Topic: Public Policy

California legislation that seeks to end a popular service called zero-rating threatens to raise consumer bills by $360/year.

Posted on August 2, 2018 by - News, Public Policy

That’s why CalAsian Chamber has expressed concerns over SB822 and SB460. Learn more here.

Legislation to ban “zero-rated” free streaming data impacts 3.6 million consumers

A recently released analysis, Benefits to California Consumers from Zero-Rated Data, authored by Dr. David W. Sosa, Ph.D., shows 3.6 million Californians are benefiting today from “zero-rated” free streaming.

 

…these types of zero-rating services disproportionately” impact minority and lower income consumers that “are more reliant on smartphones to access the internet.”

 

Proposed legislation in California, Senate Bill 822, would ban these types of plans. The findings from Dr. Sosa show that a ban on these types of zero-rating services would “disproportionately” impact minority and lower income consumers that “are more reliant on smartphones to access the internet.” Some of these consumers could have to pay $30 per month more.

According to the study, “24% of Asian American Californians with a broadband connection rely exclusively on smartphones and mobile broadband services to access the internet”.

 

Check out what our friends at CalInnovates put together to show the potential impact of SB 822:

 

 

Covered California for Small Business boosts coverage for small companies

Posted on January 26, 2016 by - Public Policy

This is an important year for small businesses looking to gain an edge on the competition by offering group health insurance to its employees through Covered California for Small Business (CCSB) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In 2016, businesses with up to 100 employees can apply for coverage for their workers. That is an increase from 2015, when only businesses with fewer than 50 workers could apply for coverage through the Covered California exchange.

According to Covered California, small businesses can get affordable, top quality, brand-named health insurance from six medical and seven dental carriers. There are four levels of plans with dozens of plan options.

Now employers can expand health plan choices for employees by letting them shop for plans in two adjoining tiers. With the new Dual Tier Choice option, employers select their contribution level and reference plan as before, but can now offer two adjoining tiers to employees instead of just one.

“It’s a pivotal year for small business,” said Kirk Whelan, director of Covered California’s Individual and Small Business Sales Division. “A lot of employers will be rethinking their health insurance strategy.”

Whelan said sole proprietors who don’t have at least one full-time employee are no longer eligible for tax credits and must enroll themselves in the individual market. Sole proprietors who enroll with Covered California may be eligible for a subsidy.

Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees may qualify for federal tax credits, but only if they enroll through Covered California for Small Business.

Offering health insurance to employees is not mandatory for small businesses with less than 50 employees, but employers may find that offering health insurance allows their business to attract and retain employees and help their workforce stay healthy and productive. Enrollment in Covered California for Small Business is year-round.

As of last December, there were 3,354 groups totaling 24,344 members enrolled in private health plans offered through Covered California.

Whelan expects that number to increase as small businesses consider the new options available under the Affordable Care Act. About 64 percent of more than 684,000 small businesses in California employ between 1-to-4 employees.

Through Covered California for Small Business, employers control how much they spend on health insurance, setting the amount it will contribute to their employees’ insurance. In turn, employees have multiple insurance plans to choose from.

There are changes at Covered California as well. The agency has renamed and refocused its Small Employer Health Options Program (SHOP) and it is now called Covered California for Small Business.

While the Covered California brand is well known, SHOP was not. Merging the two should help increase public awareness of the business program and show how Certified Insurance Agents can help individuals with the insurance option that works best for them.

It’s commonplace in business for a company to re-launch or rebrand itself or a product to better reflect the service it provides. Whelan said that is what Covered California decided to do with its small business services.

“Covered California for Small Business is a great solution for small businesses,” Whelan said. “Employers set the budget they can afford and their employees choose from a variety of health plans to find the one that’s right for them.”

Some 14,000 Certified Insurance Agents are on hand to help businesses with their health insurance options. About 85 percent of employers with fewer than 50 employees work with an agent to make the right decision for their business.

For more information about enrolling for coverage through Covered California for Small Business, call (844) 332-8384.

Politics of California small businesses split evenly

Posted on December 15, 2015 by - Public Policy

With presidential debates well underway, a recently released survey found that Republicans represent the largest portion of small-business owners when compared with Democrats and independents at a national level.

In California, however, the playing field is a little more even with an almost equal portion of small-business owners registered as Democrats and Republicans. Of those included in the study, 30.27 percent were registered Democrats, and 29.53 percent were registered as Republicans. Independents made up 25.18 percent of small-business owners in the Golden State, according to the survey.

Experian, a credit reporting and information services company surveyed 2.5 million U.S. small-business owners, analyzing their political affiliations along with where they started their business, what kind of business they have and their marital status.

Among the study’s findings, Experian found Republican small-business owners have the highest business and personal credit scores. They also have the highest average personal income and on average make $97,481 a year compared with independents ($97,386) and Democrats ($86,574).

A greater portion of Republicans also started their business in their home. Of those surveyed, 41 percent of Republicans started home-based businesses, compared with 29.1 percent of Democrats and 13.4 percent of independent small-business owners.

Small-business owners registered as independent voters were found to be the most educated group, with 73 percent surveyed having some college education and the highest college debt ($40,884 on average). Democrats, however, averaged the lowest student debt ($39,274), but also had a smaller percentage of college education (66 percent). Republicans had a 72.3 percent college attendance rate and on average had $39,944 in student debt.

The study also found that restaurant and beauty salon owners have a high percentage of business owners who are not registered to vote.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Posted on November 17, 2015 by - Public Policy

Leveling the playing field for American workers & American businesses

The Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, leading to more Made-in-America exports and higher-paying American jobs here at home.

TPP unlocks opportunities for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the U.S. economy. By addressing trade barriers that are particularly challenging for small businesses to navigate, TPP allows our small businesses to reach new markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

HOW TPP BENEFITS U.S. SMALL BUSINESSES

  • Eliminating foreign taxes in the form of tariffs across the TPP region. These barriers can price out of foreign markets many of the goods and agricultural products made by U.S. small businesses.
  • Making it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses to get their products to market by creating efficient and transparent customs procedures that help move goods quickly through borders.
  • Streamlining complex trade barriers like complicated standards and technical regulations, which make it hard for small businesses to access new markets.
  • Promoting digital trade and e-commerce by prohibiting tariffs on digital products (such as software, music, video, e-books) – the arena by which many small businesses access the global marketplace and helping keep the Internet free by protecting against requirements that force businesses to locate infrastructure in the markets in which they seek to operate, requirements that can be especially costly for small businesses with fewer resources.
  • Strengthening protections of intellectual property rights. Small businesses are often highly vulnerable to infringement and theft of their intellectual property (IP), especially in markets where IP protections are not as strong as those in the U.S.
  • Providing greater certainty and new access markets for U.S. small business service suppliers like architects, engineers, and web designers.

READ MORE ABOUT BENEFITS FOR U.S. SMALL BUSINESSES