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Messer Statement: Hearing on “The Effects of the President’s Health Care Law on Indiana’s Classrooms and Workplaces”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:00am
Congress needs to hear directly from those who have been forced to make difficult decisions as a result of the law’s employer mandate, which requires employers to provide expensive government-approved health insurance or face steep fines if they don’t.    

Put simply, the Federal government should not be taxing schools and small businesses to pay for the President’s health care law. It just isn’t right. And, if we really care about our economy and our nation’s future we will do something about it. 

Dave Adams, the Superintendent of Shelbyville Central Schools, first brought this issue to my attention early last year when he said the employer mandate will cost his schools $794,000 each year. Bob Yoder, Assistant Superintendent of Southern Hancock School Corporation, estimated its price tag at $450,000 per year. Their stories are not unique, unfortunately.  

That’s why I have introduced legislation to exempt schools from this onerous provision. We can’t fund the President’s health care law at the expense of education. 

Small businesses are being harmed, too. Businesses statewide have been forced to reduce worker hours and scale-back their workforce to balance new budget constraints imposed by the law. That’s why I have introduced legislation that will exempt most small business from this tax, too.  

Nate LaMar, the International Regional Manager of Draper, Incorporated in Spiceland, rightly notes that the law’s fees and taxes don’t stop with the employer mandate. There are very strong feelings about the President’s health care law on both sides of the aisle.  I respect the views of those who believe deeply that it is the best way to address the challenges in our health care system.  

I would hope that most could agree, however, that our nation’s school children and hourly workers should be forced to pay the price of that law.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes an aquaculture plan for the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 12:27pm

On August 28, 2014 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a proposed rule for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

GSA OASIS and OASIS Small Business Contracts are Ready for Business

GSA news releases - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 1:00am
Court of Federal Claims and GAO Deny All OASIS Protests, GSA Issues Notice to Proceed

Congress Coming to Greenfield

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 12:00am

The open enrollment period for insurance plans mandated by the Affordable Care Act is just months away. For most Hoosiers, that means a bigger bite out of their monthly budgets next year. Health insurance premiums in Indiana will go up an average of 13% in 2015 according to a study conducted by the Health Research Institute. That means individual Hoosiers can expect to pay about $497 per month for insurance without government subsidies. That’s not affordable, despite the law’s title.

Employers across the state are facing the same harsh reality. Business owners and cash-strapped school corporations are grappling with how to deal with a provision of the law that requires them to provide costly health insurance that many of their employees neither want nor need. These schools and businesses are facing big fines if they don’t. That’s bad for business and terrible for students.

Shelbyville Central Schools estimates the Affordable Care Act will cost $794,000 annually. Southern Hancock School Corporation estimates the cost at $450,000. To help deal with the increased strain on already cash-strapped budgets, bus drivers, teachers’ aides, and other support staff have already had their hours reduced.

The largest school district in Indiana, Fort Wayne Community Schools, has calculated that it would either face $10 million of added compliance costs or be forced to pay $8 million in fines to the IRS to comply with the mandate. The district has been forced to cut the hours of more than 600 part-time cafeteria workers and teachers’ aides as a result.

Small business owners have to make the same tough choices. The law’s redefinition of what is means to work full-time—30 hours—makes more employers with fewer employees subject to the same fines as schools unless they provide costly insurance. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, these tough choices will reduce labor force compensation and push as many as 2.3 million people out of the workforce over the next seven years. This “new normal” for our nation’s workforce is not OK.

The House of Representatives has acted to stop this damage by voting to repeal, delay, and defund this law.  But the Senate has failed to follow suit.  They need to hear your voices.  That’s why the Committee on Education and the Workforce, of which I am a member, has decided to hold a field hearing in Greenfield entitled “The Effects of the President’s Health Care Law on Indiana’s Classrooms and Workplaces.”  It’s a chance for Hoosier school and business leaders to express their concerns to Congress and draw attention to the harm the President’s health care law is having on students and workers.  

