State members of the National Federation of Independent Business have a keen on eye on emerging issues like Medicaid expansion, said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee, the state’s leading small business association.
NFIB, which represents 8,000 independent businesses in Tennessee, is seeking details of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal to expand Medicaid.
“NFIB/Tennessee surveyed the Medicaid expansion question two years ago,” said Brown, noting 78 percent of the membership opposed and only 10 percent favored.
“Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal must be thoroughly vetted and understood, not just for obvious positive aspects but also for potential threats to the long-term welfare of our state and our country,” Brown said. “We’re eager to learn more details so we can engage the small-business community at the grassroots level.”
Unlike other business groups, NFIB doesn’t have a board of directors that dictates policy. “Our positions are based solely on a consensus of our members,” Brown said. “We ballot our members on state and federal issues and don’t take a position unless a large majority of them agree.” NFIB plans to survey its full membership before a planned special session to debate Insure Tennessee.
NFIB released the following preliminary results from its regular 2015 NFIB/Tennessee Member Ballot:
• 62 percent support reforming the state’s liquor distribution system, while 23 percent oppose and 15 percent are undecided;
• 64 percent support eliminating common law claims to wage-and-hour disputes, while 15 percent oppose and 20 percent are undecided; and
• 61 percent say government services like airport management, emergency call centers and public transportation should be turned over to private business, while 26 percent oppose and 13 percent are undecided.
The 109th Tennessee General Assembly is scheduled to convene Tuesday, Jan. 13, while the special session is expected to begin in early February.