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SLO County Roundup 8/17

SLO County

A report released last month shows that 456,500 California small businesses with fewer than 25 employees — including hundreds on the Central Coast — will be eligible for tax credits this year to help pay for health insurance coverage for their employees, according to Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

The new tax credits are part of the health insurance reform law enacted earlier this year, Capps wrote in a news release.

The report Capps cited was jointly issued by Families USA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health care organization, and the Small Business Majority, a small business advocacy group.

They found that nearly 80 percent of all California small businesses with 25 or fewer employees are eligible for the tax credits.

Most small businesses, Capps wrote, do not have the same access to affordable group rates available to large businesses, making it more difficult for them to provide their employees with health insurance.

Nationally, only 46 percent of businesses that employed three to nine workers offered health coverage to employees last year. Seventy-two percent of businesses with between 10 and 24 employees offered coverage.

By contrast, more than 95 percent of businesses in California with more than 50 employees provided health insurance coverage, she wrote.

The new credits “will help business owners who have wanted to provide coverage for their employees, but previously couldn’t afford it,” Capps wrote.

The report, “A Helping Hand for Small Business: Health Insurance Tax Credits,” also highlights the fact that 135,900 small businesses in California meet the requirements to receive the maximum tax credit of 35 percent. These businesses employ 10 or fewer workers who earn average wages of $25,000 or less.

“Many small businesses — like the local diner, the hardware store down the street or the neighborhood repair shop — face special challenges in providing health coverage for their small number of employees,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “They will now receive substantial help.”

“There’s been a lot of speculation about how many small businesses will qualify for tax credits, and this report clears up a lot of those questions,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “We now have real numbers that show the vast majority of small businesses in California will qualify for tax credits under the new law. That’s huge.”

For more information, call Capps’ office at 202-226-7747 or Dave Lemmon at Families USA, 202-628-3030.

— Bob Cuddy

Templeton

A flag dedication ceremony and artist reception at Vineyard Dog Park will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Templeton chapter of the American Legion will conduct a flag-raising ceremony to honor the new flagpole, which was donated to the park.

The event will also include the unveiling of a new park mural painted by the winner of the Vineyard Dog Park Student Art Competition, Templeton High School student Luke Taylor. Coffee and pastries will be served, and dogs are welcome.

The park is on Vineyard Drive in Templeton. After the ceremony, sign-ups will be available for Dog Splash Days, planned for Sept. 10 to 12.

For details, call 239-4437.

— Jennifer Vandersmith

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