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SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS SUPPORT PRODUCT LIABILITY REFORM AND TAX BREAK FOR HEALTH CARE COSTS

 FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 19 ~PRNewswire~ -- In a nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of Private Enterprise (NAPE), small business owners supported product liability reform and a 100- percent deduction of health care costs, provided the deduction doesn't mean an increase in income tax.
 When asked about product liability reform, an overwhelming 91 percent of the respondents support limits or caps on damages for pain and suffering. Seventy-three percent said they would be willing to give up some of their rights to sue in court if less expensive legal procedures were an option.
 The present product liability system encourages injured parties to go through lengthy and costly court proceedings to seek recovery. There was a bill in Congress (S640) which, if it had passed, would have encouraged parties of lawsuits to use alternative, less expensive dispute resolution procedures. Although the bill was killed in early September, the issue is expected to resurface next year.
 Health insurance benefits for employees seem to remain out of reach for many small business owners. Less than one fifth (19.4 percent) of those surveyed provide health coverage for 75 percent or more of their employees. In almost two-thirds of the businesses, half of the employees are not receiving insurance benefits.
 Close to 80 percent of the poll respondents said they would be more likely to provide health insurance coverage if Congress changed the tax laws to allow a 100 percent deduction of the costs. Also, 57 percent of those who currently provide a basic plan said that a 100 percent tax deduction would prompt them to provide more comprehensive coverage. (Under present law, a 100 percent deduction is only allowed for C corporations. Sole proprietors, partnerships, and S corporations can deduct only 25 percent of costs.) However, 43 percent of those surveyed stated that they would not support the 100 percent deduction if it meant paying higher general income taxes.
 "These survey results re-emphasize our need to support reforms in both the health care and legal systems that will contain costs instead of putting them on the backs of small business owners," said D'Ann Dagen, executive director of NAPE.
 Respondents were also asked about their net profit margins. Over the past five years, 44 percent have seen their net profits decrease, 31 percent report an increase and 25 percent say profits have stayed the same.
 They were also asked what they would do if they started over in business, knowing what they know now. Seventy-one percent said they would start the same business and do a few things differently. However, 15 percent said they would work for someone else instead.
 The poll, sent to 44,985 owners~operators of small businesses, was answered by 999 members of the National Association of Private Enterprise. For a copy of the quarterly ballot results or other small business research data, call Andra Bennett at 817-870-1971. NAPE is comprised primarily of entrepreneurs with 10 or fewer employees.
 -0- 11~19~92
 ~CONTACT: Andra Bennett of NAPE, 817-870-1971~


CO: National Association of Private Enterprise ST: Texas IN: HEA SU:

MH -- DC006 -- 2792 11~19~92 10:37 EST
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Date:Nov 19, 1992
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