AIM to Governor: Send Employer Health Assessment Back to Legislature

Posted by Rick Lord on Jul 12, 2017 3:11:18 PM

Editor's note - AIM delivered the following letter from CEO Richard C. Lord to Governor Charles D. Baker this afternoon.

Dear Governor Baker:

On behalf of the 4,000 employers of Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), we strongly urge you to send back to the Legislature the employer health-care assessment provisions contained in the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget, along with a recommended amendment that includes the reforms agreed to by AIM, your administration and other interested parties.

The FY18 budget now on your desk would require employers to cover the $200 million financial shortfall in the MassHealth program while omitting the long-term structural reforms essential to addressing health-care cost imbalances in both the commercial and public insurance markets.

The result is that employers – who already struggle with the rising cost of providing health insurance to their employees – will also be forced to assume the responsibility for funding an unsustainable MassHealth program.

The assessment comes at a time when Massachusetts employers have almost nothing to show in the way of cost savings and efficiencies four years after the state’s cost-containment law took effect.  In the three years that the state has been measuring the year-over-year growth in health care expenditures, we have exceeded the cost control benchmark twice.

Massachusetts employers are proud to lead the nation in providing health care coverage to employees. Sixty-five percent of Bay State companies offer health insurance coverage compared with 56 percent of employers nationwide. A full 100 percent of Massachusetts employers with 200 or more employees offer coverage.

In 2006, employers joined with doctors, hospitals, patient advocates, and lawmakers to forge a health-reform law that required everyone to share the responsibility for improving access to health care.  We ask you to insist that same sense of shared responsibility be applied now to solve the MassHealth shortfall by returning the employer-assessment provisions to the General Court and insisting that the comprehensive compromise forged by the business community and your administration be included in the final budget. 

Thank you for considering AIM’s position.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly at 617-262-1180.


 Lord_Richard C.jpg

Richard C. Lord, President & CEO
Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Topics: Budget, Employer Health Assessment, health insur

Beacon Hill Passes Health Assessment Without Reforms

Posted by Katie Holahan on Jul 7, 2017 12:10:00 PM

The Massachusetts Legislature today passed a Fiscal Year 2018 budget that requires employers to cover a financial shortfall in the MassHealth program, but does not make the long-term structural changes needed to solve the problem.

statehousedome1.jpg“The 4,000 employer members of Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) are deeply disappointed that Massachusetts has refused to take the courageous steps necessary to reform the MassHealth program and to rein in the crippling cost of health insurance,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

“The proposed state budget would force employers already struggling with the rising cost of providing health insurance to their employees to also pick up the tab for bailing out the unsustainable MassHealth program.”

The budget turns away from key elements of a compromise forged by the business community and the Baker Administration that balanced restructuring of MassHealth and the private insurance market with a temporary, $200 million assessment on employers. The compromise was designed to address the structural cost imbalances in MassHealth and place the program on a sound financial footing.

The business community has instead been left with a reform-free plan that will create a new tax on employers without making any hard decisions on containing costs.

The assessment would increase the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) and fall most heavily on companies where employees use MassHealth instead of an employer health plan. The assessment would be partially offset by a two-year Unemployment Insurance rate adjustment that would save employers $335 million over two years versus current rates.

“On its own, the employer assessment negatively impacts thousands of businesses around the state.  That impact is only acceptable as one part of a broader package that begins to address underlying health care costs,” AIM and a coalition of employer groups said in a statement.

“Eleven years ago, employers joined with doctors, hospitals, patient advocates and lawmakers to forge a health-reform law that required all parties to share the responsibility for improving access to health care. The employer community calls for that same sense of shared responsibility now to solve the MassHealth shortfall,” Lord said.

Business Groups | Lack of Reform Unacceptable

Topics: Budget, Employer Health Assessment

House Establishes Process to Study Health Assessment

Posted by Katie Holahan on Apr 10, 2017 1:08:24 PM

The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee wants the Baker Administration to examine the assumptions underlying its controversial proposal to have employers pay for a shortfall in the MassHealth program.

StateHouse-resized-600.pngThe proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget released by the committee today would create a six-month review of the $2,000-per-employee “Fair Share Assessment” that the administration included in its own budget proposal in January.

