Does Julie Lassa Hate Small Businesses?

The president will be in La Crosse on Thursday to talk in detail about his plan to hike the overtime exemption for salaried workers. Here’s the gist of the new policy, as I wrote earlier this year at RightWisconsin:

Currently, an employee at minimum must earn at least $23,660 annually and execute managerial duties in order to be exempt from overtime pay.

The new rule would increase that minimum to $42,000 – a nearly 83% increase – and place significant burdens on small businesses and startups that want to grow. The rationale, touted in liberal editorials and the president’s own diatribes, is that workers might spend hours well beyond 40 in the office but not receive additional compensation.

For the uninitiated: Employees are classified as either exempt or non-exempt. Non-exempt employees are usually paid hourly and receive overtime compensation for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week. Exempt employees are often salaried, but can be paid hourly, and do not receive overtime compensation. An employee’s status is usually stated explicitly in their contract or at-will employment agreement.

Take into account the hours the average educator is glorified for serving each week. If school districts are suddenly on the hook to compensate for all of this extra time, don’t expect each and every educator to make more money. Instead, the number of teachers will decrease, leading to larger class sizes and layoffs — the exact thing Democrats in Wisconsin said would happen under Act 10, all because of a well-intended but grossly misguided liberal policy.

Over on the Facebook wall for my gal Jules Lassa, she celebrated the president’s initiative. As a vocal and involved citizen, I shared with her my concerns for my business, only to be steamrolled by her apologists.

Douglas Brown says I’d pay my people $1.00 an hour if I could get away with it. He’d be surprised to know I pay many interns $10 an hour, well above the state’s minimum wage.

Jeff Bloomdahl says the company is poorly organized and the issue has to do with management. But that’s absurd — our business model has everything to do with built-in upticks and downturns around campaign season and a very generous and forgiving policy on vacation time and days off. Or that everyone gets two weeks off around Christmas.

They’d all be surprised to know, I’m sure, that I’ve personally grossed $4,034.62 this year, investing the rest of the profits into the company.

Sure I’ve made mistakes since starting OpenBox in 2013. (Or did I? If you got a business, you didn’t build that, the president taught us. So if I got a business that goes under, is that not my fault, either?) That’s part of the great risk and great adventure of entrepreneurship.

Julie Lassa and her followers live in a world where corporations are bad, “the man” is out to get them, and only the government is the arbiter of beneficence. For a party that is said to thrive on inclusion of people and ideas, they don’t seem to be open to the notion of a business, not the government, doing right in the world. That’s too bad; it would be good for the Senator to consider another view, and whether her tired, liberal policies are doing anyone any good.

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.