NFIB learns state lawmakers hear your pleas
The Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC Tax) continues to burden small businesses across Massachusetts as many NFIB members received their first quarter assessments in April. Our Massachusetts’s office heard from a number of those business owners who discovered, for the first time, that they had workers receiving state-subsidized coverage. Before the assessment, they had never been informed by the state that they employed workers receiving MassHealth benefits.
Thank you for your many letters, emails, and calls to state legislators, telling them how much this new tax is hurting your small business. The message is being heard! Senator Julian Cyr read part of an NFIB member email on the floor of the Senate during the FY19 Budget debate:
“This is an untenable fee. I also received many emails on this. Another from a business owner in my district. “Dear Sen. Cyr, the EMAC tax negatively impacts my business. The EMAC assessment is yet another expense we have to absorb. There is less money to grow my business and create jobs. This makes health insurance more expensive for me and my workers. Real health care reforms are needed.’ I agree.”
During that debate, two amendments were adopted into the Senate budget regarding the EMAC tax. The first, Amendment #351, prevents businesses from facing both a federal IRS healthcare fine and state EMAC tax at the same time. The second, Amendment #589, calls for EMAC hardship waivers for small businesses, high turnover businesses including temp agencies, and some restaurants, and non-profits. While we are still uncertain what constitutes a “hardship,” we are encouraged that legislators officially recognize the EMAC tax as a significant cost to small businesses.
The amendments are now in conference committee where the House and Senate reconcile their two versions of the state budget. NFIB recruited several other business groups and sent a joint letter to House and Senate conference committee members urging them to adopt these two budget amendments and take further steps to repeal the EMAC tax in its entirety.