The House plan would require the administration to conduct public hearings and determine the potential effect of the assessment on small business. It would also limit the definition of a full-time employee in any assessment by excluding temporary and seasonal employees.

Perhaps most importantly, the House envisions that any assessment would generate $180 million instead of the $300 million initially projected by the administration. MassHealth is the commonwealth’s Medicaid health-insurance program for low-income people.

“The issues surrounding the MassHealth deficit and the proposed employer assessment are extraordinary complex. We believe the House proposal lays out a prudent process for reviewing the issue in a manner that will allow AIM to continue its ongoing discussions with lawmakers and the administration,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.

The administration’s plan would impose a $2,000-per-employee assessment upon companies at which at least 80 percent of full-time worker equivalents do not take the company’s offer of health insurance, and that do not make a minimum contribution of $4,950 annual contribution for each full-time worker. If 70 percent of a company’s employees accept company health insurance, the company would be assessed $2,000 per employee for the number of employees represented by the 10 percent difference.

The employer assessment represents an expansion of the so-called fair share contribution plan that was a linchpin of the 2006 universal health care law in Massachusetts before it was repealed to make way for the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

The House Ways and Means budget will require the administration to consider the following factors in developing any sort of health-care assessment on businesses in Massachusetts.

  • What a reasonable utilization (uptake) rate might be by reviewing other entities, such as the Group Insurance Commission;
  • Whether employees receive premium assistance through MassHealth;
  • Whether employees receive primary MassHealth benefits;
  • Whether employees receive insurance from other, non-MassHealth sources (spousal; parental; veterans);
  • Whether employees are residents of the commonwealth (and thus eligible for MassHealth);
  • What average Massachusetts employer contribution rates might be.

The review of the proposed assessment would involve multiple state agencies, including the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Revenue (DOR), the Health Connector, the Division of Unemployment Assistance, the Center for Health Information and Analysis, and MassHealth.

A public hearing on proposed regulations must be held by the first week in October 2017.

The administration would be required to implement all regulations relative to an assessment by November 1. Full implementation of any resulting policy would occur on January 1, 2018. A small-business impact statement must be filed.

AIM has opposed the employer assessment because the growing shortfall at MassHealth, which provides health insurance to 1.9 million low-income Massachusetts residents, is attributable largely to problems arising from the ACA. Federal reform made access to health insurance an entitlement based on expanded income eligibility and significantly expanded the roles of people on Medicaid.

The House budget would require the administration to seek an ACA waiver that would allow the original prohibition to be reinstated.

Topics: Budget, Health Care Costs, Massachusetts House of Representatives

Budget Plan Includes T Reforms, Troubling Tax Reversal

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Jul 8, 2015 11:17:00 AM

A proposed $38.1 billion state budget to be debated today on Beacon Hill contains no broad-based tax increases and makes substantive public-transportation reforms sought by the business community.

State_House_and_One_BeaconEmployers are disappointed, however, that the spending blueprint reverses an agreement reached between business and the Legislature as part of the 2008 “combined reporting" tax policy change. Repeal of the so-called FAS 109 deduction, which had been postponed as the state revenues declined during the recession, could harm capital-intensive national and global companies.

“AIM continues to review the final budget for Fiscal Year 2016, but the budget conference committee has generally maintained the kind of spending discipline that employers support,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs.

“The proposal lays the groundwork for real changes at the MBTA, changes intended to prevent the widespread service breakdowns we saw this past winter.”

The committee budget increases spending by 3.5 percent, less than the predicted 4.8 percent consensus on revenue growth. Unrestricted local aid would rise by $34 million and local education aid by $111.2 million.

The MBTA reforms provide Governor Charlie Baker with many of the tools he is seeking to overhaul the transit agency. The budget would suspend for three years the onerous privatization vetting of the Pacheco Law, give the secretary of transportation the authority to hire an MBTA general manager, increase the size of the state Transportation Board and create a temporary fiscal and management control board for the T.

