Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Senator Mark Warner comes to Cville to talk about Gig Economy

All smiles when the Senator arrives at Moonlighting HQ.
Today Virginia Senator Mark Warner met with over 30 entrepreneurs to discuss the rapidly changing definition of business ownership known today as the Gig Economy or Shared Economy. Business sectors represented included Airbnb, Etsy, and Uber. Several Etsy shop owners were in attendance and I was included among them. Several local startups were present; Moonlighting, HourWise, Class Pass, and Mom Valet.

The meeting was held at Moonlighting located on the downtown Mall. Business owners were called together to brainstorm about the best way to approach our ever changing economy. More and more people are turning to self employment and there is a movement to decouple social programs such as unemployment, disability, insurance, and workers comp from the employer. Lashing programs to the employee or small business operator that often runs several businesses, making benefits portable.

A few business owners in attendance.
The discussion led to keeping politics out of the process and developing a third party to handle the care of benefits, siting that the individual is often much more interested in providing such benefits. Some employers have circumvented paying benefits by labeling workers as independent contractors, sub-contracting employees, or hiring only part-time workers, leaving employees without benefits.

Concerns were made about self-employment taxes and the lack of new entrepreneurs not even being aware of these additional expenses until tax time. Value added taxing such as Patent Box / Innovation Box has been used successfully in other countries and is being explored by Senator Warner. It was also suggested that a program model could be created in Virginia and expanded to other States.

Senator Warner engaged in the conversation.
Mark Warner was a very popular Governor of Virginia being liked by Republicans and Democrats. He is so personable and is interested in current trends and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit.

I was able to plug our Etsy Shop Facebook page and hope that shop owners will join us to better our shops, advertise our wares, and spread the word that we're open for business globally and locally!

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