Small business owners ask lawmakers for COVID-19 legislation

INDIANAPOLIS – As part of NFIB, or the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Day, NFIB members here in Indiana engaged with lawmakers about issues that will help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barbara Quandt, NFIB State Director in Indiana

“Indiana’s 2021 Small Business Day was encouraging to many of our small business owners across the state. The past year has been devastating for many of our Hoosier mom and pop shops,” said Barbara Quandt, NFIB State Director in Indiana. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small business owners especially hard. Many are looking to state legislators for help as they struggle to recover. Personal Property Tax Reform and making more funds available to small business owners who have been the most impacted by the pandemic are two very positive steps that will go a long way to helping our Indiana entrepreneurs recover and get them back on track to what they do best: creating jobs and keeping Indiana’s economy running.”

At the top of the list: passing SB 336, or Business Personal Property Tax Reform. The reason this issue is so important to small business owners is that it would allow a small business exemption to be based on the personal property’s current assessed value rather than its original purchase price. 

This legislation would save small businesses here in Indiana $28 million in taxes and the expense and burden of paying a tax professional to prepare their return.

During the small business day, Sen. President Rodric Bray told Indiana small business owners that he expected the legislation to become law this year. The bill passed the Senate last month.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray

“It’s always a pleasure to meet with our small business community,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray. “There’s no doubt they have suffered due to the consequences of COVID-19, and my caucus members and I are dedicated to providing support for them this session. To that end, we were pleased to pass Senate Enrolled Act 1, which has already been signed into law, to ensure liability protections against frivolous lawsuits seeking to hold businesses responsible for the spread of COVID-19. We were also pleased to pass changes to the Business Personal Property Tax in Senate Bill 366, which bases the exemption on the current value of the property, rather than purchase price. As the session moves forward, we will continue to work with our colleagues in the House to make sure we are doing all we can to support small businesses across the Hoosier state.”

Small business owners were also reassured to hear from House Speaker Todd Huston, who expressed his support for HB 1004, which would make available another $30 million to small business owners who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Speaker Todd Huston

“Small-business owners across the state, especially those in the hospitality industry, continue to struggle to keep their operations going due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” said House Speaker Todd Huston. “Our legislation would extend and strengthen Indiana’s existing small business grant program to help employers and our economy bounce back.”

Also joining small business owners, Rep. Terri Austin, who spoke about the importance of expanding broadband to rural areas of Indiana. Austin supports the NFIB backed bill SB 377, which established the Indiana broadband expansion fund for deposit and distribution of federal broadband funding.

Small Business Day is an opportunity for our small business owners to talk to their lawmakers and educate them about the issues that really matter and that they are passionate about. Indiana small business owners thanked Rep. Huston and Sen. Bray for passing important liability reform to protect them from frivolous COVID-19 related lawsuits. They also encouraged the lawmakers to pass SB 377, which would expand broadband to underserved areas of Indiana, and HB 1152, which would tighten up protections against unemployment fraud.