The budget contains other good news for employers as well:

  • Requires state executive offices and agencies to develop measurable, outcome-based performance goals and metrics.
  • Forms a special commission to improve state agency information-sharing capabilities to facilitate new business registration.
  • Authorizes the commissioner or revenue to offer an amnesty program for tax penalties in 2016.
  • Provides $2 million to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, which will train new workers in manufacturing, hospitality and other high-need industries.

Beacon Hill observers say the FAS 109 deduction is being repealed to pay for an increase in the earned income tax credit for low-income workers. The reversal sends a troubling signal to employers that previous agreements on major tax policy may be changed on a whim.

“It certainly does not help the commonwealth’s reputation for consistency on tax matters,” Regan said.

AIM and other business groups will recommend today that the governor veto the FAS 109 repeal.

The 2008 Combined Reporting tax law brought income from companies' operations in other states into a unitary or "combined" Massachusetts return. The FAS 109 deduction was adopted to avoid penalizing companies after the fact for making capital investments. FAS 109 is an accounting standard that requires that financial statements reflect the tax consequences of all book/tax differences.

Fiscal Year 2016 began on July 1. If the Legislature approves the blueprint today, it goes to Governor Baker for his review. The Governor has 10 days to review the budget and take action - approve or veto the entire budget, veto or reduce specific line items, veto outside sections or submit changes as an amendment to the budget for further consideration by the Legislature.

The Legislature can override the governor’s vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each branch. The House must vote first to override any vetoes before they may be considered by the Senate.  


Topics: Massachusetts state budget, Budget, Taxes, Transportation

Budget Proposal Targets 'Unsustainable' Spending Growth

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Mar 4, 2015 3:40:55 PM

What does the proposed state budget filed today by Governor Charlie Baker mean for Massachusetts employers?

Baker2014The bottom line is pretty simple – state spending is growing at twice the rate of tax revenue and that trend is unsustainable. The new administration must therefore make difficult choices to close a projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall for next fiscal year just weeks after addressing an unexpected $750 million gap in the current budget.

It's something that that the CEO of almost every member company of Associated Industries of Massachusetts has had to do at one time or another.

Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore said the administration will not raise taxes or fees, nor tap the state’s rainy day fund, meant for fiscal emergencies. At the same time, the allocation of scarce budget resources provides an insight into the new governor’s long-term priorities, from having state employees pay an increased share of their health insurance premiums to increased aid to cities and towns.

“For two consecutive years, our spending growth has outpaced our revenue growth. After over $1 billion in budgetary reductions last year, state spending still grew at 7.8% more than the year before, while tax revenue only grew at 4%. This is simply an unsustainable path for Massachusetts - we must live within our means,” the governor said in his budget message.

“This proposal keeps spending growth around 3%, and allows us to begin to address long-term structural changes and reduce our reliance on one-time revenue. We protect our rainy day fund, because in a largely healthy economy it is clear our issues are based on a need to prioritize spending and make state government more efficient. We also avoid layoffs through an early retirement package that will reduce the size and cost of the state workforce.”

Fiscal discipline and predictability are welcome themes for Massachusetts employers who, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, pay approximately $150 million more in taxes each year than they did a decade ago. CEOs expect the government to conduct its financial affairs in the same responsible manner as the corner grocery store, the young biotechnology company or millions of citizens managing the household budget.

“The 4,500 member companies of Associated Industries of Massachusetts typically pay more attention to the budget as a proxy for the ability of state government to manage its affairs, rather than to individual line items,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.

“The governor’s proposed budget takes constructive steps toward ensuring that the commonwealth lives within its means.”

The projected shortfall for Fiscal Year 2016 is driven by two factors, according to the Taxpayers Foundation.

The first is a significant increase in costs for items and programs considered nondiscretionary — such as Medicaid, the state-federal health program for poor and disabled people, and pensions — just to keep the same level of service next year. The second is the state’s heavy reliance on one-time sources of money — pots of cash that are tough or impossible to tap again — this fiscal year.

Those sources of money total about $1 billion and include tax settlements with corporations, a temporary diversion of tax revenue intended for the state’s rainy day fund, and casino licensing fees.

