Small business weekly: Mulling changes to health care, labor and contracting laws


Small businesses will benefit from the health care law, supporters say. Critics want the government to prove it with annual investigations. (ROBYN BECK)

A review of the biggest small business and startup stories from the past week, with a special focus on Washington.

A word, please: Some government officials and members of the federal contracting community are pushing for a subtle change to the procurement rulebook that experts say could mean many more contracting opportunities for small businesses. Currently, the rules require large prime contractors to state what portion of their total planned subcontracting dollars will go to small businesses — and they want to tweak just one word. (OSB)

Moving target: Meanwhile, the House last week passed a defense spending bill that included several changes to long-standing small-business contracting rules. Most notably, the proposal would lift the government’s annual small-business contracting from 23 percent to 25 percent and its subcontracting target from 35.9 percent to 40 percent, and it would streamline some of the bidding processes for small companies. (OSB)

Better for business? Prove it: New legislation introduced last week in the House would require the Office of the Actuary and the Government Accountability Office to conduct annual studies on the health care law’s effects on small businesses, in terms of health costs and employment. Should the study find the law is having a negative impact, regulators would be forced to delay the law’s employer mandate for one year. (WBJ)

Bad for business? Prove it: One of the primary arguments against raising the minimum wage is that it will prompt employers to cut jobs, especially at small businesses. However, a recent survey on job growth around the country shows that Washington state and San Francisco are leading the way — and they happen to have the highest wage floors in the nation. So what gives? (WP)

Steve Case hitting the road: Start-up investor and former America Online chairman Steve Case is teaming up with the UP Global entrepreneurship nonprofit to host pitch competitions this summer in four non-traditional start-up hubs — Nashville, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Detroit. And at each stop on the tour, he plans to invest $100,000 in one company. (ITC)

Picking up speed: Google is reportedly preparing to offer deeply discounted Wi-Fi hardware and software to small and medium-sized businesses in an attempt to gain a better foothold in that lucrative sector. The search giant is hoping that, with better and more affordable Internet access, small employers will buy more Google enterprise services like Apps and cloud storage. (VB)

No regrets: Given the opportunity to go back in time, five out of six small business owners say they would still start their own company, according to a new Gallup poll. Simply being their own boss and setting their own hours aren’t the only commonly cited perks, either — many say their interactions with customers are actually their favorite part of the gig. (NJ)

What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.

Follow J.D. Harrison and On Small Business on Twitter.

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he manages the Post's On Small Business blog.
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