Tag Archives: Regulation

New IRS Regulation Threatens Small Businesses With Fines For Helping Workers With Health Costs

A new regulation that went into effect on July 1 threatens small businesses with fines from the Internal Revenue Service of up to $36,500 a year per employee, if the businesses help their employees with health costs by reimbursing them for the cost of their healthcare premiums or by paying for their health costs directly.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported that the new regulation, which is not part of the Affordable Care Act, states that employers who compensate their employees for health costs, rather than offering a group health plan, “can be fined $100 per day, per employee,” which adds up to “$36,500 per employee up to $500,000 in total.”

Gracie-Marie Turner, the founder of the Galen Institute and a contributor to Forbes, noted that this new regulation is more than “18 times greater than the $2,000 employer-mandate penalty under Obamacare for not providing qualifying health insurance for employees,” and while employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the employer-mandate penalty under Obamacare, they are not exempt from this penalty from the IRS.

“The rule appears nowhere in the Affordable Care Act but was developed by the Obama administration’s regulation writers at the IRS,” Turner wrote. “The rule punishes small businesses for providing the only health insurance support many can afford – a contribution to help employees pay premiums for their individual or family health insurance policies or to help finance direct payment for medical services.”

Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s policy director, called the new regulations the “biggest penalty no one is talking about.”

“The penalty for compensating employees for healthcare-related expenses is enough to destroy most small businesses,” Kuhlman said. “Reimbursing employees for the cost of insurance or medical services is a way for small businesses to help their workers without the administrative headaches of setting up a costly group plan.”

In response to the regulation, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) introduced H.R. 2911 in the House and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced S.1697 in the Senate. Both bills are labeled as “Small Business Healthcare Relief Acts” and are awaiting congressional action.

Uber Halts Operation In Kansas, Citing Newly-Passed “Unbalanced, Backward Regulations”

Uber operations were quickly ceased in Kansas on Tuesday following the passage of legislation that placed new regulations on the company as well as other ride-sharing services in the state.

SB 117 contains several new rules that must be followed by ride-sharing services, including requirements for disclosure of fare calculations and fare estimates, and the disclosure of license plate numbers and photos of drivers.

The bill also mandates an increased level of car insurance maintained by drivers. While a driver is “on the clock” but not providing a ride, SB 117 requires “Primary automobile insurance of at least $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person and $100,000 per incident, and $25,000 for property damage; and Primary automobile liability insurance that meets the minimum coverage requirements where required by statutes relating to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and motor vehicle liability insurance coverage.”

While a driver is “engaged in a prearranged ride,” SB 117 requires “Primary automobile insurance that provides at least $1,000,000 for death, bodily injury, and property damage; and Primary automobile liability insurance that meets the minimum coverage requirements where required by statutes relating to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and motor vehicle liability insurance coverage.”

The bill also requires drivers to submit to background checks from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

According to the Kansas City Star, Uber claims that it performs its own background checks on its drivers and that the insurance requirements are “unnecessary.”

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the bill, describing the legislation as “premature.”

“To overregulate or improperly regulate an emerging industry before the marketplace actors make proper arrangements is to invite more problems, not less,” Brownback wrote in his veto.

The Kansas Senate voted 34-5 to override the veto, followed by a 96-25 vote from the House to override the veto.

In a blog post, Uber condemned the passage of the bill, claiming that “Kansas lawmakers chose not to listen to their constituents, and special interests succeeded in securing an override of the Governor’s veto of SB 117 – a bill that makes it impossible for Uber to operate in the state.”

The post accused Kansas legislators of singling out Kansas “as the first and only state in the nation that forced Uber out with unbalanced, backward regulations.”

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle, who called Uber’s reaction “pure political theater,” told the Kansas City Star in an email that “The Legislature has not taken any action preventing them from operating.”

“They have a consistent pattern of irrational behavior, and this is just the latest example,” Wagle said.

According to Wichita news station KAKE, law enforcement agencies worry that drunk driving in Kansas may increase due to Uber’s absence. “Any service that is assisting getting people that have maybe have had too much to drink home is a good thing, and the loss of that may at some point increase that type of DUI, or DUI-related crashes,” said Lt. David Hundley of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

This city is demanding $125 just to take pictures in public parks

NASHVILLE, September 27, 2014 –  Security at Nashville Metro parks has been cracking down on a little known regulation that requires all photographers, both professional and amateur, to acquire a $125 permit before taking photos or filming in a public park. Even “selfies”. Darwin Alberto, a local amateur photographer, told WTTV Fox 17 that he was approached by a security guard in Centennial Park this week while taking photographs and asked to register for a permit or cease and desist his photography in the park.

Watch the full report here.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Feds Declare War on Raw Milk Cheese: Regulation Spoils Acclaimed Wisconsin Cheese


No matter which way you slice it, the federal government is turning Wisconsin cheesemakers’ moods extra stinky.