The hearing, held by the Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, will bring together members of Congress from around the state and nation to hear first-hand how this law is hurting Hoosiers.  The hearing is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Greenfield City Hall located at 10 S. State Street in Greenfield.  

I look forward to bringing Congress to Greenfield and invite you to join us on September 4th.

Monday Morning Mojo: Do Less Better…Don’t Do More Worse

InteroMojo - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 7:30am

From the moment I stepped into my position as President and CEO of Intero four months ago, this has been my mantra…this has been my challenge to everyone at Intero. Let’s all stop doing so much stuff and stop chasing the shiny penny…stop jumping from one “great idea” to the next. Let’s do less stuff better and not more stuff worse. Let’s focus on what we are good at and then let’s do it better than anyone. In this day and age there is so much information being thrown at us…so many different ideas. Especially in Silicon Valley. And if we don’t watch out, we can get whipped around chasing the latest and greatest thing. When you do that you are mediocre, at best, at everything and not great at anything.

So here is the question…is what you are doing today building on what you did yesterday or are you starting from scratch on the latest and greatest idea…AGAIN?

To have a quantum leap at almost anything in life and really have a significant impact, it is not going to be the result of trying to do everything. It is going to be the compounded result of doing only the most important activities over and over again…we need to do fewer activities more frequently. We really need to start shooting at life with a rifle and not a shotgun. If we do those few, most important activities consistently over and over again, at some point, we will reach the tipping point…we will explode into a quantum leap. The difficult part is being disciplined enough to do those important activities and not jump from one great idea to the next…we need to do the important few activities over and over again until we have a Quantum Leap…a Breakthrough. It’s all about K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Why is it so hard? Because we have to do it over and over and over again for long periods of time with what appears to be little or no results. When that happens, doubt enters our mind…we get distracted and we start to look for the next great idea. But if we have the discipline to stick with it, all of a sudden out of nowhere, one day we will have a radical breakthrough. The hard part is not to quit when we feel like we are running into a brick wall with no results…not quitting when we are having a breakdown. Because when the wall comes down, it won’t come down one brick at a time, but the accumulation effect of hitting it over and over again will bring it tumbling down all at once. It will happen when we are exhausted and beyond wanting to quit. We will hit it again and BANG!!!!

Remember…there are always going to be those people out their pitching us on the latest and greatest thing that is going to change our life, our business, our health…the 10 minute ab machine…the lose 30 pounds in a month vitamin…triple your money in a year schemes…get your body ripped in 21 days… The list goes on and on. Give me a break. The crazy thing is, obviously, a ton people are getting sucked in and buying this stuff. If they weren’t these billion dollar companies spending all this money on commercials and infomercials would cease to exist. Heck…I probably get a dozen calls a week from someone telling me how they have developed some product or system that is going to save us money, make us more money, revolutionize our company, etc. Just be very careful and don’t get sucked in. I am not saying be blind to innovation and new ideas, but don’t get sucked into everything thrown at us.

Make the commitment to do less better and don’t get tricked into doing more worse. Do that and I promise you will rock it!!!!!

 

Categories: Latest News

Weekend Wellness: Stressed or Blessed

InteroMojo - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 9:00am

Remember way back when you had too much time on your hands? You could hardly wait to get new clients, or more friends, or a bigger travel schedule. You were excited for your kids to get into sports and you could hardly wait to get train for your first marathon.

Now, here you are, 10 years later or maybe only 1 month later and all of a sudden 24 hours isn’t enough time in the day. You can’t seem to find time to shop for healthy foods, run 15 miles, let alone a half a mile. You are over booked. You are running from client to client, airport to airport and wonder if you can make it to any of your kid’s games. You don’t even have time to pay your bills!