Here are the key elements of the Baker budget proposal:

  • A $34 million increase, or 3.6%, in unrestricted local aid to $980 million
  • A $105.3 million increase in Chapter 70 funding, which increases funding for all 321 school districts
  • A phase in of the Earned Income Tax Credit to 30% of the federal limit while phasing out the Film Tax Credit
  • Funding local aid by 75% of revenue growth, a 3.6% increase
  • Increasing transportation spending by 20%, including $187 million, or a 53% increase, in direct aid to the MBTA
  • An early retirement incentive program to responsibly reduce the state’s administrative spending 

Topics: Budget, Taxes, Charlie Baker

Some Good News about Medicare

Posted by Andre Mayer on Aug 28, 2014 4:51:28 PM

An otherwise mixed report yesterday from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offered some good news about what was supposed to be the most intractable aspect of federal deficit spending. For the sixth consecutive year, the CBO lowered its projections for the cost of Medicare, because of slower growth (or even outright decline) in expenditure per participant. Since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was enacted, estimates for the decade through 2020 are down by some $700 billion.

In recent years three distinct federal deficits have raised serious concern about our nation’s future. The first, the budget deficit, is manageable – the last four Clinton budgets, before the Bush tax cuts, the War on Terror, and the Great Recession, were balanced. The second, the projected Social Security deficit, is hardly comparable to the pension crises faced by some European nations; pillowed by its trust fund, our system can be stabilized by further tweaks similar to those already made.

Medicare appeared to be the greatest threat because adverse demographic trends (the aging of the Baby Boom generation) were coupled with a seemingly inexorable rise in health care costs, at rates far above any calculation of cost of living. And the most widely touted remedy, raising the age of eligibility, would cut government spending by shifting the burden to employers. New hope on Medicare costs should help us face up to the long-term fiscal challenges that our country confronts.

Topics: Affordable care Act, Budget

Fiscal Watchdog - Mission Not Accomplished on Budget Crisis

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 14, 2014 11:59:00 AM

 The recent bipartisan budget accord in Washington merely postpones the difficult decisions needed to place the United States on a sustainable fiscal footing, the Executive Director of the Concord Coalition said this morning.

ConcordRobert Bixby urged 200 people at the AIM Executive Forum to demand that politicians address the ticking budgetary time bomb that sits under the nation’s financial future. It is a time bomb, he said, driven largely by automatic spending increases embedded in the budget by decades of short-term policy decisions.

Those spending increases, combined with expected increases in interest rates on the federal debt, Bixby said, threaten to overwhelm the ability of government to provide the day-to-day services upon which citizens rely.

“It’s running on autopilot and anything you do to address it is politically toxic,” said Bixby, who has headed the Concord Coalition for the past 15 years.

Bixby said that the federal government has historically spent at a level equal to 20 percent of gross domestic product while generating tax revenue at 17 percent of GDP. That level of deficit is at least sustainable with normal economic growth, but Bixby said that the gap between spending and revenue is projected to increase to as much as 4.5 percent of GDP during the next 15 years.

The challenge for policymakers, according to Bixby, is that 60 percent of the federal budget is now consumed by required, automatic expenditures such as social security, Medicare and Medicaid. The cost of those programs is projected to grow faster than the economy. Interest on the debt, meanwhile, is projected to rise from just over $200 billion this year to more than $800 billion in 2024.

“The laws enacted years ago are now driving the federal deficit,” Bixby said.

The bottom line, he continued, is that Congress will not solve the fiscal crisis simply by cutting defense or non-defense discretionary spending. He believes that all issues must be open to negotiation, including a broadening of the tax base coupled with an examination of popular tax deductions for items such as mortgage interest and employer contributions to health insurance.

The budget accord negotiated by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Washington Senator Patty Murray essentially placed any serious debate about the budget gap on the back burner until after the presidential election of 2016.

“They set out to do a deal that did not do much, and they succeeded,” Bixby quipped.

Bixby served as a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force (the Domenici-Rivlin commission), which produced a model plan for comprehensive fiscal reform. He frequently speaks around the country on the nation’s fiscal challenges and possible bipartisan solutions, including greater government efficiency, tax reform and improvements in the entitlement program.

