Should nonprofit organizations be allowed to use their tax-exempt status to compete with small businesses?

Not any more, say small-business owners and operators, who will be airing these and other concerns this August at the White House Conference on Small Business.

"The fact that so many delegations have made this a top priority in the White House Conference on Small Business should send a clear message to Congress that action is needed on the federal level," said Joseph O'Neil, chairman of the Business Coalition for Fair Competition.

The conference staff has been holding meetings in every state for the past year in an effort to identify the most important issues affecting small businesses.

According to O'Neil, most of the tax-exempt groups that have been targeted at the state-level conferences are universities, churches, health-care facilities and government organizations.

A report issued by the BCFC on the problem found research and development, computer programming and analytical testing being performed by some universities in direct competition with small busineses that must pay income tax and other taxes.

Another example of the problem was a case recently settled in Oregon involving a local YMCA. An Oregon county tax assessor was ordered by a tax court to collect $11 million in back taxes from the YMCA because it spent only 11 percent of its budget on charitable contributions.

O'Neil said groups should not be awarded nonprofit, tax-exempt status to run profit-making businesses.

The White House Conference on Small Business was set up by Congress for firms with up to 500 employes to bring their concerns to the attention of the federal government.

The conference staff plans the meetings, but they are run by small-business owners in each state, according to Michael Harvey, a press coordinator for the conference.

The final conference will take place in Washington between Aug. 17 and 21.

Some 1,800 elected and appointed delegates will decide which issues should be submitted to President Reagan, the Small Business Administration and Congress. At the last conference, in 1980, half the 60 recommendations made by the conference were enacted into law, Harvey said.

Some of the other hot issues at this year's conferences are liability insurance, tax reform, balancing the federal budget and international trade, Harvey said.

The BCFC was formed in 1983 to bring the problem of unfair competition to the attention of the government and the public.

It now represents some 100,000 small-business members across the country.


The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants last week concluded its Washington conference in honor of National Consumers Week by introducing a booklet to help consumers save money when choosing a credit card. The brochure was produced in conjunction with the United States Office of Consumer Affairs and offers 25 tips for the new card holder as well as a small glossary of credit-card terms.

The new name for the Freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Association in Alexandria is the Federated Ambulatory Surgery Association. The group said it changed its name at a recent membership meeting to better reflect its goals and increase membership. Membership in FASA includes 150 ambulatory surgical facilities with 600 doctors, nurses and health administrators.

The American Society of Personnel Administration has announced two new staff appointments. Lynne Chiara, former editor of the group's publication Personnel Administrator, will take over as director of publications, and Jim Sigel has become director of sales and marketing for the group.

The Washington office of the Association of National Advertisers Inc., has gained a new manager of government relations. Karen Hutchison, who was most recently employed by the United States Synthetic Fuels Corporation as the director of media relations joined the ANA staff last week.