COVID-19 Action: Proclamation Requesting Relief For Small Businesses in Utah

The Board of Utah Independent Business Coalition has issued the following Proclamation Requesting Relief For Small Businesses in Utah:

The COVID-19 crisis has hit Utah’s small business community especially hard. Facing weeks or months with limited or no revenue, many companies have been thrown into financial peril. On March 19, more than 100 people participated in the Utah Independent Business Coalition’s town hall web conference expressing fear and looking for answers regarding what they can do to save their businesses. Tens of thousands of small hospitality and retail businesses have been forced to close completely or greatly scale back operations. Yet, the monthly expenses for the businesses (commercial rent, wages, utilities, insurance, etc.) persist. As most small businesses already have loan obligations, non-loan remedies are necessary at this time.

We, the signers of this Proclamation, implore the State of Utah to help small businesses. By offering one-time emergency grants, the state can be instrumental in helping small businesses weather this economic storm.

In Utah, locally-owned, small businesses are the lifeblood of our state. These enterprises include the small stores, restaurants & cafés, manufacturing, and professional services businesses that are at the heart of our communities. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses employ a massive 46.3% of the Utah workforce, and 99.3% of Utah businesses are small businesses.

The residents of Utah will benefit greatly from keeping independently-owned, small enterprises in operation because for every dollar spent at a locally-owned business, $.55 stays in the local economy, four times more than if that same dollar was spent at a national retailer. At no previous time have so many Utah small businesses been so suddenly thrown into such peril.

The State of Utah’s rainy day fund currently stands at $550 million, key to what the governor’s budget labeled a few years ago as “an effort to be ready for an economic downturn.” We believe the state should leverage funds from the rainy day fund to help small businesses survive.

Therefore, we request that the State of Utah act without delay to help sustain the small businesses that serve our communities.

-Board of Directors, Utah Independent Business Coalition

UIBC’s Independent Business Forum on COVID-19, Thurs., 3/26

UIBC-COVID-19 Forum

Thursday, March 26, 2020

We want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for attending today’s virtual forum on COVID-19. This was exactly the kind of feedback and participation we were looking for.

As was mentioned on the call, we will be hosting this meeting weekly and would like to continue this conversation throughout the week on our facebook forum:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/142558210460193/

Here are links to various slides, reports, and websites referenced in today’s meeting:

The following graphic is from the The Utah Leads Together Plan:

The following graphic is from the 2016 report “Cash is King: Flows, Balances, and Buffer Days – Evidence from 600,000
Small Businesses”, which can be accessed here.

The Board of Utah Independent Business Coalition has issued a Proclamation Requesting Relief For Small Businesses in Utah. We encourage you to read the proclamation and provide any feedback to us prior to Monday, March 30th when we begin collecting signatures. You can read the proclamation here.

Here are the details on Summit County’s declaration: https://summitcountyhealth.org/public-announcements/3-25-20-summit-county-issues-stay-at-home-order-to-residents/

Info on the US Dept. of Labor’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

The New Employer Obligations under the Slightly Revised Families First Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6201): https://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/new-employer-obligations-under-slightly-revised-families-first-coronavirus-act-hr-6201

Contact information for today’s guests:

Representative Mike Winder
District 30
mikewinder@le.utah.gov
801-633-1300

Representative Robert M. Spendlove
District 49
rspendlove@le.utah.gov
801-560-5394

You can watch the video from today’s virtual meeting below:

Special thanks to Salt Lake County Economic Development for the sponsorship of UIBC’s educational events.

The next virtual meeting will be on Thursday, April 2. Click here to register to join the meeting.

P.S. You can support our mission by joining UIBC. Click here for more information: https://utahindependentbusiness.org/join/

UIBC’s Independent Business Forum on COVID-19

UIBC-COVID-19 Forum

Thursday, March 19, 2020

We want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for attending today’s virtual forum on COVID-19. This was exactly the kind of feedback and participation we were looking for. As was mentioned on the call, we will likely be hosting this meeting weekly going forward and would like to continue this conversation throughout the week on our facebook forum:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/142558210460193/

As a summary of what was discussed today, it seems that most everyone is in agreement that loans are not the answer to this problem and that something more needs to be done. That being said, these could be a valuable resource to buy you and your business some time while more permanent solutions are discussed.

