The Chamber has taken positions supporting the reduction of the limited-liability company filing fee and opposing onerous legislation that would create a costly nightmare for employers when scheduling employees. In addition, the Chamber applauds Governor Baker, Senator Jennifer Flanagan and Representative Jennifer Benson for their work on approving critical funding in the FY16 state budget for communities that host correctional facilities, including the Town of Shirley, which face an unfair burden on municipal services.
Reducing LLC Filing Fees (Senate Bill 110)
It is not always a good thing to lead the nation, and having the highest filing fees for LLCs is a damper on entrepreneurs and business creation. The legislation would put Massachusetts on par with most other states by reducing the annual LLC filing fee from $500 to $250. For small businesses often created with a great idea and hard work, but little starting capital, the savings of a few hundred dollars is significant. If Massachusetts is to adopt pro-business public policies, it can set the table by reducing this fee. In a $38 billion annual state budget, the loss of $1.1 million in revenue by reducing the fee is insignificant. Elimination of waste and savings through better management will more than cover the reduced revenue. The reduction in LLC fees may also generate increased registrations of new LLCs that have been deterred in the past.
The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce supports Senate 110 and any substantially similar legislation. In general, the Chamber supports legislation and policies that reduce the cost of doing business in Massachusetts.
Employee Scheduling Legislation (House Bill 1708)
This legislation fails to understand the complexity of running a business and unfairly penalizes companies, which will hurt the business and its ability to hire employees, grow and thrive. An employer's flexibility in scheduling is critical to the success of a business. Changes in business conditions, such as a snowstorm that will reduce business for a restaurant but increase it for plow operators, cannot be predicted 21 days in advance. This legislation would penalize businesses for an inability to predict the future. This legislation fails to consider the unpredictable circumstances, such as an employee who works a half hour later than expected, thus violating the proposed 11-hour rule if he reports to work as scheduled the next day. A failure to catch this issue and pay for the time would likely result in a wage violation, and if those violations occur with some frequency, the class-action plaintiffs' lawyers will soon be knocking on the employer's door. This legislation exposes employers to situations where the actions of employees leave the business short-staffed and hurts the business. Current state and federal laws provide adequate protection for employees, especially for hourly employees who are entitled to overtime pay.
The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce specifically opposes House 1708 and any substantially similar legislation. In general, the Chamber opposes attempts by government to micromanage private businesses through burdensome regulations and laws.
Prison Mitigation Funding
The health of municipal governments is of great importance to the Chamber and its member businesses, in part because reductions in state support usually necessitate increased local property taxes. Through a memorandum of understanding with the state prison in Shirley, the Shirley Fire Department has agreed to provide response to alarms and calls at the prison, training of prison personnel, HAZMAT services, and assistance with fire drills and fire inspections. According to the MOU, the prison provides little, if anything, in return. There is a moral obligation the state has to support those communities that host prison facilities and provide support services, such as a police, fire and ambulance. The state's system of prisons and jails play a critical role in our criminal justice system that benefits the entire Commonwealth, and the burden of providing that protection should not fall disproportionately on the host communities. The $2.2 million in statewide prison mitigation funding is a tiny fraction of the total $32 billion state budget, and is not so burdensome as to warrant its veto to ensure the state's fiscal stability.
The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce supports the funding of prison mitigation money for host communities, and urges its legislative delegation, the Massachusetts Legislature and Governor Baker to include the funding in the state budget. (Note: Following the adoption of this policy by the Chamber, Governor Baker signed the mitigation money into law as part of the FY16 state budget.)