Weekly Issues

Navigating Obamacare’s latest developments

There has been a lot of news on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act health exchanges on Oct. 1. Here is a digest of some of the most important deadlines and events facing small business owners.

The federal health care exchange online rollout has proven to be near disastrous, and the law has been beset with delays. While the latest delay pushes the official launch of the federal Small Business Health Options (SHOP) website to November 2014, California’s small business online exchange for employers fired up Monday.

Covered California opens call center

Covered California officially opened its Fresno service center Wednesday with 150 representatives already handling calls for the health insurance exchange set up as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Located at the 7201 N. Palm Ave., the office is occupying the 570,000 square-foot northwest Fresno office building that was filled by Bank of America’s call center until the company vacated in July.
Speaking at the opening, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said 150 representatives started taking calls there on Monday while as many as 280 will be hired by the end of December.
Together with call centers already set up and running in Rancho Cordova and Contra Costa County, Covered California has nearly 500 representatives answering questions and helping people and businesses sign up with one of 11 carriers offering health insurance through the exchange.

Jamie Brisco

Dale Brisco, Inc.

What we do: Dale Brisco Inc. is an industrial metal fabrication company that caters to several different industries. Our specialties include piping, ducting, material conveying and dust collection systems as well as laser cutting, welding, precision fabrication and powder coating.

$6.5M Visalia children’s museum to break ground

A long-awaited ground breaking is set early next month for a $6.5 million interactive children’s museum in downtown Visalia.
“We can’t wait to get going,” said Bill Whitlatch, board member for the ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum that has garnered more than a million dollars in local support to build and equip the 15,000 square-foot facility.

Work begins on Campus Pointe retail component

Although a group of tall palm trees and some piping are the only indication of new development at The Square at Campus Pointe on the eastern end of Fresno State, the multi-use project is moving after delays attributed to sub-par economic conditions and a slow commercial real estate market.

New biz laws in the wings for 2014

Leave of absence rules will change and more protections against discrimination will go into effect, but the minimum wage hike has caused the biggest stir in the local business community when it comes to new state laws for 2014.
On Sept. 25, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 10, which raises the state minimum wage from $8 per hour to $9 per hour beginning on July 1, 2014, then to $10 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

Credit unions fighting to Protect tax-exempt status

With tax reform on the Congressional agenda, an old idea has been floated once again to cut the federal income tax exemption afforded to credit unions.
The discussion has struck a chord with credit union associations across the country whose members are certain of where the threat originated.

Prop. 39 money sets schools on energy efficiency binge

While the money’s not in hand just yet, Valley school districts are planning for the largest infusion of cash ever for some needed energy saving retrofits.
Recently, the California Department of Education announced $381 million from last year's voter-approved Proposition 39 corporate tax initiative to update aging campuses with lighting upgrades, new ventilation systems and other fixes.

Tools, services make it easier to hire military veterans

B esides a desire to help veterans returning from military service, agricultural companies see vets as a solid investment.
Matching and placement service Career Warriors of Visalia points out that by hiring responsible, self-disciplined problem-solvers — with quantitative decision-making and risk analysis skills developed under the most arduous of conditions — the agricultural, manufacturing and business sectors gain loyal, talented employees who thrive under pressure.

New owner seeks revamp of online food delivery

Long-time Clovis resident Charles Adkins has purchased the territorial rights for an online service that delivers food from local restaurants to businesses and homes.
Adkins said the Food To You company got its start in the Sacramento area, predating the Internet with its start as a call-in service in 1993.