A review of some of the biggest small business and start-up stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.
A second delay for the employer exchange in Maryland
Maryland health officials have revealed that the state’s new small-business insurance exchange, which is meant to give employers access to more affordable and comprehensive health plans, will not be ready until April, six months after it was supposed to open in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Officials had already pushed the start back from October to January and said they are continuing to prioritize the state’s new individual marketplace, which has suffered some technical problems.
Obama proposes insurance cancellations fix
Maryland’s news came days before President Obama announced a plan to allow insurers to continue offering some of the health plans they had been forced to cancel because of new coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act. However, several states have pushed back against the revision, telling insurance companies they must offer those minimum benefits next year as originally planned.
IRS eyeing pass-through businesses for audits
During a speech in Washington, Faris Fink, the head of the small-business unit at the Internal Revenue Service, said that his team is shifting some attention away from small corporations to focus on audits of small-business partnerships and other so-called “pass-though” companies. Owners of those firms pay individuals taxes on their firm’s revenue, and Fink says his group has been “behind the curve” in looking for wrongdoing.
Small-business loan went to large firm
An investigation by The Washington Post’s Robert O’Harrow Jr. found that a large government services firm in Arlington, Va. with more than $300 million in annual revenue was recently awarded contracts reserved for small businesses with less than $25 million in revenue. Here’s how.
SBA’s franchise loan program bleeding taxpayer money
Over the past decade, 28 percent of franchise owners defaulted on loans backed by the Small Business Administration, costing the agency $1.5 billion in default payments, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. A similar report earlier this year showed that the department’s loan program for military veterans also has high default rates and has costs taxpayers $31 million since its launch in 2007.
Boehner shoots down immigration reform
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week said his chamber would never vote on the comprehensive immigration reform package approved by the Senate and would not commit to voting on smaller measures by the end of 2013. The announcement deals a blow to entrepreneurs and technology leaders who had hoped to obtain more access to foreign talent by way of the Senate bill or a more targeted piece of legislation.
Maryland small-business lending firm acquired
Small-business lender RapidAdvance, based in Bethesda, Md., announced last week it has been purchased by Detroit private equity firm Rockbridge Growth Equity. Through its Web-based service, RapidAdvance has delivered about $600,000 in short-term loans to more than 10,000 small firms send its launch in 2005.
What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.