Despite being in the height of the pandemic, NSBA held its biennial Small Business Congress virtually over three weeks in January and February 2021. We hosted six issue-focused sessions which lead up to the final grand forum where we discussed, debated and voted on NSBA’s top issues. Participants heard from Biden Administration officials, Members of Congress, a host of policy experts, and small-business thought leaders about what to expect in the coming months and years, ultimately voting on NSBA’s priorities for the coming two years.
NSBA kicked off the Congress with a Tax Policy webinar on Feb. 9, 2021, led by Malcolm Prouty, the NSBA Chair for Taxation, featuring Brian Reardon from S Corporation Association and Garrett Watson from the Tax Foundation on the panel. During the webinar, panelists discussed tax reform, including alternatives to the current tax code, such as The Fair Tax; the impact of Covid-19 on the national debt; self-employment tax on health care; and the interstate sales tax.
On Feb. 17, Todd McCracken and Marilyn Landis, NSBA’s Past Chair, moderated a webinar on Access to Capital and Economic Development. The panel included Renee Johnson from Public Private Strategies, Sam Graziano from Fundation, and David R. Burton from the Heritage Foundation. Our panelists discussed the importance of improving access to credit for small businesses, SBA lending, the issues surrounding crowdfunding, the importance of small business contracting, and the need to invest in American infrastructure
On Feb. 16, Bill Belknap, the NSBA Chair of Environment & Regulatory Affairs moderated the session featuring Thomas Sullivan from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and David R. Burton from the Heritage Foundation. Our panelists discussed OSHA regulations, tort reform, beneficial ownership laws, regulatory reform and paperwork reduction, as well as the issues of growing partisanship and political disfunction and the importance of strengthening the SBA Office of Advocacy.
NSBA is a uniquely member-driven organization. Every two years, at the start of a new session of Congress, we hold our biennial Small Business Congress where members gather, discuss the top issues facing their business, and vote on the priority issues for NSBA for the coming two years.
Labor & Employment
On Feb. 10, NSBA held a leadership issue discussion webinar on Labor and Employment, moderated by Robert Shea, the NSBA Chair for Health and Human Resources. The panelists, Marc Freedman from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Josh Ulman from Ulman Public Policy, discussed issues, including minimum wage, pension reform, fair union elections, paid family leave, immigration reform, flexible scheduling, and trained workforce.
On Feb. 11, NSBA’s leadership turned to Health Care, led by policy expert Gary Kushner, NSBA’s Past Chair. During the roundtable discussion, participants heard from Tom Wildsmith from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Dan Jones from Alliance of Community Health Plans. Our experts discussed a variety of health care issues affecting the small business community, including medical liability reform, and the rising costs of healthcare.
Technology & Trade
On Feb. 18, NSBA discussed Trade and Technology in a webinar moderated by Marilyn Wilson Lund, NSBA’s Chair of Economic Development. Diana Doukas from Facebook and Karen Kerrigan from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council discussed the issues of cybersecurity and financial protection, the need for national data privacy regulation, and the importance of net neutrality. The session also touched in the importance of strengthening federal innovation programs and the benefits of free trade agreements.
The Small Business Congress culminated in a final event on Feb. 23, with the goal of coming together to collaborate on ideas in order to inform legislators and policy makers on the realities of the small business experience.