Seventh Circuit Rejects Disclosure-Only Settlement in Merger Tax Suit, Embracing Delaware Chancery Court’s “Trulia” Decision
A Workshop on How Diversity Can Increase Your Bottom Line
WCOE Networking with National, Resource Center and California Chapter Boards, Members and Corporate Alliance Partners
All WCOE members and potential members invited.
WCOE Mid-year Member and Board Meeting
All member breakfast and open Board meeting to discuss WCOE updates, goals, and plans for 2016–2017
Abilities shine in small businesses
By Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
The Cincinnati Enquirer
August 16, 2016
Small businesses are more than just the backbone of the American economy. They are also the heart and soul of our communities in Ohio and across the nation.
As chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I have seen first-hand how small businesses are leading the way in expanding employment opportunities for Americans with intellectual or developmental disabilities and disorders.
For adults with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities or disorders, finding sustaining employment can be a real challenge. These individuals can be overlooked when job opportunities arise, and too often they are shut out of the workplace altogether.
Yet every day we see examples of how small businesses, with their ability to adapt and accommodate, are able to provide employment opportunities to those who might not otherwise get a chance.
At a recent hearing, Terri Hogan, the owner of Contemporary Cabinetry East in Cincinnati, told our committee her personal story about hiring Mike Ames, a young man with Down syndrome and how it was, in her words, “the best business decision she ever made.”
“We need to educate others so they begin to take the 'dis' out of disabilities and replace it with ‘abilities,’" testified Hogan, noting that 62 percent of individuals with disabilities remain in the same job for three or more years, much lower than the turnover rate for individuals without disabilities.
“We also need to make small businesses aware of the huge untapped resource that is people with diverse abilities,” Hogan said. “Hiring people who are physically, genetically or cognitively diverse is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”
She was joined by Ames when she came to Washington. It was a great pleasure to meet and talk at length with both of them in our nation’s capital about this important issue and to have the benefit of their experience.
“Mike has raised morale, brought community awareness, caused others to have broader perspectives and has developed many friends at CCE,” Hogan said.
She went on to say that Ames helped to develop a healthier "bottom line" at her business; everyone works harder because of the example he sets.
I have heard from small business owners like Hogan across Ohio and the country about how hiring employees with special needs has not only boosted morale at their businesses but also productivity.
Sadly, only 30 percent of Americans with disabilities are employed.
This fall, we will mark National Disability Employment Assistance Month, an opportunity to refocus our efforts and reaffirm our commitment to help all Americans find the dignity and purpose that comes with having a job.
This commitment is why I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation, the ABLE to Work Act, a followup to the ABLE Act that will help adults with special needs save the money they earn from work without jeopardizing their Medicaid and Social Security benefits. I will continue to urge my colleagues to pass this important measure and get it to the president’s desk as soon as possible.
Thousands of young adults who graduated in the Class of 2016 will be joining the workforce this fall. This new chapter in life can present challenges for everyone, but for those with intellectual or developmental disorders or disabilities, it is especially daunting. These men and women might face a future where the prospect of finding employment is unknown, and options for the future are limited.
Thankfully, America’s 28 million small businesses are working to expand opportunities to help individuals with disabilities enter the workforce, and grow their quality of life.
"From the farmers who help put food on our tables to the energy suppliers who help power our homes and fuel our cars, businesses and households in South Dakota and across the nation depend on efficient and reliable freight rail. About 40 percent of our nation’s freight ton-miles moves by rail, including about 15 million tons that originate in South Dakota. In fact, about three times as many rail carloads originate in the state compared to the number that end up here, meaning South Dakotans disproportionately depend on rail to get our products to market, create jobs, and grow incomes.
"That’s why it’s so important that, when problems arise in our nation’s rail system, we have efficient and effective oversight.
"Despite concerns from businesses about the burdensome processes at the Surface Transportation Board, or STB, the Federal government agency responsible for overseeing the efficiency of the freight rail network, Congress had not reformed or reauthorized the agency since its creation in 1996.
"Needless to say, Congress did not get it right on the first try. The STB did not have the authority to proactively investigate issues of regional or national significance, hindering its ability to examine emerging issues. In addition, rate disputes before the Board have taken more than $5 million and more than three years to litigate, and changes to rate reviews had not yielded sufficient results. And because the STB had three members, and two members could form a quorum, members could not talk to one another about important regulatory and managerial issues without encountering procedural hurdles.
