The Emporia Police Department has received what they are calling a "Credible Threat" of violence at this year's Virgninia Peanut Festival. The EPD, assisted by other law enforcement agencies, will have multiple tents and an increased presence. Festival attendees are asked to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. If you see something, say something.

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Small Business Administration

SBA Announces Decrease in Surety Bond Guarantee Fees

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Small Business Administration announces the first fee decrease in Surety Bond Guarantees in 12 years. The fee decrease will be in effect for guaranteed bonds approved during fiscal year 2019, taking effect October 1, 2018 and ending September 30, 2019.

The Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) program is reducing the Surety fee from 26 percent to 20 percent of the bond premium charged to the small businesses and reducing its contractor fee from $7.29 per thousand dollars of the contract amount to $6.00 per thousand dollars of the contract amount.

“Reducing the SBG program fees will not only directly help small businesses, but also will incentivize surety companies and their agents to increase support for small businesses in the marketplace,” said Peter C. Gibbs, Acting Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees.

Under its SBG program, the SBA guarantees bid, payment and performance bonds for small and emerging contractors who cannot obtain surety bonds through regular commercial channels.  SBA guarantees contracts up to $10 million, including the streamlined QuickApp application for those up to $400,000.

“This is great news for America’s entrepreneurs,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian. “Incentivizing sureties to provide bonding for small contractors improves access to contracts, which are often make-or-break opportunities in the life of a business.”

Currently, there are 34 participating sureties and over 350 active agents in the SBG program.  On average, completed surety bond applications are reviewed and processed in less than two days.
The program is currently outperforming its previous year results yielding 27,000 jobs supported, 3,000 final bonds, and $1.7 billion in final bond contract amounts in fiscal year 2018.

For more information about this decrease or further assistance, contact Jermanne Perry, Senior Management Analyst, Office of Surety Guarantees, (202) 401-8275; jermanne.perry@sba.gov, or your local SBA District Office.

Small Businesses and Workers Benefiting from Tax Cuts

BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

President Donald J. Trump had taxpayers and small business owners in mind when he signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law December 22, 2017. The new law cut corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% for 2018 and lowered income tax at nearly all levels. Tax cuts for working families allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money and provide more opportunity for everyone to achieve the American dream.

Cutting back taxes for American business owners allows our nation of entrepreneurs to grow the economy from within while competing globally with international businesses interests. A lower tax rate opens the door to new and better opportunities. It also enables employers to reward their employees with higher wages, bonuses and better benefits, which frees up hard-earned capital for growth-minded businesspeople to reinvest in their companies by hiring more workers, buying better equipment, and building new facilities.

The new tax cuts are applied nearly across the board, but with emphasis on businesses that are key to stimulating economic growth as a benefit to the whole country. Lower taxes mean more of our own money is free for us to grow and create jobs ourselves. When we pocket more of our salaries and more of our business profits, we are more likely to spend that “newfound” money, which continues to bolster the economy so we all benefit from this increase in our “bottom line.” As I travel across SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region to speak with business owners, they tell me they are using these tax savings to reinvest in themselves, and their communities.

As a direct result of the new tax law, Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh earlier this year announced $2,000 permanent raises for their employees making $60,000 or less per year – about 60% of their 1,300-person workforce. NexTier Bank in Butler, Pennsylvania paid out $1,000 bonuses for all employees and is using their tax cuts to fund tuition reimbursement, on-the-job training and wage raises for hourly employees.

Please be sure to think ahead about how this tax relief law affects you and your community. Look over the new tax rules with your accountant if you use one, or speak to one of the thousands of SBA-sponsored SCORE mentors or with your local Small Business Development Center for advice on the next steps for your small business. Take advantage of the extra money in your pocket and reinvest in yourselves, your business, and your country. We have a great opportunity to once again prove what small businesses can do for the economy when we remove barriers to their success.

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