Member News – June 7, 2017

Member News

 

First Columbia Hosts Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening for New Danville Branch

First Columbia will celebrate the opening of its new community banking office at 400 Walnut St., Danville, with a ribbon cutting and a pair of grand opening events. The ribbon cutting will be held tomorrow at 8 a.m. at the new branch. Then, later in the day, as well as the following day, June 9, there will be a pair of public grand opening events from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., which will feature community picnic buffets.  

 

Next First Step Seminar in Bloomsburg Set for June 9

Have you ever thought about starting your own business, but weren’t quite sure if it would be right for you? Or maybe you want to know what paperwork you need in order to open your doors? These and several other common questions for small businesses will covered at the next First Step Seminar given by the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on Friday, June 9, at noon at the Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc. Business Incubator, 151 E. Main St., Bloomsburg. Laura Haden of the SBDC will speak about the different legal structures a business can be, how to write a business plan and create financial projections, and much more. Cost is $15 for the First Step book. Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registration is preferred. Register by calling 570-408-4334, email or online

 

Bucknell SBDC to Host First Step Seminar in Lewisburg June 14

Individuals interested in the First Step Seminar but who may be unable to attend the workshop in Bloomsburg on June 9 are welcome to attend the same workshop given by the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on Wednesday, June 14, at 1 p.m. at the DeWitt Building, third floor, 416 Market St., Lewisburg. Attendees will learn about differences among business organization structures, business plan development, how to obtain financing, marketing of products and services and applications and licenses needed to start a company. Cost is $25 and veterans are welcome at no charge. Register by calling Shelley Gadoury at 570-577-1249 or online

 

Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media Workshop

The Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will hold a workshop titled “Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media” on Tuesday, June 20, at 1 p.m. at the DeWitt Building, third floor, 416 Market St., Lewisburg. This workshop will present tips and tricks for successful email marketing, including how to get your messages opened and read, shared and socially visible. Growing a healthy list, creating great content with a mobile-friendly format, effective subject lines and resulting tracking and reporting are among the topics that will also be covered. Cost is $35 and veterans are welcome at no charge. Register by calling Shelley Gadoury at 570-577-1249 or online

 

Children’s Museum Hosts Special Needs Night

The Children’s Museum, 2 W. 7th St., Bloomsburg, will host Special Needs Night on Friday, June 23, from 6-8 p.m. Come to a fun night out for families with special needs. Enjoy a reduced number of visitors, space and freedome to explore at your own pace, adapted exhibits, a quiet area, fun craft and sensory activities and an opportunity to network with other families. Special Needs Night is a free event held quarterly. 

IRS Announces HSA/HDHP Limits

From ChamberChoice

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have become one of the more popular spending accounts for both employees and employers. HSAs are tax-favored IRA-type trust or custodial accounts that can be contributed to by, or on behalf of, “eligible individuals” who are covered by certain High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs). The HSA can be used to pay for certain qualified medical expenses of the eligible individuals and their spouses and tax dependents.

Only an “eligible individual” can establish an HSA and make HSA contributions or have them made on his or her behalf. There are two groups of individuals who are ineligible for HSA contributions: those who can be claimed as tax dependents, and those who are entitled to Medicare. As a side note, “entitled to Medicare” means enrolled in and receiving Medicare benefits. Thus, mere eligibility for Medicare benefits (without enrollment) will not disqualify an individual from HSA eligibility.

An HSA-eligible individual can make contributions (up to statutory limits) to an HSA and get an “above-the-line” tax deduction, which means that the contributions reduce the individual’s adjusted gross income before itemized or standard deductions are considered. On the other hand, instead of an “above the line” deduction, many employers permit employees to contribute to an HSA on a pre-tax basis through the employer’s cafeteria plan [Note: An employee having deductions done pretax through an employer cannot also take an above the line deduction on tax forms]. Any investment earnings generated on HSA funds are also generally tax-free. HSA funds withdrawn for qualified medical expenses escape federal taxation entirely.

In order to be eligible to establish an HSA, an individual must be covered under an HDHP for the months for which contributions are made to the HSA. In addition, an eligible individual cannot have coverage under any non-HDHP that provides coverage for any benefit covered by the HDHP. IRS guidance interprets this coverage restriction to mean that any other health coverage, that is not a HDHP would disqualify an otherwise eligible individual unless it only constitutes preventive care, certain permitted coverage, or certain permitted insurance. As a reminder, this prohibition on having other non-HDHP coverage includes health plans such as health Flexible Spending Accounts (health FSAs) or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

Recently, the IRS issued the inflation adjusted amounts applicable to HSAs and HDHPs. The following chart compares the 2017 and 2018 limitations.

It’s not too early to start reviewing current employee benefits offered and planning on what to provide in 2018. An employer currently offering a HDHP in conjunction with an HSA needs to ensure that any health plan limitations will meet the IRS requirements. 

As a benefit to Chamber members, JRG Advisors, the management team behind ChamberChoice, are available on a consultative basis to assist members in planning their healthcare benefits offerings. They can be reached at 1-800-377-3539 or visit their website for more information. 

Budget Discussions Enter Final Month

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

With the last month of the fiscal year officially underway, House and Senate lawmakers return to session for what are sure to be several busy weeks with a focus on the budget and related policy items. The House has even extended its week by scheduling Thursday, June 8 as a voting session day.

Much attention will be paid to the General Assembly’s efforts to pass and send to the governor’s desk S.B. 1, a comprehensive public pension reform measure that would offer different retirement options to new state and public school employees, as opposed to the current, defined benefit pension plan that has proven to be unsustainable. The PA Chamber is advocating for this measure to rein in the steady growth of the public pension systems and ensure that they can remain intact for future generations of workers. Gov. Wolf has indicated that he would sign the legislation. According to a Pennlive story, the governor has confirmed that he has worked with legislative leaders toward the “matrix of a good pension reform bill,” adding, “I’m happy to sign a pension reform bill that makes it to my desk.”

In the House, business-related bills on the calendar include: H.B. 1213, which would provide much-needed limitations on the practice of taxing districts spot appealing individual property assessments.

It is possible the Senate may consider bills of interest to members that have already received committee approval: S.B.128, which would ban municipalities from passing leave and sick-day requirements stronger than those mandated by the state and federal government; S.B. 586, which would provide much-needed limitations on the practice of taxing districts spot appealing individual property assessments; and S.B. 725, which would require approval of the General Assembly before implementation of a state plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Williams Mobile App Featured on WBRE-TV

The new mobile app being developed by Williams to help workers from out of the area working on the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline project find local goods and services, was featured last week on a news report on WBRE-TV, which also included interviews with Chamber members Wagner’s Trophies and Steph’s Subs

Any local business that would like to be included on this app can register, free of charge. Follow the link below from the Chamber’s Facebook page to view the video clip. 

North Shore Railroad Celebrates “Triple Crown” of Industry Awards

North Shore Railroad president and CEO Gary Shields speaks at last Friday’s awards ceremony.

On Friday, June 2, North Shore Railroad celebrated the three industry awards that it received this year with a reception and awards ceremony in Northumberland. The short line railroad company received three awards in 2017: the Marketing Award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Railway Age Short Line Railroad of the Year Award, and the Norfolk Southern Short Line of the Year honor. While it is usually impressive to win just one of these prestigious industry awards in a given year, to win all three is remarkable and unprecedented. Representatives from all three organizations came in from out of town to be in attendance and present North Shore with the awards.

See the video below from the Chamber’s Facebook page for Chamber President Fred Gaffney’s brief remarks at the ceremony.