You are S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D! I see this all the time. In fact, I experience levels of stress sometimes myself. We get so caught up in how frazzled we are, we forget we asked for it! Not the stress, but the abundance. In fact, many times what we asked for has helped us create a fuller life. Maybe it’s really ok, maybe we simply need to manage our time a little better. Maybe we are managing our time…it’s our thoughts we need to manage a little better. hmmmmm

Consider how your day would change if when you felt overwhelmed and overbooked, you paused, smiled and realized that you are B-L-E-S-S-E-D? You have athletic kids who love their sports and live in an area with lots of sport options. You have a career which allows you to travel to interesting new places. You have a wide net of interesting clients who enrich your life. You have a body which allows you to walk, hike or run…whether it is 1 mile…or 15.

When we get overwhelmed, it is so easy to get caught up into how the weight of the world is on our shoulders to lighten up. However, if in those crazy moments we can hug the opportunities given to us and high five the blessed life the stress give us, everything shifts. We take our stress with a smile and we are able to embrace the avenues of what we attract.

Consider….are you stressed…or blessed?

Categories: Latest News

Cool Apps: Customized Newsletters with FlashIssue

InteroMojo - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 9:00am

We know you are all loving our weekly Intero Weekender that is sent out by our Marketing Department every Thursday. The email is full of fun activities to get you and your friends out of the house every weekend. And while what we send out is a great overview of what’s going on in the Bay Area, why not create your own easy to share weekender specific to your town or area? Just think of the benefits to your circle.

Our team is using a site called Flashissue.com to set up and send out these emails which is super easy to use. It provides you with a great base to set up and send out custom content from any site on the web. Use it to feature homes, your community, local events or general real estate news; anything you want on the web all for free.

Set up is super easy. Just create an account and start the design of your first email. Add photos and text you already have on hand using the drag and drop feature to customize a header.

Then, add your content by entering the web address of your blog, professional website, a local event’s page, or even the address to your newest property listing. Any websites you add will be saved for future use. Drag and drop the pages you want to highlight into the flashissue editor. Photos will automatically come over from the site you’re linking to as well as a brief summary. Want to change an image or text? Just click on the field and click the edit button.

Add a nice introduction at the top and you’re done! Send your email to individuals or a preset mailing list from one of the many compatible email carriers including gmail and mailchimp. You can even reuse the same set up for future emails.

Once you have the basics set up, I’m sure you’ll be sending out newsletters left and right before you know it with Flashissue.

Categories: Latest News

Thursday’s Thoughts on Leadership: Creating a Cadence of Accountability

InteroMojo - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 9:00am

Good leaders strive to improve themselves every day. Great leaders strive to improve themselves and those around them, applying this philosophy to every idea they formulate and every decision they make. Great real estate leaders understand the importance of building a culture of managers and agents who seek to be more productive, more efficient and, in turn, more successful professionals. And great leaders understand that one of the most motivating factors to success is oftentimes accountability. Why? Because when performance is measured, performance improves. Without accountability, many of our good ideas and intentions remain just ideas and intentions. With accountability, we’re able to put them into action.

However, accountability does not mean sending an email or making a phone call. Instead, accountability is any number of activities that must be woven into the regular rhythm of the business day, week and year. These initiatives form a regular cadence of accountability that your employees will adapt to and, ultimately, expect.

In my own business practices, I used daily progress reports, monthly commitments and weekly calls—happening twice per week on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons—for this purpose, which allowed managers the opportunity to identify their goals and keep on track to achieve them. Additionally, I paired employees with an accountability partner, someone to whom they must report the status of any stated objectives, as well as any recent accomplishments. Lastly, I instituted contests that grouped employees into teams. Accountability reigns through teams, as each member is responsible for the group’s performance.

In his recent bestseller, Unbeatable Mind, retired SEAL Commander and author Mark Divine has this to say about the importance of teams: “Elevate the team above the individual, and hold the team accountable to that standard. Watch your team performance and attitude improve dramatically, which will positively impact performance in all other areas.”

Categories: Latest News

GSA Seeks Ideas for First-Of-Its-Kind Redevelopment of Volpe Center

GSA news releases - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 1:00am
GSA and DOT seek creative ideas from developers to transform federal land into state-of-the-art facility.

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