Advocacy Action Center

Contact Your Legislators Today on Seeking Balance on Costly Labor Mandate Ballot Measures!!

Dear RAM Member, 
July 3rd is rapidly approaching and with it comes the deadline for ballot question campaigns to file their signatures and advance on to the statewide November ballot.  As you know, RAM has a question to lower the sales tax to 5% and to establish a permanent annual Sales Tax Holiday.  We have the signatures ready to file and are prepared to go to the ballot. 
Another group, the labor-funded Raise Up MA, has potentially three questions that may appear on the ballot - a $15 minimum wage; mandatory Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) for all employees; and a constitutional amendment to add a 4% income tax surcharge on all income over $1 million.  They have the signatures ready to file and also are prepared to go to the ballot (although the fate of the income tax surcharge question is up to the MA Supreme Judicial Court to decide whether or not it is in proper form to appear on the ballot.)
Add the nurse staffing ratio initiative being pushed by a certain nurses' union and these labor and income tax questions could cost consumers and taxpayers in excess of $5 billion each year.  All of this comes on the heels of a costly Paid Sick leave law and a past minimum wage increase that we just completed in 2017.  More recent economic pressures include the onerous and costly EMAC Supplement now unfairly hitting employers who are left with no defense.   
The Legislature wants to strike a compromise on the sales tax question and the minimum wage and PFML questions, avoiding a costly ballot fight.  RAM and other members of the business community have spent the past two months working with the Legislature and Raise Up toward that goal, looking for a balanced compromise that both sides could agree to. 
The threat of the ballot is real, on both sides.  The Legislature is in the middle, trying to strike a deal that satisfies both parties.  It is extremely important that your legislators now hear from you and your fellow employers on the real economic pressures you are feeling now, with Paid Sick leave and the EMAC, and those you fear, like a future $15 minimum wage and PFML mandate.   
I also want to share with you a letter that Raise Up sent recently to the Legislature and the media, regarding our ongoing negotiations, the letter is here.    
This statement was unexpected and was a direct attack on RAM, our position, and those of the entire business community. RAM issued the following statement in response:
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts remains focused on supporting our small retail businesses, as well as seniors and low income families, by seeking a reduction in the highly regressive sales tax and the establishment of a permanent sales tax holiday.  Although our ballot proposal has the support of almost 70% of voters in a recent public poll, we remain committed to working with legislators, other employer organizations, and other negotiators to see if a legislative solution can be reached. With 3 ½ weeks of negotiating time to go, we remain focused on reaching a compromise that is fair to all parties and will provide much needed support to our Main Streets, our small businesses, and our economy.
As you know, MA is one of only two states (RI) that require time and a half pay in retail stores on Sundays, a requirement that only applies to the retail industry and an outdated remnant of the Blue Laws enacted in 1982.  Our members were further frustrated two years ago when a law was passed to clarify that in-state fulfillment centers of online sellers were not subject to the same premium pay requirements.  If the minimum wage is to be increased again, this outlying issue has to be dealt with, or more stores will go dark. 
Despite this distraction, RAM and the employer community remain at the table, continuing to work in good faith with all parties involved in an effort to achieve a balanced compromise in the best interests of our members.
YOU have an important role to play as well.  Contact your legislators today and discuss with them the impact that all of these proposals would have on your business, if left unmitigated
The Legislature is hearing form the other side, and now they need to hear from you. 
Thank you.

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