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June 22, 2007

America Outdoors E-News

 
40 New Business Reports on the AO Website under Member Resources Minimum Wage to Increase to $5.85 per Hour on July 24, 2007
S. 1139/ H.R. 2016, the National Landscape Conservation System Act AO to Produce International Marketing and Management Conference in December
Legislative Updates Forest Service Taking Comments on Strategy to Help Communities and Federal Agencies Preserve Open Space
WY Governor Freudenthal (D) Selects Physician to Replace Sen. Thomas    
40 New Business Reports on the AO Website under Member Resources
  America Outdoors members now have access to more than 40 new and updated articles from the Business Library. The reports are available under Member Resources in the password protected area of the AO website. You'll need the new password to access this area. Current members will receive the password in the mail this month. You can also call or email the AO office to receive it. The new reports available to members are listed below. Please note that Congress has revised some of the rules regarding deductibility of business expenses.

Fifty Cash Flow Ideas * Value Your Business * Buy-Sell Agreements, Succession Planning * Assessing the Business' Health & Prosperity * 20 Ways to Build Your Retirement Fund * Selling Your Business * Criteria for Setting Your Compensation * Auto and Equipment Leasing * Rules on Travel, Auto, Meal and Entertainment Deductions * Profiling and Presenting Your Company to the World * Employment Contracts * Key Executive Insurance * Renting and Leasing Property * How to Value & Protect Goodwill & Intangible Assets * How to Protect Against Misuse of Business Ownership * Before You Buy a Business * Protecting Confidential Information * Compensation Benefits * 12 Ways to "Multiply" a Business' Value * How to Get More Capital for Your Business * Analyzing Your Own Business * Loans to and from Your Business * Prepare Your Business for Sale * Impact of Points on Your Mortgage Cost * Pricing Your Products * Cash Flow Analysis * Business Continuity * Financing a Business * Wills and Estates * Getting Your Life Insurance in Order * Your Home" Mortgage, Insurance, Taxes * 44 Investment Actions to Take Today * 27 Retirement Ideas * How the IRS Values a Family Business * Financing & Refinancing Properties * How to Value the Equity in Your Business * Investment Formulas - Hold or Sell * Investment Rates & Bond Prices * Maximize Retirement Income * How to Evaluate Real Property Investments
Minimum Wage to Increase to $5.85 per Hour
on July 24, 2007
  On May 25, 2007 President Bush signed legislation (H.R. 2206) that included increasing the federal minimum wage for the first time since 1997. The Act, referred to as the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 contains the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (Title VIII, Subtitle A) and the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 (Title VIII, Subtitle B).

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 increases the federal minimum wage rate to:
  • $5.85, effective 60 days after the date of enactment (i.e., July 24, 2007)
  • $6.55, effective 12 months after the 60th day (i.e., July 24, 2008)
  • $7.25, effective 24 months after that 60th day (i.e., July 24, 2009)
Numerous States Will Be Affected

Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages. The minimum wage rate in several states is tied to the federal rate in various ways so it is important to check how this federal minimum wage increase may affect the state(s) you do business in. Currently, there are five states that have no minimum wage law (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee).

More information regarding wages and minimum wage can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor website

The Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 contains some provisions that may be of interest to payroll professionals. One item of interest relates to FICA tax credit on employee tips. The Act freezes the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour for the sole purpose of determining the employer's business tax credit for the employer's share of social security and Medicare (FICA) taxes paid on employee tips above the minimum wage (IRC §45B). Another item of interest is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The Act extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for qualified individuals who begin work for an employer after December 31, 2007 and before September 1, 2011.

This information was provided by Quickbooks. Members receive discounts of up to 20% on Quickbooks products when order through the AO website. Go to Member Benefits and scroll down to the link in item number 8.
   
Legislative Updates
  Appropriations for Federal Agencies - Senate Votes More Money for Water Quality and NPS Operations

The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee marked up and reported the FY 2008 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill this week.

The Senate increases funding for EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund by $199 million above the President's budget. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) funds water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, nonpoint source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management.

Overall, the funding for the Park Service is $2.46 billion, $172 million above the FY 2007 level and $98 million above the President's FY 2008 request. The Senate included the increase in park operations (nearly $200 million) that was in both the President's budget and approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate did not include the Centennial Challenge funding ($50 million provided in the House).
Information on Forest Service and BLM funding was not available at the time the bulletin was published.
   