The SLC Economic Development Emergency Loan Program:

https://www.slc.gov/ed/elploan/

  1. 0% interest
  2. Up to $20,000 to be used for working capital, Marketing, and inventory
  3. 5 year term
  4. Payments deferred for 90 days following the expiration of the Mayor’s “Proclamation Declaring a Local Emergency”
  5. Max of 50 employees
  6. Applications until March 23rd and notifications of approval/denial will go out 2-3 days following
  7. Only for businesses within the city limits
  8. SBA Disaster Loans

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

  1. 30 Year term Max
  2. Maximum interest rate of 4%
  3. $2,000,000 Limit, however also limited to economic injury determined by SBA
  4. If business is a major source of Employment, $2,000,000 limit may be waived
  5. Must have credit history, and show ability to repay. Collateral may be required for loans over $25,000

Again, we would urge you to please be cautious with any loans you take on to make sure they will have minimal impact on you personally if possible.

There was also some discussion regarding a need to have these types of conversations with lawmakers to address many of the issues that remain unresolved. Some of the key topics needing to be addressed currently are:

  • Rent (and potentially other expense) relief for small businesses
  • Method to get landlords through their loan obligations
  • Clarification on unemployment for any employees that are laid off

UIBC is working on a written proclamation about the importance of relief and support for local, small businesses that we will send to lawmakers and the media. We will invite each of you to sign this proclamation. Please look for more information on this in the next 24 hours. As always, thanks for supporting our mission to advocate for local, independently-owned businesses in Utah.

Wes Dodson
Membership Chair

&

Doug Burton
President

P.S. You can support our mission by joining UIBC. Click here for more information: https://utahindependentbusiness.org/join/

Special thanks to Salt Lake County Economic Development for the sponsorship of UIBC’s educational events.

UIBC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As concerns continue to increase about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), UIBC is committed to assisting our members in any way we can. This will include sharing best practices as prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Utah Department of Health. We’ll also offer news and suggestions on how we as business owners might best communicate to our customers how the virus may affect the daily operations of our respective businesses.

In an effort to contain and reduce the spread of the virus, we’ve also decided to postpone all in-person educational and networking events until at least April 15th, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate by email and social media regarding events which may be scheduled after mid-April.

We wish you all good health, and thank you for continuing to place your trust in us. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or inquiries.

-Doug Burton, Board President

Utah Independent Business Coalition (UIBC) has a few openings on our board of directors!

Do you love helping local, independent businesses? Utah Independent Business Coalition (formerly Vest Pocket) has select positions to fill on our board of directors. UIBC has a long tradition of providing valuable advocacy, education, mentoring, and social events for the independent business community.

Multiple board positions will be filled this year, and people with finance/accounting, event planning, advocacy, communications, fundraising, and management/administrative skills would help round out the current board members’ diverse backgrounds and skill sets. See who’s on our board.

UIBC Board member candidates should have a passion for local, independent businesses and be familiar with the challenges of running a small business. The UIBC board is a working board – board members are expected to attend monthly board meetings (the first Tuesday morning of each month) and serve on at least one committee (advocacy, education, communications or membership), with a monthly time commitment of approximately 8 hours per month.

Interviews with prospective board members will be conducted in August and persons elected to the board would begin service in October 2019.  To find out more, or to nominate yourself or someone else, please contact board president Doug Burton.

Contact:

Doug Burton, Board President
dburton@saltworksagency.com
801-879-4928

PAST EVENT: UIBC invites you to the 2nd event in the Wasatch Business Series: The 2019 Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast

Legislative Warm-Up Breakfast

Register Now

The 2019 Utah State Legislative Session was an important session affecting Utah’s independent businesses. Bills concerning tax reform (including business personal property taxes and new taxes on services), transportation, education, and affordable housing were all up for debate. Join us for review of key legislation that was debated and passed in the 2019 session. We will also hear about the critical issue of tax reform that will affect all Utah businesses that our businesses need to understand and prepare for now.  The President of the Utah State Senate, J. Stuart Adams, who is a key figure in tax reform, will be one of the speakers.  This will be one of the first opportunities for business owners to discuss tax reform directly with key legislators. Our legislator speakers need to hear your opinions as they work on tax reform that will affect all Utah businesses.

