Policy Updates

Chamber Takes “No” Position on Four Ballot Questions

The Public Policy and Executive Committees of the Chamber met to discuss the four ballot questions on the Nov. 2014 ballot and concluded that these four ballot initiatives would create policies harmful to the business community. Therefore, the Chamber is opposing these four questions.

The following provides a summary of the ballot question and a brief reasoning for the Chamber’s positions:

Question 1 seeks to repeal the indexing provision recently applied to the gas tax in Mass. This tax relates directly to its use and will be utilized to accelerate the rehabilitation of our infrastructure. It is no secret that our bridges and roads are in need of repair and there is insufficient funding for those needed updates. Indexing of the gas tax to inflation allows for additional revenue to aid in fixing structural inefficiencies before they pose a real threat to public safety.

Question 2 seeks to expand the coverage of  the bottle bill to include water, flavored water, sports drinks and juices. This will create a significant financial burden to our small businesses who must accommodate returned containers as well as distributors and bottlers. We believe that this change will not create a drastic increase in the amount of containers recycled and will only create higher costs.This past legislative session we advocated for a bill that would push comprehensive, single stream recycling and in our opinion this method would capture a greater recycling rate than expansion of the deposit law.

Question 3 seeks to repeal the Casino Law (or expanding gaming law) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Repeal of this law would mean the loss of thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth at a time when we cannot afford to lose employment opportunities. Though we are not a site for a gaming facility there are two within a close enough proximity that many of our local businesses would have an opportunity to do business with these locations. Further, we did not feel that any of us have a right to tell the communities that have voted in favor of hosting a facility they are wrong and reverse their own decision. And, finally, there are already three licenses that have been awarded and businesses who have spent tens of millions of dollars in reliance of their license and agreement with the host community. In our opinion, removing their license and ability to move forward in accordance with contracts that they have signed opens the state up to potential liability and lawsuit.

Question 4 seeks to mandate that businesses offer paid and unpaid sick time to their employees. We believe that this strips the employer’s ability and flexibility to structure their employee benefit packages how they see fit. We feel this to be too far an intrusion into the board rooms and corner offices of businesses and a severe elimination of the autonomy of business owners over the affairs of their business.