AO to Produce International Marketing and Management Conference in December
  More collaborative learning and next generation marketing and management tools for you to take home to grow your business will be featured at AO's new International Marketing and Management Conference (Confluence), in Reno, December 5 - 7.

"The unique features of this new event are the strategies or tools you'll customize for implementation in your business. Less talking heads and more interactive, collaborative learning sessions led by experts are being planned," according to David Brown, America Outdoors' executive director. "The heavy focus on marketing, electronic media, personnel training and management strategies is based on the input we received from members and the AO board. Technology changes from one year to the next and successful companies have to be on the leading edge to distinguish their businesses in a cluttered travel marketplace."


Federal agency personnel will be also on hand to discuss new permit and contracting policies in one of the most important government affairs events for the industry this year. The Forest Service is completing a new permit and fee policy, which should be published for comment by the conference. It will be discussed in detail at the meeting. Mark your calendar and plan on attending AO's International Marketing and Management Conference at the Silver Legacy Resort, December 5-7. Room rates are $64 single/double for Sunday through Friday and $89 on Saturday night if you stay over. Watch for a registration form in the mail in mid July. Online registration will be available soon.
 
S. 1139/ H.R. 2016
the National Landscape Conservation System Act
  Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM) and Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ) have introduced legislation (S. 1139 and H.R. 2016, respectively) to establish the National Landscape Conservation System Act to be administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Each seeks to create "organic" legislation for this emerging system of public lands.

The identical bills would establish the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) and include all BLM lands designated as a national monument, national conservation area, outstanding natural area, wilderness study area, component of the National Trails Systems, component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, or component of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Additionally, any area that is designated by Congress to be administered for "conservation purposes" would be included in the NLCS.

A major flaw with the legislation is that recreation is not mentioned as a purpose for establishment of the system, which could mean the elimination or diminution of many traditional recreational activities. The organic act does not change the authorizing legislation for each area but it will set direction for future management and any new areas established under the authority.

Foundation President George Lea, in a letter to Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), which was quoted in the Federal Parks and Recreation Newsletter said "Under FLPMA all the lands that BLM administers are managed for multiple use and sustained yields, in other words for responsible use and conservation; and the entire National Public Lands System deserves legislative and public recognition."

The law reads:
(a) Establishment- In order to conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations, there is established in the Bureau of Land Management the National Landscape Conservation System.
To view a full copy of the bill go to Government Affairs tab at americaoutdoors.org.

America Outdoors plans to offer amendments to correct this deficiency.
   
Forest Service Taking Comments on Strategy to Help Communities and Federal Agencies Preserve Open Space
  Rapid development of forestland is jeopardizing the long-term health and function of our forests. More than 34 million acres of open space were lost to development between 1982 and 2001, about 6,000 acres per day, 4 acres a minute. Of this loss, over 10 million acres are in forestland. Looking ahead, the Forests on the Edge project estimates that 44 million acres of private forest lands could experience sizeable increases in housing density by 2030.

As we reported in the last AO bulletin, demographers expect the population to increase by 40% from 300 million today to 420 million in 2050. Housing development and the cost of building products will sky rocket in addition to the added pressures on open space.

The Forest Service is building a national strategy to identify how the agency can best help conserve open space, with an emphasis on partnerships and collaborative approaches. The agency is interested in addressing the effects of the loss of open space on private forests; on National Forests and Grasslands and the surrounding landscape; and on forests in cities, suburbs, and towns.

The Forest Service recognizes that it is not the only contributor to open space conservation; it is only one among many. The Forest Service also acknowledges that the agency's role in open space conservation is not to regulate development or land use, but is to provide expertise, resources, information, and programs.

Public input is welcome. Submit comments. For more information about open space and current Forest Service conservation tools, view our publication Cooperating Across Boundaries and the Resources and Tools page.
   
Wyoming Governor Freudenthal (D) Selects Physician to Replace Sen. Thomas
  Sen. John Barrasso (R) was appointed today by Wyoming’s Governor to succeed the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R), who died June 4 after a seven-month battle with leukemia. Barrasso is a respected physician who has served in the Wyoming Senate for five years. He is 54. Barrasso will have to begin running for office soon if he wants to serve beyond 2008 because he will have to run for election next year. Wyoming’s Governor is a Democrat, but according to state law was required to select a Republican from among 3 candidates nominated by the state’s Republican Party.
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America Outdoors® Inc., PO Box 10847, Knoxville, TN, 37939

America Outdoors Staff Title E-mail address
David L. Brown Executive Director dbrown@americaoutdoors.org
Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
Office Phone 865-558-3595
Office Fax 865-558-3598

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