Speakers will include:

  •  J. Stuart Adams, Utah Senate President and chair of the special tax reform task force
  • Dave Davis, President & Chief Legal Officer of the Utah Retail Merchants Association
  • John Lair, President & CEO of Momentum Recycling
  • Representative Robert Spendlove

This is the second event in the 2019 Wasatch Business Series, a collaborative effort that is focused on bringing impactful networking and educational opportunities to business owners across the Wasatch Front.

The Wasatch Business Series is brought to you by the Utah Independent Business Coalition, Holladay Chamber of Commerce, Sugar House Chamber of Commerce, Millcreek Business Council,  South Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, and the Murray Chamber of Commerce.

Event Details:

Location: Holladay City Hall, 4580 S. 2300 E., Holladay, UT

Date & Time: April 18, 2019 – 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Admission: $18 (includes breakfast from Midvale Mining Cafe)

Order of Events:

7:30 – Event begins and light breakfast buffet

7:45 – Welcome & Introductions – Doug Burton, President, Utah Independent Business Coalition

8:00 – Dave Davis, Utah Retail Merchants Association – 2019 Legislature Wrap-Up

8:15 – John Lair, Momentum Recycling – The Personal Tangible Property Tax & Tax Reform

8:30 – Sen. Pres. J. Stuart Adams – Why Tax Reform is Needed and Main Considerations

8:45 – Special guest state representative from the Tax Reform Task Force – work and discussions necessary to complete tax reform planning

9:00 – Q & A with all four speakers

9:25 – Closing remarks

9:30 – Event finished

Speaker Bios

Senate President J. Stuart Adams:

J Stuart AdamsSenator J. Stuart Adams represents Utah Senate District 22 and resides in Layton, Utah.  Senator Adams, a Republican, was first appointed to the Utah House of Representatives in 2002, and then to the Senate in 2009. In 2012, he was chosen to be Senate Majority Whip.  Most recently, in 2018, he was chosen as the Senate President.  He serves on several legislative committees, including the Executive Appropriations Committee, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee.  Senator Adams is a businessman focused on real estate development and property management, and he holds a B.A. degree in Business Finance from the University of Utah.Senate President J. Stuart Adams:

Senator J. Stuart Adams represents Utah Senate District 22 and resides in Layton, Utah.  Senator Adams, a Republican, was first appointed to the Utah House of Representatives in 2002, and then to the Senate in 2009. In 2012, he was chosen to be Senate Majority Whip.  Most recently, in 2018, he was chosen as the Senate President.  He serves on several legislative committees, including the Executive Appropriations Committee, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee.  Senator Adams is a businessman focused on real estate development and property management, and he holds a B.A. degree in Business Finance from the University of Utah.

Representative Robert Spendlove

Robert Spendlove

Representative Robert Spendlove proudly serves in the Utah House of Representatives, where he was elected in 2014. He represents District 49, covering parts of Sandy and Cottonwood Heights cities. He is the Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and serves on the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and the Social Services Appropriations Committee. He is also a member of the Legislative Tax Reform Task Force.

Professionally, Robert is a Senior Vice President and the Economic and Public Policy Officer for Zions Bank. In this capacity he monitors and reports on economic indicators and public policy developments for the bank.


John Lair, President & CEO of Momentum Recycling

John LairJohn Lair is CEO and Co-Founder of Momentum Recycling in Salt Lake City. He has worked to grow Momentum Recycling, founded in 2008, from a local recycling plant to adding a second glass recycling plant near Denver in 2016. John earned his undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and his MBA from the University of Utah. After college, he spent his first years in the tech industry, including as IT director for a regional accounting firm in Utah. He also founded and grew an electronics company before later helping to found Momentum Recycling. Momentum Recycling originated from John’s passions for our environment, local community, and personal ethics. In addition, John has been a member of Salt Lake City’s Business Advisory Board since 2013, representing District 2, plus he has served on the Loan Committee for the Salt Lake City Economic Development Loan Fund and was a long-time board member of the Utah Independent Business Coalition.

