Business leaders discuss health insurance tax
State and local business leaders urged Congress to delay the Health Insurance Tax, or HIT, at a roundtable meeting Wednesday, Nov. 15 in The Reno-Sparks Chamber.
The discussion included representatives from local businesses and associations among others. Attendees expressed concerns about the impact of the HIT on Nevada’s small businesses if the tax is not delayed next year.
“With Northern Nevada’s growing economy and business community, tax policy is of utmost importance to business owners,” said Tray Abney, Director of Government Relations, Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. “A new study shows the health insurance tax will result in a $157 million increase in health insurance premiums in Nevada which is a cost small business owners cannot afford.”
The HIT is a federal tax on health insurance plans purchased by small business owners, the self-employed, and workers who receive their health care coverage through an employer. Without action by Congress to delay the tax, the HIT is expected to increase premiums nationwide by $14.3 billion next year, when the tax goes into effect in January. A recent study by Oliver Wyman shows that families in the small employer market could be faced with $500 on average in higher premiums in 2018 as a result of the HIT.
The HIT has also been estimated to impact 156 million Americans, with 50 percent of those paying the HIT earning an income between $10,000 and $50,000.
U.S. Senator Dean Heller has supported legislation in Congress that would delay implementation of the HIT tax. The effort to prevent a tax hike in the form of the HIT has been a top priority for small businesses and the employer community, from the hospitality industry to the retail sector.
Nevada is home to more than 238,000 small businesses, which employ more than 428,174 private sector workers. According to research by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the HIT will jeopardize between 152,000 to 286,000 private-sector jobs across the U.S. by 2023, and reduce real GDP by as much as $20 billion to $33 billion over the same period.
Coronavirus closures sped up the transition to digital services in the Washoe County Library System, including moving in-person story readings online. Jeff Scott, director of the system, said reopening brings a new set of challenges and frequent changes.