NFIB Forcing Legislature to Practice What it Preaches

Date: April 07, 2017

Insurance mandates it want to foist on small business should also apply to state employees

NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending April 7.

Senate Bill 54 passed the Senate April 7 on a 19-1 vote. This measure would correct problems with last year’s major crime reform bill, Senate Bill 91. Ron Flint has been testifying for NFIB. This bill strengthens punishment for 4th-degree theft to help address the growing theft problem for many Alaskan retailers, and it increases punishment for a first conviction of a Class C felony. NFIB made support for SB 54 a key vote and notified all senators.

State Income Tax

The House Finance Committee is continuing its hearings on the bills proposing an income tax. There are several different approaches, including:

  • House Bill 115 that restructures the Earnings Reserve, Permanent Fund Dividend and adds an income tax
  • House Bill 36 that would add an income tax on all businesses other than C corporations that already pay an income tax
  • House Bill 146 that would create an income tax for school funding.

Contraceptive Coverage

NFIB continues its opposition to any mandated insurance benefit by pointing out that the mandate bills don’t include state employees, so the state mandates benefits on small businesses but not on itself.

Sponsors of House Bill 25 and Senate Bill 53 — 12-month prescription of contraceptives — have agreed to include public employees.

On a related issue, NFIB has asked the sponsor of House Bill 193 to consider including this provision, as well. Although this is progress, it would not mandate these benefits on ERISA plans because of federal preemption, thus causing unfair burdens only to small businesses.

Independent Contractors

NFIB continues its fight against House Bill 79, which attempts to expand the number of independent contractors that would be required to be covered by workers’ compensation. The state Department of Labor wants to use business practices like advertising as part of the criteria, rather than focusing on the job and the relationship between the contracting business and independent contractor. Chris Nettels has been testifying on NFIB’s behalf.

Previous Reports and Related News Releases

March 31 Report—NFIB Testifies in Favor of Tougher Petty Theft Penalties

March 24 Report—Hearings on a New State Income Tax Take Center Stage

March 17 Report—NFIB Victory: Deceptive Income Tax Proposal Put Aside

March 10 Report—NFIB, State Still Far Apart on Defining Independent Contractors

March 3 Report—NFIB to Fight Alaska bid to Spike UI Wages

February 24 Report—Gas Tax Increase, State Income Tax Bills Still Alive

February 17 Report—NFIB to Testify Against Assault on Independent Contractors

February 10 Report—NFIB Looking at Four Fixes to Omnibus Crime Bill

February 3 Report—Flaw in SB 91: What Penalty for Petty Theft?

January 27 Report—Independent Contractors Once Again in Crosshairs of Alaska Legislature

January 20 Report—Costly Bills Make Return Engagement in Juneau

January 5 News Release—Poll: Alaska Should Not Be in The Retirement Business

[Tile photo of Senate Floor Session courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]

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“In fairness, if the state legislature does not believe it is a benefit important enough to mandate on its own programs, how can it be fair to mandate it on small employers and individual policy purchasers.”

–NFIB letter to Rep. Jason Grenn. See ‘Contraceptive Coverage’ section to the left.

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