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Chamber looking at food truck ordinance

Chaaron Pearson on Monday, April 11, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

As communities are filling their need for increased food trucks, one chamber is looking to help clarify a local food truck ordinance that is outdated and unclear.

The Napa Chamber is looking to help rewrite a city ordinance that increases clarity for food truck operators.  As it stands now, a food truck must move every 15 minutes.  If a truck wants to park on private property for a longer term, they must file for a use permit.  The ordinance doesnít include any truck design, operating times or location guidelines.

This issue came to the chamberís attention last fall after a food and beverage task force was formed.  The chamber learned that the city was asking food trucks to have use permits to linger in specific areas.

The chamber is asking that a group of food truck owners, restaurant owners, residents another others write a draft ordinance for city consideration.  While the draft ordinance is being written, the chamber is asking that the city postpone approving use permits until a new resolution is in place. 

The chamberís goal is not to tie up food trucks with more regulation, but to clear up misunderstandings of the current ordinance and create an even playing field for all restaurants.   

To read more: Napa Valley Register Ė Chamber asks for tougher look at food truck ordinance
Napa Business Focus - Napa Chamberís Letter to City of Napa

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Chamber Supports Pre-K Initiative

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

The Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce is trying to raise public awareness about the need for pre-kindergarten education in the county.

On Monday, April 4th, The Quality Education Committee of One Voice, One Vision, One Morgan County held a press conference to unveil a checklist of skills needed for a child to have a successful start in kindergarten.

This initiative is a collaboration of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Calhoun Community College, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, Decatur City Schools, Decatur City Schools Foundation, Decatur Heritage Christian Academy, Decatur Public Library, Hartselle City Schools, Morgan County Schools and St. Ann Catholic School. 

The Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce sites the Pew Center on the States research findings that high quality Pre-K education leads to better success in school and life.  Jim Page, Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development at the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber, talked about the possibility of reducing the prison population and the dropout rate, if local children are properly educated.

Decatur and Morgan County businesses identified the need to increase the education level of the population long ago.  A study showed that one in five children is reading impaired by the time that they are in the 4th grade.  A contributing factor to those study findings is the lack of funding and classroom space.  The Quality Education Committee plans to address these issues as well.

Decatur and Morgan County businesses and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce are working to maximize family, business and community involvement to increase student success.

Read more:
Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce Press Release
Kindergarten Readiness Skills Checklist
Chamber Supports Pre-Kindergarten Initiate
Ė WAFF.com

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A victory for small business: 1099 provision repealed

Chaaron Pearson on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

The Senate voted 87-12 to repeal the unpopular 1099 provision of the Affordable Health Care Act, Tuesday.  Small business owners have expressed their frustration at the provision, which would require them to report to the IRS all payments of more than $600 on 1099 forms.  This would have significantly increased paperwork required of a small business and many donít have the necessary time or manpower to complete the new requirements.

The House of Representatives took the first step in repealing the provision in early March.  Now that the provision has been repealed in the Senate, it will move to President Obamaís desk.  Shortly after the Senate vote, the White House signaled that President Obama would sign the repeal, despite opposition to the House proposed offset to pay for the repeals.

Many chambers are celebrating this victory as they have worked tirelessly with their small business members and congressional delegates to repeal the 1099 provision.   A policy update from COSE recounts their work with legislators to raise awareness about the issue and demonstrate the detrimental impact the 1099 provision would have on small business.  COSE is thrilled with the victory and applauds the legislators for their work and the efforts small businesses put forth to advocate against the issue as well.

On a national level, ASAE and the US Chamber also led efforts to repeal the 1099 provision and are celebrating success with their memberships.

Read more:
1099 Repeal Passes Senate, Heads to White House Ė NYT Small Business Blog
Senate Passes 1099 Bill Ė Fox Small Business
1099 Repeal Heads to Presidentís Desk Ė Free Enterprise: US Chamber

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Why state budget deficit numbers donít match

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

Is the math that hard?

In a word, yes.  The math is that hard.  In Texas, for example, it has been reported that there is between a $15 billion and $27 billion shortfall with some claiming $15 billion and others claiming $27 billion.  What accounts for these differences?

Budget shortfalls rely on two estimates, estimated state revenue and estimated state spending and this year there are large disagreements on the spending side of the equation.  How much of the budget is increased for inflation?  What about population growth?  How much can be cut?  What will be cut?

States with shortfalls are looking to bridge the gap to balance the budget and maintain the current level of services.  In recent years, huge shortfall numbers have plagued troubled states. 

Budget disagreements are nothing new, but budget deficit solutions (taxes and budget cuts) are unpleasant.  When the budget shows a surplus, itís rare for politicians to be upset.

Read more: Stateline Ė State budgets explained: Why deficit figures donít always add up

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Advocacy on Wheels

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

As gas prices show no signs of sliding downwards, the Conway Area (AR) Chamber of Commerce recently partnered with local car dealer Crain Buick GMC and Southwestern Energy to present an alternative to cars fueled by gasoline. Today, the Chamber is getting around in a compressed natural gas (CNG) powered 2011 GMC Yukon. CNG vehicles are an emerging clean energy product, and Arkansas, as a major producer of natural gas, directly benefits from the growth of CNG applications. "We see it primarily as a way to send a message to promote compressed natural gas as a fuel source and to demonstrate for people that it's good business for Arkansas," says Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber. Check out the Chamber's new wheels in the photo above; Southwestern Energy provided a compressed natural gas conversion kit, while Crain donated the vehicle and custom wrapped the car with the Chamber's logo and colors.  Read more about the partnership and CNG here.

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