Small Business Day on Beacon Hill was held on April 10, 2018 and organized by the State Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in partnership with Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Mass. Restaurant Association, Associated Industries of Mass., Mass. Package Stores Assoc. and Massachusetts Food Association.
The event was held at the Omni Parker Hotel followed up by attendees visiting with their state legislators to discuss pending issues that may have an effect on their businesses.
The issues that were discussed are all ballot questions for which other organizations who are in favor of these actions have procured the necessary signatures to have the question placed on the ballot this fall.
The following questions will be placed on the ballot unless and until the state legislature is able to work out an agreement and satisfy the ballot question originators that would result in them pulling the issue from the ballot. Only the originators can pull the question once the process to place the question on the ballot is completed.
- $15 minimum wage ramping up through 2022 and then indexed for inflation
- Tipped wage increase to $9.00 ramped through 2022
- Income Tax Surcharge
- Adds 4% income tax surcharge for income over $1 million
- Sales Tax Reduction from 6.25% to 5%
- Paid Family and Medical Leave
- MA is one of only two states that still require Sunday/Holiday pay for retail shops. This requirement along with the increased minimum wage would effectively raise the Sunday retail pay rate to $22.50 not including other employer costs which if included raise the hourly pay to almost $25.00 for Sundays and holidays.
- 39 states currently have a training/teen wage to mitigate the cost to businesses to balance ever increasing labor costs. MA does not seem inclined to favor teen rates or training rates fearing abuse but may be open to seasonal rates that last for a fixed period i.e. 90 days.
Income Tax Surcharge
- Small business owners should note that their business may considered a pass-through entity unless you have protection from incorporation laws. You should consult a tax and/or legal advisor.
Sales Tax Reduction
- The originators of this action believe that a lower income tax will help fight against MA residents shopping in tax free New Hampshire and on-line.
- This question also includes a permanent annual tax holiday.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
This question would apply paid family and medical leave as follows:
- All businesses regardless of size
- 16 weeks job protected paid family leave includes maternity, paternity, birth/adoptions or care for an ailing family member
- 26 weeks job protected paid medical leave for non-work-related leave.
- Allows for 90% of weekly wages capped at $1,000 per week indexed for inflation
- Benefit is paid for by a .63% of annual wages of employee tax split at least 50/50 with employer. Employer may contribute more if they wish.
- If a business contracts with a self-employed person then the contracting company would be required to contribute half that required for regular employees.
The panel of legislators, lobbyists and governor were asked a series of questions and I’d like to share a few that may help you to take action if you feel passionate about any of these issues.
- To the panel of lobbyists; What can we do counter the labor lobby? Join your local chamber of commerce or industry association. This may sound like a shameless plug for the chamber and by reading this you are already a member but it should be noted that chambers’ and industry associations’ key benefit to their members is advocacy. In fact, organized advocacy is the reason chambers, guilds and associations were created. The larger we are, the stronger we are. Please urge your colleagues and friends to join the chamber so we have a strong organized voice.
- To the Governor; What can we do to impact legislation that affects our businesses? Get to know your state representatives and senator. The best way to do that is to invite them to your business for a tour and discussion with you and with your employees. Let them see what you do and let them know you are paying attention.
- From the legislative panel; arguments and presentations around minimum wage, paid family and medical leave are emotional topics that many people support. Small businesses need to get their message out in a way that is also personal so tell your story to your leaders.
If you have any questions, would like more information or would like to provide input to us for these issues or other issues causing difficulty for your business please let me know at email@example.com.