MFA NEWS SCAN JULY 6, 2015
- Wednesday, July 08, 2015GOVERNOR BAKER ISSUES REGULATORY REVIEW/ SUSPENSION OF NEW REGULATIONS - DIVISION OF STANDARDS TO REVIEW PRICING REGULATIONS
Following a three month pause on the filing of new regulations established by a letter dated January 15, 2015, Governor Baker recently extended the moratorium on new regulations through Executive Order 562, which extends the pause until March 16, 2016. The Governor’s Order also calls for all secretariats, agencies, departments, boards, commissions, authorities, etc. to promptly undertake a review of each and every regulation currently published in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations under its jurisdiction. Reacting to this review process, the MA Division of Standards has scheduled a Regulatory Review Public Comment Session on July 30 from 10:00AM to noon. During this session, the Division will be soliciting comment from the public on its five sets of pricing regulations: Massachusetts Standards; Model State Packaging & Labeling, Unit Pricing & Automated Retail Checkout Systems; Consumer and Merchant Protection Act Committee, and; Price Disclosure (item pricing waiver regulations). Please let us know if you have any concerns or questions on any of these pricing regulations in Massachusetts and we can submit them to the Division the day of their sessions.
GOVERNOR REDUCES WORKERS COMP. ASSESSMENT ON EMPLOYERS
Effective July 1, 2015, the day the new fiscal year started, the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Assessment Rate for private employers dropped from 5.8% to 5.75%, a decrease of .5%. The rate decrease was announced June 29 by the MA Division of Industrial Accidents.
MA LEGISLATURE STILL AWAITING FISCAL BUDGET
Even though the state’s fiscal year began last Wednesday, the MA Legislature has yet to hear from their Conference Committee on the state’s present fiscal year budget. In anticipation of not having an annual fiscal budget to sign into law on time, Governor Baker passed what is known as a one-twelfth budget, designed to supplement and cover costs to the state for one extra month through the new budget year at $5.5 billion. Major differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget that need to be worked out before it goes to an up or down vote and then on to the Governor include:
Ø The Senate’s insistence of a tax increase on fruit-flavored or other nontobacco-flavored cigars and smoking tobacco held in the commonwealth. The House version does contain this tax provision;
Ø The Senate’s insistence of a freeze in the state’s income tax rate at 5.15% to pay for its proposed increase in the earned income tax credit and personal exemptions. The House version of the budget proposes no such policies. In 2000 voters approved a drop in the state’s income tax rate from 5.9% to 5%, which the Legislature made gradual. The present 5.1% rate was scheduled to drop to 5.1% in 2016, however the Senate proposed this freeze. The Governor also called for an increase in the earned income tax credit but called for its funding through elimination of the state’s movie tax credit.
AG SCHEDULES INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS ON NEW SICK TIME REG
The Attorney General’s office will hold a series of Informational Sessions and Webinars to Help Businesses Comply with New Law That Gives Employees Access to Paid Sick Leave. Information on the sessions can be viewed by clicking here.
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