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Ruling leaves LI small businesses wary

For Long Island's legion of small businesses, the Supreme Court's decision Thursday upholding health care reform ushers in an era of uncertainty.

Rob Basso, founder and owner of Advantage Payroll Services, based in Freeport, said he believed the Affordable Care Act will hurt small businesses. "For me it's all about employment, and this bill is not going to help small businesses in employment, because it'll increase expenses across the board," he said.

Advantage Payroll handles payroll for other small companies. "Everybody's payout is going to be higher," Basso said, "so as individual business owners, the tax burden will be greater."

Some of the law's effects, some said, are already present. "At the end of the day, the decision is not going to change things in New York all that much," said Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, the Island's largest business group. "New York was already heading in this direction." The association runs a health insurance exchange that small businesses who are members can use.

Katherine Heaviside, president of Epoch 5 Public Relations, a Huntington company with 18 employees, said she feared that because Long Island small businesses tend to pay employees more than businesses nationally do, they would not qualify for the small-business tax exemptions written into the act.

She said, however, that it was still difficult to predict what the act's effects on businesses would be.

"Mostly what I've heard: Everyone is somewhat confused -- which basically says that our health care system is far more complex than it should be," Heaviside said. "No one really knows how this will be implemented."

Basso agreed that it's still unclear what the effect of the law will be.

"It's everybody's guess as to what it's going to mean in 2014."

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