Editor, Ceres Courier,
If you own or work for a small or mid-sized business in California, you could be in line to pay for a tax set to come back into effect next year. A short-term break from the federal "sales tax" on health insurance will expire Jan. 1, but there are plans afoot that could extend that moratorium.
Congress needs to make it happen.
I speak for the automotive wholesale industry, a hotbed of local entrepreneurial activity spanning specialty manufacturers, jobbers, warehouse distributors and retailers. The hard-working owners and employees of these companies deserve affordable health insurance.
Unfortunately, they're not getting it. The vast majority, 95 percent of small business owners, say they've seen healthcare costs rise over the past five years. If the Health Insurance Tax comes back 2018, they'll have another $500 per employee tacked onto their premiums.
There are only so many choices when faced with constantly escalating costs-cut wages and benefits, reduce business investments, take the hit to the bottom line, or pass it along to the employees. All of these choices have economic consequences. In fact, the National Federation of Independent Businesses predicts up to 286,000 job losses from this tax alone.
The U.S. needs to get a handle on our healthcare problem. To do it, elected leaders like Rep. Jeff Denham must draw a line in the sand. Costs cannot increase further due to an unfair tax. Congress must put off the Health Insurance Tax again.
Rodney K. Pierini,
President & CEO,
California Automotive Wholesalers' Association,
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