January 22, 2018

Small biz owners urge Baker for relief

File photo
Gov. Charlie Baker

Small business owners are appealing to Gov. Charlie Baker for relief from rising labor costs, urging him to tackle spending side pressures on employers when he delivers his State of the State address Tuesday evening.

Progressive groups claim grassroots momentum is gathering around their campaigns for 2018 ballot law proposals raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and introducing a paid family and medical leave program.

But according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses are struggling with unmanageable health care costs, including "double digit premium increases," a growing list of state-imposed mandates, and a new assessment to help cover MassHealth costs.

"Massachusetts has worked diligently to ensure near-universal health coverage, and we can no longer delay in addressing the cost side of the equation. I hope the Governor will lead the effort to lower healthcare costs for hundreds of thousands of home-grown small businesses that have struggled for too long with affordability," NFIB State Director Christopher Carlozzi said in a statement Monday.

Small employers are still adjusting to the state's $11 an hour minimum wage and impacts the 2014 earned sick leave law, according to NFIB, which is also calling for expanded access to "clean natural gas" to address high energy prices.

Baker is set to deliver his State of the Commonwealth address in the House chamber Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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