Dave Davis, President & Chief Legal Officer of the Utah Retail Merchants Association

Dave Davis

Dave Davis is President & Chief Legal Officer of both the Utah Retail Merchants Association and the Utah Food Industry Association. He has served both organizations since 2007 and advocates for interests of hundreds of different small, medium, and large businesses in Utah, including advocating for businesses at the Utah State Legislature. Dave’s prior work included serving as director of human relations and general counsel for both Macey’s Food Stores and Associated Food Stores. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Government from the University of Utah, and his law degree from Brigham Young University. He has spoken before at other Utah Independent Business Coalition events.

Register Now

UIBC Board Member John Lair

Board Member John Lair Speaks At The Utah Taxpayer’s Association Legislative Outlook Conference

UIBC Board Member John LairUIBC Board Member John Lair (President & CEO of Momentum Recycling) spoke about the Business Personal Property Tax at the Utah Taxpayers Association’s Legislative Outlook Conference on January 7, 2019. Click below to listen to his speech.

 

Vest Pocket is changing our name! Introducing… the Utah Independent Business Coalition (UIBC)


Last winter, we asked Vest Pocket Business Coalition members, board members, and founders to weigh in on the idea of a name change for our organization. The response was overwhelmingly positive in favor of choosing a new name that more clearly conveys our mission – which is to advocate for local, independently-owned businesses in Utah.

On September 1st, we will become the Utah Independent Business Coalition (or UIBC for short). This was the winning name based on the survey of many prospective names voted on by our members in December. This spring, the Vest Pocket Board of Directors voted to make the name change official.

We’re very excited about our new moniker, which we believe perfectly conveys our core purpose. This change coincides with our current board’s redoubling of efforts in the areas of providing advocacy, education, mentorship, and social connections for local business owners.

There are many exciting things in store for the coming months, including the unveiling of our new logo and a new website, which are both in development. For now, please continue to keep up to date on upcoming events here on this website and by connecting with us on our social media channels.

Note that if you are a current member of Vest Pocket, your membership will continue uninterrupted and will automatically transfer over to membership in the Utah Independent Business Coalition on September 1st. If you are not a current member, please click here to sign up.

Together, we’re building a stronger, independent business community in Utah. We look forward to seeing you soon at an upcoming event!

Best Regards,

Doug Burton
President
Vest Pocket Business Coalition (Utah Independent Business Coalition)

P.S. If you aren’t currently receiving our e-mail newsletter and would like to, please click here to sign up

Take Our Survey

Should Vest Pocket Change Our Name? We Want Your Input

Take Our Survey

Two decades ago, Vest Pocket Business Coalition was started by a group of local business owners that needed advocacy help to fix a challenging parking ordinance. A grass-roots coalition formed to address the issue and they were successful. In the last 20, years Vest Pocket has advocated for countless local businesses on a variety of issues.

The name Vest Pocket was chosen because the term “Vest Pocket” brings to mind local businesses in our neighborhoods that hold close to our hearts, which is where a vest pocket is located. Once explained, the meaning is clear. However, it is worth considering this question: Will business owners (who haven’t yet heard of our organization) immediately grasp who we are and what we do based on our organization’s name?

In other words, does the name clearly and accurately signify what brings us together as local, independent business owners? Should the name be changed to help Vest Pocket be more effective? In light of these questions, we’ve been considering whether a name change might be in order. This topic is particularly important today as Vest Pocket works to increase its influence and advocacy work throughout the Wasatch Front and beyond.

The important thing is how you, our members, feel about this. Therefore, we need your feedback. Please click the link below and complete the short survey. Please let us know whether you favor a name change, and if so, which name(s) you think would best represent the organization that you’ve come to know as Vest Pocket Business Coalition. We will compile the results before the end of the year and report back to you on the results.

Thanks in advance for taking a moment to complete this survey, and thanks for your support of local, independent businesses!

