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Will President's Health Reform Cure What Ails Employers?

Posted by Eileen McAnneny on Feb 23, 2010 2:30:00 PM

Will the health care reform plan announced yesterday by President Obama cure what ails desperate employers swamped by rising health insurance premiums?

Measured in terms of its potential to reduce the cost of health care and health insurance, I just don't see how it succeeds.

The White House estimates that the cost just to administer the bill would be $1 billion.  Add to that a host of new assessments that will be passed on to consumers and employers in the form of higher premiums - a $67 billion assessment  on health insurers, a $20 billion assessment on medical device manufacturers and a $33 billion assessment on pharmaceutical companies -  and prices  are unlikely to be lowered any time soon.

The President also proposes a new $2,000 per employee assessment on large employers (50 plus) whose employees do not have coverage (exempting the first 30 workers from the tax). And he affirms his support for taxing high-cost health insurance plans beginning in 2018, a provision that is sure to hit Massachusetts hard since residents here pay some of the highest costs for health insurance in the nation.

Are you afraid of what your premiums will look like in a few years yet? 

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Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, U.S. Congress, Health Insurance

What Will the Federal and State Jobs Bills Mean for Massachusetts Employers?

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Feb 23, 2010 9:26:00 AM

The $15 billion jobs bill due to be approved by the U.S. Senate today would create the first of several federal and state tax incentives that have been proposed for Massachusetts employers who hire jobless people. You can't tell the players without a program, so here's an update:


  • Federal Jobs Bill.
    Status: U.S. Senate is expected to pass today. Bill then goes to U.S. House of Representatives.
    Companies that hire unemployed people would receive an exemption from paying Social Security taxes on those workers for the remainder of 2010. Employers would also receive a $1,000 tax credit for each new worker who remains on the job at least one year.

  • State Job Creation Tax Credit.
    Status: Proposed by Governor Deval Patrick. Currently pending in the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Revenue.
    Creates a $2,500 refundable tax credit on withholding tax for employers with 50 or fewer total employees who hire new full-time Massachusetts employees during the 12-month period beginning April 1, 2010.  Calculation of the net increase in the number of Massachusetts employees is based on the employer's number of Massachusetts employees as of March 31, 2010.  The credit is available to qualifying employers for each new full-time Massachusetts job created and sustained for at least one year. 

The federal jobs bill passed a key preliminary vote yesterday with the support of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and four other Republicans. Senator Brown issued a statement about the vote:

"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside, and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families. This Senate jobs bill is not perfect. I wish the tax cuts were deeper and broader, but I am voting for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work.

"I was disappointed with the continuation of politics-as-usual in the drafting of this bill, as it was crafted behind closed doors, without transparency and accountability. I hope for improvements in that process going forward. All of us, Republicans and Democrats, have to work together to get our economy back on track. I hope my vote today is a strong step toward restoring bipartisanship in Washington."

Will these proposed tax incentives prompt your company to hire additional workers? We appreciate your comments.

Topics: Employers, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Economic Development, U.S. Congress, Deval Patrick, Taxes, Senator Scott Brown

AIM Urges Senator Brown to Oppose NLRB Nominee

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Feb 5, 2010 11:59:00 AM

Associated Industries of Massachusetts asked Senator Scott Brown today to oppose the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.

AIM says in a letter to Senator Brown that employers are troubled by the prospect that Mr. Becker, Associate General Counsel to the Service Employees International Union, might attempt to impose administratively some elements of the flawed Employee Free Choice Act. One of those provisions would deprive workers of the right to a secret ballot in union elections.

AIM and hundreds of other business organizations articulated their concerns about the nomination in a letter to senators last week.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee endorsed the Becker nomination Thursday by a 13-10 party line vote. The Senate has scheduled a floor vote for Monday at 5 p.m. The nomination will be one of the first significant votes cast by Mr. Brown and political observers say it will provide a signal about how his election has changed the political calculus in Washington.

Topics: Employment Law, U.S. Congress, Labor, NLRB

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