Topics: Budget, AIM Executive Forum, Fiscal Policy

Senate Budget Omits Dangerous Contingent Contract Provision

Posted by Brad MacDougall on May 24, 2013 4:23:00 PM

Sometimes a budget is significant more for what it omits than what it includes.

Senate budgetThat’s the case with the $34 billion spending blueprint approved Thursday by the Massachusetts Senate, which wisely chose to pass its budget without a proposal to allow the Department of Revenue to hire outside tax auditors and pay them a portion of what they recover.

The budget proposal also replaces two existing health care assessments with a new Employer Responsibility levy and does way with the Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) form as Massachusetts prepares to replace its 2006 health care reform with the federal Affordable Care Act.

A conference committee will now hammer out differences between Senate and House versions of the budget for the Fiscal Year that begins July 1.

Senators adopted an amendment from Senator Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, that struck the so-called “contingent contracts” provision that had been added to the budget in an outside section. Rodrigues noted on the Senate floor that the National Conference of State Legislators, the Securities and Exchange Commission and and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants all reject the use of contingent contracts.  

The AIM Taxation Committee had urged the Senate to reject the provision.  

“The proposal was bad public policy,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.

“An auditor should have no financial stake in the outcome of an audit. The conflict of interest is readily apparent and should trouble policy makers concerned about tax fairness and Massachusetts reputation for its tax climate.”

The Senate budget represents a 4.2 percent spending increase over the current fiscal year. The document anticipates using between $500 million and $800 million in new taxes for transportation currently pending before a separate Beacon Hill conference Committee.

AIM has maintained throughout the debate that lawmakers should fund transportation improvements with transportation-specific sources of revenue rather than business taxes such as those proposed for computer software. The association nevertheless believes that the legislation passed by the House and Senate takes positive steps toward fixing the transportation system without crippling increases to the income tax or other broad-based levies.

The Senate budget includes a $50 per employee medical assistance assessment on employers that was filed by Governor Patrick and included in the House budget.  The new fee replaces the $67.20 Medical Security Trust Fund assessment.  The Senate did not support an AIM amendment to require legislative approval for any increases to the assessment and gives the authority to increase the fee up to 5 percent per year to a rate review board.

As part of the package for this new assessment, the Senate budget eliminates the fair-share contribution and the requirement that employee Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure forms be collected and retained by employers. 

Senators followed suit with the House in voting to postpone implementation of the so-called FAS 109 deduction instead of eliminating it as the administration proposed. FAS 109 is an accounting standard that requires that financial statements reflect the tax consequences of all book/tax differences. The deduction was adopted as part of the 2008 debate over adoption of combined tax reporting in Massachusetts.

Topics: Massachusetts state budget, Budget, Massachusetts senate, Issues, Taxes

$34 Billion House Budget Contains Key Provisions for Employers

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Apr 25, 2013 1:02:00 PM

The Massachusetts House of Representatives last night passed a $34 billion Fiscal Year 2014 budget that increases spending by 4 percent, avoids increases to the income tax and ensures the privacy of companies that exercise their statutory right to use tax benefits.

BudgetThe blueprint includes between $500 million and $800 million that Beacon Hill lawmakers have already  passed to improve roads, bridges and mass transit. The transportation funding package includes $110 million from increasing the gasoline tax 3 cents per gallon and then indexing the levy to inflation; $161 million from a tax on computer services; $110 million from tobacco taxes; and $83 million from changes to utility classification and sales sourcing.

The House budget also includes several key provisions for employers, including one that would keep private the financial information of companies that use the Investment Tax Credit and the Research and Development Tax Credit. The bill removes two employer health-care contributions - the Fair Share Assessment and Medical Security assessment – while requiring that any increases to a new $50-per-worker Employer Responsibility Contribution for health care be approved by the Legislature.

House members approved the budget by a 127 to 29 margin.

“The House budget takes a prudent approach by reducing dependence on one-time revenues and not instituting dramatic tax policy changes. Such ongoing prudence has been an important element of Massachusetts’ positive standing with bonding rating agencies,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

“Speaker Robert DeLeo and Ways and Means Committee Chair Brian Dempsey clearly understand that we remain in a time of slow job growth.  This budget and future legislative proposals must maintain a long-term approach that sustains vital government services while creating a predictable environment for investment and job creation.”

