Recently in the State Issues Category

In 2004 the State of Missouri's affirmative action program was legally challeneged as unconstitutional by a non-minority company. The federal district court, Western District of Missouri, located in Kansas City, MO, issued a temporary injunctive order which found the Plaintiff's claim that the program was unconstitutional merited a substantial chance of prevailing at trial, and therefore ordered the State's affirmative action program to be temporarily suspended. At that time, all D/M/WBE programs under the State ceased.

A voluntarily coalition consisting of members of the Kansas City Council of Women Business Owners, the National Association of Women Business Owners - Kansas City and St. Louis Chapters, the Minority Contractors Association and the Mid American Minority Development Council joined to assess the litigation. Coordinated by WIPP member and National Partner, Nancy Zurbuchen, and assisted through pro bono legal advice and briefing provided by WIPP member and National Partner, Denise Farris of the Farris Law Firm LLC, the group analyzed the legal challenge and briefs, and determined that the legal challenge  was well-grounded in fact and law, and realized that protracted litigation would place Missouri's program into deep freeze while the lawsuits played out.

The group acted in a concerted effort to meet with Missouri's attorney general Jay Nixon (Democrat) and newly elected governor, Matt Blunt (Republican) to urge the State to avoid protracted litigation and voluntarily create a new program more in line with the MoDot program. The group's recommendation was accepted and the program, in a new and improved form, reactivated six months later.

Following on my previous post "Looking into the Future," I wanted to call your attention to an issue currently being debated in the Wisconsin State Legislature. The Legislature is considering the Wisconsin Video Competition Act (AB 207);  this is historic legislation that can open cable TV to real competition for the first time. The Wisconsin Assembly and the Senate have already passed this landmark bill and now it is back in the Assembly for a final concurrence vote.


Passage of the Wisconsin Video Competition Act will give Wisconsinites an improved broadband network by allowing telecommunication companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, to use broadband lines to sell video services.  This creates an enormous incentive to attract investment dollars, investment that will improve existing lines and put new broadband lines in the ground.


WIPP supports this legislation because it is directly relevant to the economic health and well-being of our members. A recent study conducted by the Center for Women's Business Research found that more than three-quarters of women business owners are looking for reliable technology solutions that can help them increase the efficiencies in their businesses. 


As women and minority business owners we know how important reliable technology is; I want to encourage everyone to get involved in this issue.  By visiting TV4US Wisconsin you can learn more about this legislation and take action. From this site you can e-mail the Legislature and tell them why the Wisconsin Video Competition Act is good for Wisconsin, good for you and good for your business! Share this site and help spread the word! 

Piggybacking on my earlier post on internet taxes, a related issue, is curently being debated in Cook County, Illinois.

County commissioners are considering a $4 per month tax hike on every phone line - including data lines, fax lines and mobile phones!  What is especially frustrating about this is that consumers in Cook County already see an average of 25% of their phone bills eaten up by state, federal and local taxes and fees. This would jump to 40% with this huge new tax!

At WIPP, we are of course especially concerned about this tax's impact on small businesses. As a small business owner, consider your own situation and what impact this would have on your own bottom line. A small business with office lines and mobile phones for 50 employees, plus a few fax lines and data service would face an increase of nearly $8,000 per year! That's the difference between offering health insurance to support staff or making investments to benefit the business. 

In this global economy, companies - both large and small - have choices of where they want to locate. Here at WIPP, we feel that this is an anti-business tax that will send companies fleeing to other counties, states and even countries. This proposed tax puts the burden directly on the backs of small businesses, the very same businesses that have brought jobs and economic development to both the city and the county.

Instead of crippling businesses, we must instead work together to maintain an environment that allows small businesses to flourish, yielding long-term benefits for everyone.

UPDATE: I want to encourage everyone to get involved in this issue -- by visiting NoPhoneTax.org, you can learn more about the proposed Cook County tax and take action. From this site you can e-mail the Commissioners and tell them why the phone tax is bad for Cook County, bad for you, and bad for your business! Share this site and help spread the word! 

Tough going!

9:38 PM October 23, 2007

  A quick update on my earlier post "Government Run Amok!" - wanted to call attention to what people have been saying, and providing some followup media coverage on the DPUC decision.

   The Communications Workers of America Local 1298 organized a rally in Hartford - both AT&T and the union have been lobbying state officials to fight the cable television license requirement.

   The Day ran a well-written editorial that highlights many of the implications of the ruling - lost jobs, fewer consumer options, and higher service prices.   Also, the Hartford Courant featured some relevant letters to the editor, criticizing the constraint on cable competition.

   We know that you share our concerns about restrictive government regulations that limit business competition, growth and innovation, so we'll continue to keep you updated and informed about this developing issue.

Government Run Amok!

5:51 PM October 19, 2007

   I wanted to call your attention to an issue in Connecticut that has alarming implications for small businesses - and is a glaring example of government run amok!

 

   In a surprising announcement, the state's Department of Public Utility Control ,(DPUC) rejected AT&T's applicaiton to continue to provide its new video service, AT&T U-verse TV.  If this ruling is not reversed, it has the potential of costing jobs and much needed investments - not to mention that countless households will no longer have a choice in video service.

 

   As small business owners, we understand first hand how government regulations should encourage competition - not discourage it.   Government should create a healthy environment so all companies flourish.   Businesses and consumers benefit by more innovation and competitive pricing that follows.  

 

   We strongly encourage the DPUC and the Connecticut Attorney General to reverse course on this issue.   Read what others are saying here.

 

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