Last night’s presidential donnybrook provided the perfect warm-up to today’s deadline for Massachusetts residents to register to vote in the November 6 election.
The single most important action that you as an employer can take to strengthen the business climate of Massachusetts is to cast a ballot for the people who will determine public policy during the coming years. The outcome of the races for president, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, and state legislator will determine the people who will set public policy on taxation, trade, employment law and health care.
Your vote will help to determine whether Massachusetts continues to balance its budget without raising taxes on small businesses and workers. Your vote will determine whether the Massachusetts Legislature freezes unemployment insurance rates early next year and averts hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary levies. And your vote will determine who makes appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and other key regulatory agencies.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) is a non-partisan employer association and does not endorse candidates for public office. But AIM encourages its thousands of member employers to participate in the political process guided by the belief that only a vibrant, private-sector economy creates opportunity that binds the social, governmental, and economic foundations of our commonwealth.
Looking to evaluate the candidates?
The first step is to determine who is running. Visit the Secretary of State’s Web site to view a static list or go to the AIMVoice information system, enter your business address and find out who is on the ballot in your district. The usual names may not be seeking your vote this time around since Massachusetts recently went through redistricting.
Then visit candidate Web sites and engage the candidates directly in the community on issues that impact job creation. Here are three key employer issues to ask candidates for elected office:
- Tax & Fiscal Policy – Ask candidates if they support having a predictable, responsible, and long-term state fiscal and tax policy. Some candidates have a dedicated a spot on their Web sites for “Revenue.”
- Mandated Benefits – Ask candidates if they reject adding mandatory health-care benefits to insurance or if they reject legislation mandating that all employers provide paid sick days. Massachusetts legislators added two mandated benefits this year, making small and mid-size companies pay higher premiums – just a month after a health-care cost containment bill became law. Mandates don’t allow for flexibility in benefit design and ultimately increase premiums.
- Competition – Ask candidates if they support efforts to make Massachusetts competitive against other states. Reforming the unemployment insurance system, the independent contractor law, the mandatory treble damages law, or protecting existing legal protections for intellectual property by rejecting legislation to weaken non-compete agreements, are key points.
What other key employer issues are you talking about with candidates? Please leave your comments below or email me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employers may register to vote:
- in person or by mail, by completing a mail-in registration form and delivering it to your city or town election office, or
- at any local election office in any city or town in the state and at any registration event you encounter anywhere in Massachusetts, or
- when applying for or renewing your driver's license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or when applying for service at a designated voter registration agency. Registration forms are also available at all colleges, universities, high schools and vocational schools.
The Secretary of State provides full instructions online.