Join business owners writing Letters to the Editor calling on TVA to stop raising rates on small businesses while giving handouts to big industry.
Because of the perspectives you selected, below are some optional questions to consider addressing to strengthen your letter to editor.
- What is your business?
- When and why did you start it?
- How many employees do you have?
- What lessons from being a small business owner shape why you care about this issue?
- How is your business, or you as a business owner, or you as a member of the community impacted by the issue you are writing about?
- How does your perspective of a business owner shape your feelings about this issue?
- Can you give a specific example about why this issue is important to you?
- What branch of the military did you or your family member serve?
- How long? What was your rank/position and what is the right way to refer to you now? Retired? Veteran?
- Why did you decide to join the military? What influenced your decision?
- What grade do you teach?
- What do you teach?
- What got you into teaching? What influenced your decision to start teaching? Why do you stay?
- Where are you a student?
- What are you studying?
- When do you hope to graduate?
- Do you have student loans?
- What made you decide on your major? or if you aren't in college yet, what do you hope to be your major?
- What drives your faith?
- How long have you been a person of faith and what keeps you a person of faith?
- How does your faith influence the issue you are writing about?
- What type of law enforcement or part of 1st responder are you?
- How long have you been doing it?
- What influenced your decision to become a 1st responder or local law enforcement?
- How does your job as a first responder or local enforcement person influence your position on this issue?
- What is your role in the medical profession?
- How long have you been a medical professional?
- What influenced your decision to become a medical professional?
- How does your job as a medical professional influenced the issue you're writing about?
- Can you give a specific example?
- How old were you when you first started hunting/fishing?
- What got you into it? What was it like when you first started?
- How does your perspective of a sportsmen influence the issue you're writing about?
- Can you give a specific example?
- How long have you had a relationship with the issue you are writing about?
- As a senior, how has this issue influenced you the most?
- How does your perspective of a senior influence the issue you're writing about?
- Can you give a specific example?
- As a woman, how have you been influenced by this issue?
- Can you give a specific example?
- When did you know you wanted to come to America? What led you to that decision?
- Can you give a specific example?
TIPS FOR GREAT LETTERS TO EDITOR
- Make it personal, like sharing how you or someone you know has been impacted.
- Talk about the values behind your motivations to support .
- Address the elected official directly with the action you want them to take.
- Premiums are expected to jump by 18.1% in 2019 for tens of thousands of Tennesseans in the individual insurance market this fall due to artificial inflation caused by executive decisions made by the Trump administration and repeal of the individual mandate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
- An Executive Order in October 2017 now allows insurers to sell short-term limited-duration (STLD) plans that extends the coverage period from 3 months to 1 year. These plans are not ACA plans meaning that they are exempt from annual and lifetime limits, are not required to cover the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) like hospitalization, prescription drugs and maternity care, and they are exempt from covering pre-existing conditions. It is estimated that this will increase those without minimum essential coverage by 2.5 million in 2019
Source: Urban Institute
- An Executive Order in June 2018 allows the creation of Association Health Plans (AHPs) which are not ACA plans. AHPs will be freed to craft skimpier (and cheaper) health plans that appeal only to businesses with younger and healthier employees, leaving behind an older, sicker pool for the remaining ACA market. Small businesses left in the ACA marketplace would likely face higher costs and fewer options as the market becomes less attractive to insurers. That has the makings of a “death spiral” with ever-increasing premiums and insurers deciding to leave the market altogether.
- Repeal of the individual mandate is estimated to increase premiums from 7% - 15% and combined with the impact of STLD plans and AHPs, will increase premiums by 18.1 % in 2019
- Many small business owners will be priced out of insurance, and forced to go bare, cut back on investing in their business, or go out of business altogether, and go to work for a larger company just to access health insurance benefits.
