Posted: Jun 20, 2012 12:37 PM by Press Release
Lafayette, LA (June 20, 2012)-Local small business owners gathered today at the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce for a roundtable event to discuss the threat and implications of the looming Health Insurance Tax (HIT). The HIT will take effect in 2014 and directly impact hundreds of thousands of Louisiana small businesses, severely reducing their ability to expand, create new jobs, and contribute to the state's economy.
"It is estimated the HIT will cost small business owners more than $87 billion dollars in the first decade alone and reduce the annual take-home wages of the average small business employee by $500 every year," said Chamber President Rob Guidry. "That's money that could otherwise be spent here at home generating our local economy. At a time of such economic uncertainty, the implementation of this egregious new tax on our nation's job creators defies common sense."
During the event, Lafayette small business owners and advocates discussed the direct impact the HIT will have on the small business community as well as the significance of repealing the costly tax.
"Small businesses are the driver's of our nation's economy, and they account for more than 55 percent of all private sector jobs in Louisiana," said Renee Amar, Louisiana Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). "With a relatively high unemployment rate of 7 percent, Louisiana cannot afford a tax that will discourage growth and job creation in a segment so critical to its success-the small business community."
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) has introduced legislation (H.R. 1370), aimed at repealing the HIT before it is implemented in 2014.
"With small businesses hurting from a stalled economy and rising health insurance premiums, it is clear this is not the time to impose new costs on our nation's job creators," said Rep. Boustany. "It is estimated this tax will increase the cost of small business health insurance premiums to the tune of $500 per employee. This will severely limit the ability of small businesses across the country to invest in their future or create job opportunities that our citizens so desperately need. That's the wrong approach, and that's why I'm working to stop it."
The HIT, which is hidden within the many pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was originally intended to target large insurance companies. The reality however, is that this heavy burden will mostly fall upon small business owners and their employees and the self-employed to the tune of $87 billion within the first ten years, and $208 billion in the second ten.
Today's event was hosted by the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and members of the Stop The HIT Coalition, which represents small business owners, their employees and the self-employed who seek to educate policymakers about the impact of the pending tax.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the HIT will have devastating effects in Louisiana.
· The HIT will fall on the shoulders of many of Louisiana's 350,000 small businesses since it is levied on insurance companies in the fully insured marketplace where 87 percent of small businesses purchase their insurance.
· It is estimated the HIT will reduce the take-home pay of Louisiana small business employees with a family plan by $500 a year or $5,000 in the first decade, alone.
· Nationally, it is estimated the HIT will impact the bottom lines of 2 million small businesses, 12 million employees and self-employed individuals and 26 million employees who are covered by their employer.
· Increased costs, like the HIT, will severely limit the ability of Louisiana's small businesses to grow, create jobs and lower the state's 7 percent unemployment rate.
In May, small business groups from across the country announced the formation of the "Stop The HIT" Coalition. Since then, legislation to repeal the HIT has been introduced in both the Senate and House. Senators John Barrasso, Orrin Hatch, Olympia Snowe, Lamar Alexander and Kelly Ayotte introduced S. 1880, "The Jobs and Premium Protection Act and companion legislation in the House, H.R. 1370 currently has over 100 cosponsors. The Coalition has grown to more than 35 national organizations, representing millions of employees from across the country. The Stop The HIT Coalition has aggressively generated grassroots support for repeal of the HIT by educating policymakers and activating its members who will be directly impacted by the pending tax.
More information about the Stop The HIT Coalition can be found at www.StopTheHIT.com.