A soft raw milk cheese, Rush Creek Reserve, made by Uplands Cheese Company near Dodgeville, Wis. is the latest cheese to be ruined by regulation.

Newly imposed regulations may require aging periods for raw milk cheese to exceed the standard 60 days, which is already twice as long as European cheesemakers do. By the time Rush Creek Reserve completed the potential two month-plus aging period, the cheese would become overripe.

So, Uplands Cheese Co. has decided to no longer produce the much sought-after cheese.

According to the Chicago Reader, “It’s not because of anything that has happened at Uplands—[cheesemaker Andy] Hatch describes his most recent FDA inspection earlier in the summer as “really positive”—or, indeed, because of any particular incident anywhere that he knows of. But a cheese specifically designed for aging for 60 days—the rule since 1949—risks suddenly being afoul of newly imposed regulations which may mandate longer aging periods or other impossibly strict conditions for cheese making.”

Just like the FDA’s rule change on curing cheese on wood planks earlier this year, the potential for regulation change doesn’t make producing a cheese that could be illegal once it’s ready to be sold economically feasible. .

Wisconsin cheese blogger Jeanne Carpenter explains it this way: “The death of Rush Creek Reserve should act as the canary in the coal mine for all American raw milk artisan cheeses, because just as our great American artisan cheese movement is in serious full swing, the FDA has basically declared a war on raw milk cheese.”

Thankfully these changes don’t affect Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Upland Cheese’s most decorated and celebrated artisan cheese. But who knows what new rules the feds will come up with next.

More and more companies like Burger King are fleeing the U.S. and finding new homes in Canada where corporate tax rates are more favorable.

As the U.S. becomes increasingly business unfriendly with high taxes and regulations will cheese makers find a new home in another country? I certainly hope not.

UPDATE – End Big Beer Cronyism: Regulation Hinders S.C. Craft Brewing Industry

Update: Today S.C. lawmakers passed a bill lifting the cap of brewpub production limits. Let’s see if Governor signs it into law. State senator Tom Davis issued this update on his Facebook page today:

As reported by Ben Swann, the local micro brewery business is booming across the Nation and “Big Beer” corporations don’t like it. Ben Swann reported how these beer lobbyists are using the government to eliminate their competition in Florida but it’s happening throughout the U.S., including South Carolina.

Regulation hinders the fledgling start-ups in South Carolina. Many are locating to North Carolina where the regulations are more lax. But S.C. micro breweries are appealing to the state government to lessen brewery regulations.

Currently there is a glimpse of hope for these breweries in the “Stone Bill, ” a bill designed to attract Stone Brewing Co., the 10th largest in the Nation.

The law would allow brewpubs to brew beer and serve it along with food from 2,000 barrels a year to 500,000 barrels a year.

According to the Greenville News, passing the bill would give Stone the ability to both produce a large amount of beer and open an expansive restaurant, billing the location as a tourist destination much like its home in Escondido, California.

So what’s the problem? Well, the South Carolina Brewers Association doesn’t like it.

“Amending brewpub laws would create another exception to the state’s beer regulations, opening the door for erosion of the three-tier system used in South Carolina,” said Brook Bristow, a lawyer who represents the South Carolina Brewers Association.

What is the three-tier system?

The three-tier system requires producers to sell their beer through wholesalers. Currently, brewery laws allow a brewery to make and distribute unlimited quantities but to serve only small amounts on site.

According to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, local breweries like Charleston based Coast Brewing Co. says the current law hurts their ability to attract visitors and make secondary income.

Coast Brewing Co’s owners David Merritt and Jaime Tenny say that changing this law could provide them additional income and spread the word about their label, they said. And eventually, if enough microbreweries follow suit, they contend it could create a major tourism boon for the area.

“If you want a vibrant beer business in South Carolina, they are going to have to change some laws,” Merritt said.

Serve In The Military? Want A Tattoo? Not So Fast… Say Bureaucrats

As reported before by Kristin Tate at BenSwann.com Washington DC bureaucrats are trying to implement a 24 hours waiting period of people to get tattoos in the state. It seems there is renewed interest across the country on tattoos.army1

As reported by the Stars & Stripes military newspaper, the new rules do not regulate whether or not military members can have tattoos, but where they can be placed. Tattoos below the knee, below the elbow, or above the neck line will not be allowed.

Many tattoo shop owners and artists worry about the economic impact. Especially those shops which are located near military bases.

Once the new rules are signed, it will take about 1-2 months before they go become enforceable policy.

The new regulations cover things such as tattoos, grooming, and uniforms and apply only to army soldiers. Other branches of the military have their own grooming and appearance rules.

New recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos in the designated areas. Furthermore, the content of the tattoo now is an issue. If the tattoo is declared racist, sexist or extremist then they will not be accepted for service regardless of where the tattoo is. Current soldiers will be grandfathered in.

Soldiers are also getting new uniforms.