As a small business owner and job creator in your district, I urge you to provide cost relief for struggling small businesses.
My business already faces double-digit health care premium increases, highest-in-the-nation energy expenses, and a newly increased EMAC tax. Should this year’s ballot initiatives pass, I would also have to contend with the impact of a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, a one-size-fits-all paid family and medical leave mandate, and an income tax surcharge on pass-through businesses.
Massachusetts is one of only eleven states without a teen or training wage. Small businesses have historically served as the first job for young workers, providing an introduction to the workforce. As the cost of hiring workers increase, it grows more difficult to justify employing teenagers and students who lack entry level skills and require extensive training. Without a teen or training wage, these individuals will be continuously crowded out of the workforce.
Increasing the tipped wage to $9/hour will mean Massachusetts servers will experience the same loss of income that Maine restaurant workers experienced. The Maine legislature was forced to override the actions of a misguided state ballot question at the request of restaurant servers due to reduced take-home pay following a minimum wage increase. Massachusetts legislators may be faced with an equally uncomfortable predicament, should this initiative pass.
Massachusetts will be only one of two states with a paid family and medical leave benefit requiring an employer contribution. The other state mandated leave programs are all employee paid and often include a small business carve-out and opt-outs for businesses with an existing program. The current proposal for paid family and medical leave is estimated to be a $1 billion tax on both employers and their workers. This would be the most expensive paid family and medical leave benefit in the nation!
These new mandates will surely factor into future hiring decisions for my business and will limit my ability to increase the number of workers I employ. Therefore, as a small business owner, I ask that you recognize the extreme financial pressures being faced by job creators and understand the sacrifices we are already making to keep residents of the Commonwealth employed. Main Street businesses seek balanced relief, so we can do what small businesses do best: Create jobs and grow local economies.