STRATEGIC PLAN ITEMS
Small Business Council: engage small business owners to lead BRAC on issues related to advocacy, education, and networking
Small businesses make up the vast number of businesses in the nation as well as in the region, and they are responsible for a large segment of the area’s economic growth. Through a vibrant small business council focused on advocacy, education, and networking, BRAC works to continually ensure that the unique role and needs of the small business community are addressed. Advocacy efforts focus on ensuring that laws and regulations do not have a negative impact on the growth of small businesses, while education opportunities seek to bring best practices in business management topics to small business owners to enhance competitiveness. Finally, high-quality small business events strengthen the small business community through relationship development and opportunities for shared problem solving.
Small business education: create new professional development opportunities that offer relevant, current, and valuable information for business owners to enhance their businesses’ competitiveness
Many small businesses lack the resources or time to identify and access distinctive coaching or expertise to assist them in making meaningful strategic decisions. BRAC will work to provide business owners a greater amount of access to this information through a number of different channels including topic specific seminars, regular meetings, and publications.
Small business advocacy: advocate on state, regional, and local policy related to the business climate for small businesses and small business owners
Every year, the state legislature, local councils, and parish police juries consider policy changes that may be helpful or harmful to small business owners. BRAC’s small business council will consider the ramifications of issues and seek opportunities to advocate for and lead on pro-small business-related policy matters.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): support the SBDC programs in the Baton Rouge area as they become better aligned
Baton Rouge has two SBDC offices, one at SU and one that was at LSU until 2012. The state SBDC office for Louisiana is seeking to better align the two SBDCs. BRAC supports that the SBDCs offer important services to small businesses for entrepreneurial education and business plan advice.
Pro-business tax code: support pro-business state tax policy and reforms, especially focused on the interests of small to mid-sized employers
Louisiana has made important improvements to its tax code over the last fifteen years, making it a pro-business state for taxation. This tax code is important to protect, and to continue to improve.
Access to credit: support proposals to improve small businesses’ access to credit
Businesses and entrepreneurs continue to find it more difficult to secure credit. Moreover, banks have had challenges communicating new loan opportunities to business owners in a highly competitive banking market. BRAC will support efforts to publicize information on what banks are more likely to lend to small businesses and work with banks and business owners to ensure full transparency in the lending market.
Health insurance costs: oppose unnecessary insurance mandates that drive up health care costs and support adoption of a more robust health care review law
Rapidly rising health care costs make it increasingly difficult for businesses to introduce or maintain coverage for their employees. Limiting the scope of mandated health care benefits and supporting legislation that will call for a more robust health care mandate review law will help to control health care costs for businesses, making employer-based health plans more affordable and supporting both workers and small businesses in the Baton Rouge area.
Corporate franchise tax exemption: support exempting the first $300,000 of taxable base from state corporate franchise tax
The majority of businesses subject to the corporate franchise tax pay very small amounts that generate very little revenue for the state. Exempting the first $300,000 of taxable base from the state corporate franchise tax would reduce a financial and regulatory burden for small businesses with minimal impact to state revenues. BRAC led efforts to eliminate the minimum annual $10 filing fee previously, eliminating an “annoyance” tax on small businesses.
Business start-ups: pursue improvements that simplify and accelerate the processes for acquiring necessary permits and licenses for business start-ups
Acquiring all of the necessary licenses and permits to start a business is a frequent challenge for many business owners. Efforts to simplify and accelerate approval processes at state and local government levels are needed so that entrepreneurs can focus more energy on successfully opening and running their businesses. Streamlined local permitting and reporting, facilitated by online resources, can simplify the business climate for the region’s small businesses.
Regulatory burdens: support measures, including increased availability of online forms, to facilitate compliance with necessary regulations on business activity
Depending on the nature of their operations, small businesses in the Baton Rouge area must comply with the regulations of some or many local, state, and federal agencies. Reducing the associated costs of compliance would contribute to the success of many small businesses, even as regulations continue to protect consumer and public welfare.
Local tax on custom software: advocate for measures to exempt custom software from sales and use taxes
State law excludes custom computer software from the definition of tangible personal property for state sales and use taxes and enables similar exclusions from local sales and use taxes at the discretion of parishes and municipalities. While other areas consider custom software to be a professional service, EBR has not passed an ordinance exempting custom software from taxes designed for traditional retail products. Exempting custom software from sales and use taxes would level the playing field for local software development firms and enhance the growth of this sector in the Capital Region.
Download » BRAC's 2013 Strategic Plan