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Chamber Honors Lawmakers With Spirit of Enterprise Award

May 1, 2008

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on April 9 presented 239 federal lawmakers with its prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award for their support of pro-growth legislation during the first session of the 110th Congress. Members of the Senate were judged on 11 key votes; House members, on 20 votes. Members who supported the Chamber's position on at least 70% of those votes received the Spirit of Enterprise Award.  Learn more.

Financial Crises

May 1, 2008

Comprehensive Solution Is Needed

By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Congress will focus in the coming days and months on the immediate housing and credit crises that have roiled markets worldwide. There is bipartisan momentum for mortgage relief on Capitol Hill, and the Chamber supports a targeted program to allow responsible home-owners to stay in their homes under renegotiated terms.

In Your Backyard

Apr 30, 2008

Lawmakers Consider Tax Repeal-
At the urging of business groups, state lawmakers are considering a bill to repeal a flat $250 tax on state businesses. The tax, which applies primarily to small companies and LLCs, was enacted six years ago to cover a shortfall in the budget.
Source: Republican-American

Is Your State’s Legal System a Friend or Foe of Business?

Mar 31, 2008

On April 23, the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released its seventh annual ranking of state court liability systems to highlight the country's best and worst legal environments in which to do business.

For the seventh year in a row, Delaware held the top spot, with Nebraska, Maine, Indiana and Utah rounding out the top five. West Virginia ranked in last place for the third year in a row, while Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Illinois also garnered low marks.

Chamber Initiates Broadband Dialogues

Mar 31, 2008

In a nationwide effort to make technology work for people, business, and communities, the U.S. Chamber and national nonprofit Connected Nation, Inc., have kicked off a six-city road show to illustrate the benefits of more widely available broadband.

The Connect! campaign will create a national dialogue on how broadband technology can create a better business environment, more effective economic development, improved healthcare, enhanced education, and more efficient government.

USTR Calls on Business to Support Korea FTA

Mar 31, 2008

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab urged Chamber members to educate their employees, their communities, and their representatives in Congress on the importance of passing a free trade agreement with South Korea before the end of the year. Schwab spoke during a meeting of the Chamber-led U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition at the Chamber's Washington, D.C., headquarters on April 28.

Big Tax Increase Looms

Apr 30, 2008

Chamber Pushes for Permanent Tax Relief

The owners of Art Craft Display Inc. in Lansing, Michigan, worry that expiring tax cuts will have a deep impact on their business.

The owners of Art Craft Display Inc., in Lansing, Michigan, are trying to plan for the future-whether to open a new office, hire more staff, or buy more equipment. But the future is looking more and more uncertain for them and millions of other small business owners.

Experts Debate Climate Change Policy Impacts

Mar 31, 2008

Representatives from environmental and business groups wrangled over the potential economic impact of controversial climate change legislation currently being considered by Congress during a panel discussion at the U.S. Chamber's Washington, D.C., headquarters on April 25.

Economists and authors from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) debated the overall increase in per household energy costs should the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill that Congress is expected to take up this summer become law.

Consumer Spending on the Rise

Mar 31, 2008

April 15, 2008—Sales at retailers inched up 0.2% in March as consumers spent money at sporting goods stores and gasoline stations, though the latter is due to ongoing increases in energy prices, not increased demand for gasoline. The trade deficit widened an unexpected 5.7% in February to $62.3 billion. Trouble persists in the housing market, as the index for pending home sales fell 1.9% to 84.6% due to buyers' reluctance to invest in real estate.

Retirement Proposal, Paid Sick Leave, Employee Retention

Mar 31, 2008

Governor Supports Retirement Proposal

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) threw his political heft behind a new proposal to open the California Public Employees' Retirement System to private sector businesses and workers to encourage Californians to save more for retirement. The proposal would allow Californians whose employers don't offer retirement savings plans to put money into the California Employee Savings Program. Employers without retirement plans could also participate.
Source: The Sacramento Bee

Chamber Defeats Bill to Increase Pay Discrimination Lawsuits

Mar 31, 2008

In a significant legislative victory, the U.S. Chamber helped block efforts to expand federal discrimination laws. By a vote of 56-42 on April 23, the Senate rejected the "Ledbetter Fair Pay Act," which would have overturned a Supreme Court decision restricting compensation discrimination claims that are filed many years after the alleged act. This sweeping bill would effectively do away with statutes of limitations and expand the class of individuals that can bring cases. The House passed its own version of the bill in July 2007.

Unemployment Jumps to 5.1%

Mar 31, 2008

April 8, 2008—The labor market continued to struggle in March, as employers shed 80,000 jobs. Adding to the sour mood, the BEA downwardly revised its figures for January and February, with each month reporting a loss of 76,000 jobs. Though the ISM remains below 50, it inched upward 0.3 to 48.6 in February. Factory orders, however, fell 1.3% in February.

Lawmakers Replace Tech Tax With Millionaire Tax

Mar 31, 2008

Unions Push Forward on Initiatives
Business and labor factions are pressing ahead with competing voter initiatives despite efforts by Gov. Bill Ritter (D) to discourage them. A labor-backed coalition called Protect Colorado's Future is pushing for two ballot initiatives, including a constitutional amendment that would require employers to prove "just cause" for firing employees, and a measure, backed by workers affected by corporate fraud, that would allow any Coloradan to sue executives engaged in criminal wrongdoing.


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