- Small businesses are the backbone of Tennessee’s economy. In TN, 580,453 small businesses (99.5% of TN businesses) employing 1.1 million (42.9% of TN employees Source: SBA Firms with fewer than 20 employees represent about 33% of that number
- Tennessee has consistently led the nation in small business job growth. Source: Paychex Senators Corker and Alexander need to do all they can to keep this growth going
- We need our Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to put politics aside and say: Enough is enough. Tennessee rejected repeal last year, and we reject death by a thousand cuts this year. It’s time to stop the partisan war on our healthcare.
As Congress weighs big decisions like a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, a decision that will affect our country and communities for decades, we don’t see steady, thoughtful leadership but instead partisan politics and attacks that only tear at the fabric of our communities and country.
Protect the spirit of bipartisanship in the highest court of our land by taking the time to carefully review the records of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to ensure it is free of partisan politics. Be Statesmen, live up to your constitutional duties by reviewing completely the records of Kavanaugh, and seek the input of us, your constituents, on a decision that will last a lifetime.
President Trump and his Environmental Protection Agency are on mission to pollute our air and attack our health and environment. They’re rolling back the clean car standards, which will make our air more polluted and worsen climate change.
As a business owner, I care about the bottom line, the health of our communities and the strength of the economy we build our businesses in. That’s why protecting the fuel efficiency standards is so important.
Senators Corker and Alexander voted previously for the fuel efficiency standards, a common sense policy that’s working for Tennesseans, saving us money at the gas pump, cutting our dependency on big foreign oil, keeping us competitive in the economy, and reducing air pollution. They should continue to hold their ground and oppose President Trump and Senator Blunt’s assault on fuel efficiency standards that have been successful in saving money, reducing our consumption of foreign oil, and cutting tailpipe pollution that harms the health of our communities.
Clean car standards have dramatically reduced tailpipe pollution from cars and trucks, helping clean up our air and reduce the carbon pollution that is the main driver of climate change. Trump’s decision to gut these standards is a huge step backward for Tennesseans and Americans. 25 million Americans, including 6.3 million children, suffer from asthma. We should be protecting them. Instead, this rollback will cause more pollution, trigger more asthma attacks, and result in more emergency room visits. We’ll see more negative public health impacts like respiratory diseases and it’s only to get worse with climate change.
I strongly oppose their rollback of these commonsense protections, and I urge senators Alexander and Corker to call on the president and his administration to change course and leave the clean car standards in place.
We don't have to choose between protecting clean air, water and land - and growing our economy. In fact, strong communities depend on clean, healthy, vibrant environments to grow.
The Trump administration has proposed deep budget cuts to clean air and public health programs - including grants that communities across Tennessee rely on to keep harmful pollution of out the air we breathe and the water our children drink. Gutting funding for these essential protections would jeopardize our health and safety and make it harder for our state to build on the progress we’ve already made to make the outdoors safer for our families.
Tennessee also depends on federal grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to fight pollution from lead, and to clean up toxic sites where chemicals threaten the safety of our neighbors. All of these efforts to create a healthier environment also mean a better climate for businesses in our state, and we’ve already seen the results.
Chattanooga reinvented itself from once being considered America's dirtiest city, showing we don't have to choose between protecting health and economic growth. Our great outdoors, from the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee to farms in West Tennessee and our rivers and valleys in-between fuel our state's growth.
If President Trump succeeds in his plan to cut EPA’s budget by almost a third, the results will be more asthma attacks among children, more toxic pollution in our communities, and more lead in our drinking water. Putting the health of our communities at risk also makes it hard for small business owners to pursue new opportunities and threatens our long-term economic growth.
Senators Corker and Alexander, we are counting on you oppose these cuts to the EPA, and protect our clean air, land and water from pollution that threatens the wellbeing of our state, economic growth and health.
- Small businesses are a crucial part of the Tennessee economy – creating jobs and functioning as the literal heart and soul of our communities. Small businesses deserve the freedom to choose energy efficiency and/or solar to meet their energy needs and reduce their costs.