"This Committee took action to address these issues. Last year, following intensive oversight activity, I introduced the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 to make the STB a more efficient and effective agency. After working on a bipartisan basis with cosponsor Ranking Member Bill Nelson, and working with my colleagues in the House of Representatives, I was pleased to see it signed into law last December.
"This hearing marks about eight months since the enactment of my legislation, and it is an opportunity to examine completed and on-going implementation work at the STB and hear about ways to maximize the law’s benefits for the businesses that depend on rail. These benefits can be thought of in three categories.
"First, the law improves the way rate cases are handled. It expedites rate review timelines, and it expands voluntary arbitration to better serve as an alternative to lawsuits. The Board has already set those new timelines, and it has issued a proposal to implement the new arbitration procedures, which I expect to be finalized well ahead of the end-of-the-year deadline. The law also requires the STB to look at simpler ways to do rate reviews, and I understand this important study is on-going. I encourage the Board to expansively survey possible alternatives to identify rate review options that make economic sense, particularly for small businesses.
"Second, the law increases proactive problem-solving and accountability. It provides the STB with the authority to launch investigations based on its own initiative, and the Board has published a proposed rule to implement this authority. It also requires the STB to submit quarterly reports on complaints and unfinished regulatory proceedings, and the Board has sent two versions of these quarterly reports that have greatly increased transparency and enhanced Congressional and public oversight of its work.
"Third, the law creates a more functional and collaborative Board. It expands the Board from three to five members. I am hopeful that the next President will quickly nominate, and the Senate quickly confirm, these additional members. The bill also allows Board members to talk to one another about important policy issues. The Board has already used this new authority to hold group discussions, and I am eager to see further increased collaboration – on regulatory proceedings and agency management – between the Board members. The law also grants the Board administrative independence and authorizes the agency for the first time since its creation.
"While many of the most important provisions of the law are still in-progress, thus far the Board has met or is on track to meet each deadline in the legislation, a feat most other Federal agencies regularly fail to do, and I greatly appreciate their efforts. This activity comes as the Board makes progress on several other important regulatory proceedings, including a rule to make permanent certain rail performance metrics – with fertilizer included. I hope the Board will continue the good progress since enactment of the legislation, and I expect this Committee to continue its active oversight to maximize the benefits of the law.
"This legislation is another example of the Senate getting back to work for the American people. That work includes the five-year, $305 billion highway bill, FAA reauthorization and aviation security bill, and the pipeline safety bill as significant Committee achievements within the past year to improve our nation’s transportation and infrastructure.
"With that said, I am eager to hear the perspectives of our first distinguished panel. I’d like to welcome Mr. Skudos, Vice President for Distribution and Business Development at POET, a South Dakota company and one of the nation’s leading biorefineries; Mr. Troy Knect, Vice President of the South Dakota Corn Growers, who runs an outstanding diversified farming operating near Houghton, South Dakota; Mr. Tom Heller, CEO of Missouri River Energy Services, a critical energy supplier with 12 municipal members in South Dakota; and Dan Mack, Vice President of Transportation and Terminal Operations, CHS, Inc., one of the nation’s largest rail shippers with over 900 employees in the state.
"South Dakota is consistently one of the top five states for the export by rail of farm products and ethanol to other states, and coal is the number one commodity imported into the state by rail, so we have a great panel that is representative of shippers in the state who depend on strong rail service.
"After testimony and questions of this panel, I will convene a second panel with all of the STB board members. I am pleased to welcome Chairman Dan Elliott, Vice Chairman Deb Miller, and Board Member Ann Begeman, all of whom have been working hard to implement the law day in and day out. Ann was born and raised on a farm near Humboldt, South Dakota, which means she not only understands agriculture and the importance of reliable rail service, but also can help the board members find a good place to eat later today.
"Thank you all for being here today and I look forward to your testimony."
On July 13, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a proposed rule that would update and simplify the agency’s disclosure requirements. The SEC’s objective is to eliminate redundant, overlapping, outdated, or superseded provisions in light of changes to SEC disclosure requirements, US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and technology. In addition, the SEC is seeking comment on certain disclosure requirements that overlap with US GAAP to determine whether to retain, modify, eliminate, or refer the requirem
On August 4, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a proposed rule relating to the valuation of interests in corporations and partnerships for estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes and the treatment of lapsing rights and restrictions on liquidation in determining the value of transferred interests under Internal Revenue Code section 2704. The rule would affect how taxpayers estimate the fair market value of assets for estate and gift tax purposes.