Please click here to begin

Best Regards,

Doug Burton
President
Vest Pocket Business Coalition

Vest Pocket Board Members Pushed For Reform of the Business Personal Property Tax at the Utah State Capitol on Nov. 27

Four members of Vest Pocket’s Board of Directors attended Monday’s joint Utah House and Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee hearing to urge lawmakers to reform the Business Personal Property Tax. The issue was the biggest area of concern voiced by attendees of Vest Pocket’s October small business advocacy planning meeting.

Vest Pocket’s Doug Burton (President), Carol Elliott (Advocacy Chair), and John Lair (board member) were in attendance at the Capitol on Monday to testify about the burden the tax imposes on Vest Pocket’s member businesses.

Speaking before the committee, Burton noted that many Vest Pocket members are in the retail and light manufacturing business and are burdened by not only having to pay the tax but also by the enormous amount of time required to inventory and assess the value for hundreds or thousands of individual items and to complete the required paperwork.

“Taxes should not put local, small businesses out of business”

– Vest Pocket’s Carol Elliott

Vest Pocket Advocacy Chair Carol Elliott (owner of Paletti, a local women’s clothing boutique), emphasized the impact of small business in Utah, noting that “small business hires more people in Utah than any other type of business and money that is spent in local business stays in the cities and in the state.” Elliott added, “We are the ones that hire other local businesses to (provide) services.” Elliott urged the commission to look at modifications to the code that would make it fairer for the small business community. “Taxes should not put local small businesses out of business,” she added.

Board member John Lair (President and CEO of Momentum Recycling) detailed how the tax had unfairly impacted his company. “Amongst other services we provide in the area we do all the glass recycling for Utah and the wider intermountain region.” Lair said: “We’re a very asset-heavy business, very akin to a manufacturer and so the issue that we have is two-fold. One is an issue of inequity. As a business with conveyors and hoppers and screeners and crushers, we pay tax that our friends with a similar revenue profile in software development and professional services don’t pay. So there’s a built in inequity as we talk about tangible personal property that’s taxed whereas intangible is not.”

Lair noted that the recycling industry has seen a lot of rough years. “In 2016 we had a loss in our business, and yet we still had to pay $32,000 in Business Personal Property Tax.” Lair added: “We had to borrow money and lay off an employee in order to cover this tax. That’s not how it should work in the state of Utah.”

Referring to the inequitable enforcement of the tax, Lair noted that there are many businesses that aren’t even aware of the tax and have never paid it or haven’t paid it for years. “They first learn about it when the auditor first comes into their business,” Lair said.

Burton cited two examples of the stringent application of the tax by auditors, as reported to him by Vest Pocket members:

  • The taxation of artwork hanging in a tea shop – artwork that the tea shop didn’t even own as it was on loan from the artist
  • An antique dining table that was a family heirloom that became subject to taxation because a set of business plans sat atop the dining table for a few minutes while the business owner met with the tax auditor

“This is the type of taxation that we feel is overly punitive and we don’t believe it represents the commitment that Utahns have for supporting small businesses,” Burton added. “Many of these are family-run businesses that have been in these families for generations.”

“This is the type of taxation that we feel is overly punitive and we don’t believe it represents the commitment that Utahns have for supporting small businesses”

– Vest Pocket President Doug Burton

Most lawmakers in the Committee hearing agreed that a total repeal of the Business Personal Property Tax would require a (state) Constitutional Amendment. As an alternative, Vest Pocket supports the modernization of the tax code to include the provision that any item valued under $1,000 would be exempt from an itemization of valuation for tax burden.

In its deliberations, the legislative committee discussed another possible reform option: a $30,000 deduction off the wholesale valuation of personal property for a business. Vest Pocket would also support this modification.


Following the hearing, Elliott added: “It is important that we continue to work with the taxation committee and the state tax commission with suggestions and ideas to make this a more equitable tax and to continue to level the playing field with big business and stress the importance of local small business and all they offer to their communities.”

Stay connected with Vest Pocket Business Coalition as we continue to follow this issue and others affecting your business ahead of the 2018 legislative session.

****

Be sure to attend Vest Pocket’s January 2018 Legislative Warm-Up Breakfast (date to be announced soon) to learn more about bills that may affect small business as well as more info about the progress on this issue.