- TVA has consistently been moving in the wrong direction on their solar programs, adding more fees, and lowering the credit we could receive for the power we generate and send back to their grid. Going “behind the meter” may well be the only option that makes financial sense. But TVA is even making that less attractive by adding mandatory fees that have nothing to do with our energy usage. This type of rate and program design is incredibly regressive and does not provide a welcoming environment for innovative small businesses throughout the Valley.
- This mandatory, or fixed, fee means that we are paying for energy consumption before we even open our doors for business every day. These mandatory fees limit small business owners’ opportunities for controlling their bills through energy efficiency and self-generation investments.
- TVA should recognize the importance of providing a level playing field to the hundreds of thousands of small businesses throughout their territory. Providing fair, useable solar programs, and reducing anti-solar fees that economically dis-incentivize us from going solar, would simply give small business owners another tool in the toolbox as we go about running our businesses every day.
- Small businesses are the ones truly making an economic difference in Tennessee and it is important that TVA considers our interests when designing and implementing their programs and rate designs.
- Small businesses are our nation’s job creators. Since the Great Recession, small businesses have created nearly two-thirds of private-sector jobs. Common sense reforms to the outdated tax code would be a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December, 2017, largely benefits big corporations and does little to level the playing field for small businesses -- and on top of that, it raises the deficit, something you once opposed.
- In the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. corporations get a tax break from 35 to 20 perfect at the expense of small businesses and a growing debt dumped on the backs of future generations. A huge corporate tax cut is at the heart of this bill, and it’s being paid for by small businesses and entrepreneurs.
- To pay for these corporate tax breaks, the tax bill eliminates or caps deductions that middle-class small business owners rely on, including for home office expenses, tax preparation, state and local taxes and mortgage interest. Corporations will still be able to deduct state and local taxes on their profits but the owners of small pass-through businesses will not.
- The tax bill does nothing to level the playing field for small businesses. It significantly lowers the corporate tax rate but fails to close many loopholes big businesses use to avoid paying taxes, such as their ability to shift profits overseas in search of lower tax rates.
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also does little to simplify the code, and actually, makes it more complex for the more than 90 percent of small businesses that organize their firms as pass-through entities. This means owners will continue to sink time and money into complying with a byzantine and bewildering tax code, further tilting the playing field in favor of large corporations that can afford armies of accountants to search out every loophole and advantage.
- The tax bill needlessly balloons the deficit. It will increase the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion. A ballooning deficit is bad for business because it drives interest rates higher, discouraging investment and becoming a drag on economic growth. During a time of relative economic strength, unbridled deficit spending—and the risks it poses to the economy—is unneeded and irresponsible.
- Senators Alexander and Corker should lead their colleagues back to the drawing board to create a plan that helps small businesses unleash their economic potential and allows them to compete with their big business counterparts.
- In 1-2 sentences introduce yourself, your business, and your connection to your community. Who are you and why should folks listen to you? (ex: I grew up in Knoxville, where I've been a paying customer of KUB for 30+ years - at home and in my local business, ABC Bakery.)
- Share how your business would be affected by increased fixed fees for your electricity. What does mean to you, your family, or your business if you're paying more for electricity regardless of how much you actually use. (TVA’s plan to establish mandatory, fixed fees threatens to hike bills on customers before they even flip a switch in their home, and it cripples our state's ability to be a leader on clean energy. )
- Some sample lines to incorporate:
- These mandatory fees limit small business owners opportunities for controlling their bills through energy efficiency and self generation investments.
- TVA has shown that they are blind to the fact that small businesses are the economic backbone of this state. Instead, they offer preferential treatment to a small group of large industrial customers and pass those costs down to small businesses who are simply asking for fair treatment and a level playing field.
- I strongly urge TVA leadership to go back to the drawing board and create a plan that helps small businesses throughout the Tennessee Valley unleash our economic potential, and allows us to compete fairly with our big business counterparts.