facing many challenges coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to need as much financial relief as possible,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Congress passed the American Rescue Plan to help alleviate the financial devastation caused by the pandemic. The provision in the Act that prevents states from cutting taxes is eroding state sovereignty and hurts Main Street.” 

Ghost Golf v. NewsomOn April 13, NFIB filed a brief in support of the plaintiff’s suit against the governor of California in the California Court of Appeals, arguing that the governor’s office has both severely harmed small businesses and violated the separation of powers in the state constitution while addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The case centers around the governor’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” directive and other related orders tharestrict whether and how businesses may operate. These orders have caused financial and operational harm to small businessesand under California’s constitution the governor does not have the authority to order these restrictions, even during a state of emergency. 

NFIB’s brief supports Ghost Golfarguing for an injunction that would stop enforcement of unconstitutional COVID-19 orders such as the Blueprint. 

“The business restrictions issued from the governor have left small business owners uncertain over the ever-changing rules and when the restrictions will end,” said Karen Harned. “The last thing small business owners need to worry about during a pandemic is government overreach. We urge the court to prohibit the governor from enforcing these harmful orders and allow California’s small businesses to recover from the pandemic.” 

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center is the voice for small business in the nation’s courts and the legal resource for small business owners nationwide. Learn more here. 

Take action: Make your voice heard on small business legal issues, share your story about the impact of federal regulations here. 

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