The budget now goes to the state Senate for debate in May. A conference committee will then attempt to craft a final bill in time for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

The financial privacy provision, contained in an amendment filed by Dempsey, removes the Investment Tax Credit and R&D Tax Credit from new requirements contained elsewhere in the budget that companies receiving credits file detailed financial information that would then be posted to the Web.  AIM maintained that the ITC and R&D credit should be exempted because both are granted as a matter of statutory right, while other tax benefits are individual credits granted through a public application process through a state agency.

AIM has supported moves to eliminate the Fair Share Assessment – created under the 2006 state health reform law – and Medical Security assessment because both will become unnecessary under federal health reform.  The original proposal to replace those two assessments with the Employer Responsibility charge generated concern because it gave a board of three unelected people broad authority to raise the assessment by up to 5 percent annually. The House budget would require that panel to submit proposed increases to Beacon Hill.

Fair Share mandates that employers with 11 or more full-time equivalent employees make a “fair and reasonable” contribution toward the health-care costs of employees or pay an assessment of up to $295 per employee per year. The Medical Security Program requires companies to contribute money to provide low-income unemployed people with health insurance.

An AIM-supported amendment that would have ended a three-year delay in implementation of the so-called FAS 109 deduction was withdrawn, though the House declined to go along with the administration's proposal to eliminate the deduction altogether. FAS 109 is an accounting standard that requires that financial statements reflect the tax consequences of all book/tax differences. The deduction was adopted as part of the 2008 debate over adoption of combined tax reporting in Massachusetts.

Employers also remain concerned about a section of the budget that impacts the tax audit procedures for entities such as partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs).  The section would allow the Department of Revenue (DOR) to expand audits beyond the legal entity being audited and limit the taxpayer’s appeal options, potentially forcing companies into expensive litigation of issues at the Appellate Tax Board that should be resolved at a more cost-effective administrative level.

Dempsey told State House New Service that the bill addresses many of the priorities Gov. Deval Patrick highlighted in his budget plan in “a balanced a fiscally responsible way.”

Topics: Budget, Issues, Massachusetts House of Representatives, Taxes

AIM Members See Limited Consequences from Sequester

Posted by Andre Mayer on Apr 12, 2013 11:06:00 AM

What do AIM members expect from the sequester?

SequestrationThe mandated reductions in federal spending, divided between defense and non-defense accounts, which took effect in March will of course be felt directly by some government contractors. Other employers may suffer some consequences as a result of reductions in certain services, such a federally-funded workforce development programs.

Many economists have been concerned about macroeconomic effects – a slowdown in overall growth because of reduced federal spending – although the prospective increase in tax rates, largely averted, was considered the more dangerous part of the 'fiscal cliff.' And a substantial body of opinion holds that the cuts won't hurt (or not much) in the short run, and will be beneficial in the longer term.

Member responses to a special question on AIM's March Business Confidence Survey indicate that the direct impact of the spending cuts is limited – only 3 percent of respondents cited direct effects (which they are already feeling).  A plurality of respondents, 57 percent expected indirect negative effects; and 40 percent did not foresee negative effects from sequestration.

Responses from manufacturers and from employers in other sectors were virtually identical; but there were clear differences by size. All of the companies reporting direct impact were in the medium size range (the respondents did not happen to include large defense contractors or healthcare/research institutions).  The small and medium-size groups otherwise responded similarly, with slightly more expecting negative effects than discounting them. Among larger employers, by contrast, more than three out of four (76 percent) expected negative indirect effects from the spending cuts.

These results are generally in line with past surveys showing small employers most concerned about government spending while larger ones are more likely to value government programs.

On this evidence, direct benefits (contracts) do not appear to be a major factor; but it is not clear to what extent the divergence is an effect of, for example, different tax situations, ability to access programs, or simply varying political and economic views. The balance of responses does hint at why fiscal issues, at least on the spending side, may be challenging for business organizations.

Topics: Budget, Issues, U.S. Congress

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