Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

Senate moves ahead on small business tax credit bill: Senators voted 80-14 on Tuesday to proceed with the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act, which would grant a 10 percent tax reprieve to small firms that increase their payrolls in 2012. The credit is capped at $5 million in an effort to target the nation’s smallest employers.

Presidential race deadlocked: President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck with four months left in the presidential campaign, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Forty-seven percent of registered voters sided with each candidate, suggesting a close finish come November.

Small business confidence plummets: The spirits of small business owners tanked last month, according to the latest optimism index released by the National Federation of Independent Business. The reading dropped from 94.4 to 91.4 from May to June, marking the largest month-to-month decline since June 2010.

Obama taking heat on outsourcing: Conservative critics are starting to hammer the president for losing jobs overseas, many arguing he should have taken more steps these last four years to stem outsourcing, like easing visa restrictions and confronting China. In its defense, the administration says its hands are tied by a stalled, divisive Congress.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Lawmakers dispute Obama tax plan’s impact on small firms: House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) has called President Obama’s proposal to halt tax cuts for high income earners “the wrong prescription for job creation,” warning it would unfairly hit the small business owners and entrepreneurs who pay taxes as individuals. On Tuesday, Democratic whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) fired back, arguing that Republicans are misleading the public, noting that only 3 percent of business owners would lose their current tax credits.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to determine if your business is small (SBA)

How to write a lean business plan (Entrepreneur)

How to improve your human resources (Mashable)

How to avoid employee whistleblower suits (NFIB)