Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM hosts New Mexico Chamber leaders at a meeting on economic development on Capitol Hill. Courtesy photo
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, Friday announced two bills to help New Mexico small businesses grow in the tough economy and continue to create jobs.
The bills, the Helping Our Middle Class Entrepreneurs (HOME) Act and the Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act, are the result of Udall’s conversations with small business owners across New Mexico about ways the federal government can streamline contracting and reduce unnecessary red tape.
Udall’s announcement comes a day after he hosted two Albuquerque chamber of commerce leaders at the U.S. Capitol for a discussion about how the federal government can partner with the private sector to grow the economy.
“New Mexico’s small businesses are almost 96 percent of our state’s employers; their success is the key improving our economy, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to enable them expand and continue to create good-paying jobs,” Udall said.
“The two bills I’m announcing will help small businesses compete and cut through unnecessarily bureaucratic rules that can be barriers to success for entrepreneurs with small staffs,” Udall said. “With New Mexico’s economy still struggling to recover from the recession, we need to do everything we can to ensure our small business employers have the support they need to succeed. These two bills are a strong part of my efforts, and I’m proud of the support we have from small business owners in New Mexico and across the country.”
Helping Our Middle Class Entrepreneurs (HOME) Act
Udall’s bipartisan HOME Act would help business owners who operate primarily out of their homes deal with the often-complicated process of filing income taxes. Under the current system, home-office business owners often struggle to calculate expenses, depreciation and carryovers on their homes. Udall’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), would allow business owners to take an optional standard deduction of $1,500.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), about a quarter of small businesses nationwide are based in the home, and fewer than half take the home office deduction because it is so complex. In January, the IRS created a temporary standard deduction. It estimates that the change will reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses by 1.6 million hours annually. But the change is not permanent. Udall’s bill would fix that problem.
Udall’s HOME Act is supported by the NFIB and the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE).
“One of the biggest challenges for America’s smallest business community is the complexities of the U.S. tax code,” said Kristie Arslan, NASE president and CEO. “Our nation’s tax system is incredibly unfair and actually deters those from opening their own business and others from growing theirs. America’s 22 million self-employed businesses struggle daily to comply with a cumbersome tax code that puts them at a disadvantage in the marketplace.
“While the Treasury Department’s announcement earlier this year of a more streamlined home office deduction was welcomed news, we commend Senators Udall and Boozman for their leadership in introducing a reform package that permanently simplifies the tax code. This important relief will put America’s smallest businesses on a level playing field with the rest of the business community. We look forward to working with both of them and the entire Congress on passing this important piece of legislation.”
Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act
The Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act, would help small business owners compete for federal contracting opportunities and create a database of qualified minority-owned subcontracting firms. The bill is supported by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), among other groups.
“Hispanic businesses – the fastest growing segment of American enterprise – are making incredible contributions to the American economy every day,” said Javier Palomarez, USHCC president and CEO. “As these firms continue to create jobs and opportunity in communities across the country, it is imperative that leaders in Washington push legislation that promotes economic growth and prosperity for minority enterprises. Fortunately, the Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act does exactly that. The USHCC stands in full support of this bill and we look forward to working with Senator Udall and others to continue addressing the challenges that exist for Hispanic businesses in the federal marketplace.”
The Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act would:
- Raise the cap to $500,000 on the value of federal government contracts eligible to be set aside for small businesses.
- Require contracting officers who don’t award an eligible contract to a small business to provide a determination, in writing, of why the contract didn’t go to a small business.
- Increase the government-wide small business procurement contract goal to 25 percent (from 23 percent); increase the goal to 10 percent (from 5 percent) for small disadvantaged and women-owned businesses; and to 5 percent (from 3 percent) for Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.
- Require a federal agency give additional consideration to firms that meet the above subcontracting goals for qualified small businesses.
- Direct the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to establish and maintain a database of minority firms, which federal prime contractors may refer to when looking for firms with which to subcontract.