On an October 19 conference call, Sen. Lisa Murkowski fielded questions from NFIB members throughout Alaska and provided updates on pending Congressional actions important for small business.
Senator Murkowski began by noting that there was “considerable uncertainty, and that’s an understatement,” out there with small-business owners across the nation. The stalemate from having a federal government divided between a Congress of one political party a presidency of the other party, combined with the wonderment of what will happen after the November 8 election, have fueled that uncertainty, which a new poll from NFIB found is at a 42-year high.
But there have been some accomplishments for small business that have managed to swim through the justifiable anxiety, according to Murkowski, who outlined a few:
- Making permanent Section 179 expensing
- A highway funding bill, vital for Alaska, that will make the flow of federal dollars for projects more predictable
- A new Energy Policy Modernization Act that will aid in permitting for hydroelectric projects
- New initiatives to leverage Alaska’s strategic location in the global marketplace and to improve the state’s mining and forestry industries
- And, an effort to enhance Alaska’s community infrastructure through its smaller telecommunications companies.
Another issue that came up was the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, set to take effect December 1—unless something is done.
In a letter (below) to NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt prior to the teleforum, Senator Murkowski wrote, “I am concerned the rule has the potential to raise costs for businesses and nonprofit organizations, including colleges and universities. This could result in less flexibility and advancement opportunity for workers and increased tuition costs for students. The final rule becomes effective on December 1, 2016. The disproportionate impact the rule would have on Alaskan workers and our economy is unsettling, which is why I joined my Senate colleagues in cosponsoring S.J.Res. 34, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval of the DOL’s new rule.”
NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan introduced Senator Murkowski and thanked her for being a champion for small business. After outlining Congressional works passed and in the pipeline, Murkowski then fielded questions from members that ranged from the minimum wage (she believes it’s better set at the state level) to the cost of health care to the importance of the next U.S. Supreme Court justices.
One of the many benefits in belonging to NFIB is the opportunity to hear exclusively from, and talk directly to, top state and federal policymakers about the issues related directly to the health and welfare of the Main Street, mom-and-pop enterprises that the true engine of every economy.
NFIB/Alaska makes participating in teleforums easy. Members are notified in advance and called the day of and asked if they’d like to join. A number and password is also provided if a member would like to call in from a different location. If you missed the teleforum with Senator Murkowski, you can listen to a recording of it here.
For more information about future teleforums, send an email to NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt or NFIB/Alaska Member Support Manager Stacy Jenkins by clicking their names.