Welcome to another edition of the Need to Knows newsletter, now on a twice-weekly summer schedule.
A reminder that we’d really enjoy seeing you at our first big business community event in years, this coming Tuesday (July 12) from 5:30-7:30 at Mass Horticultural Society's wonderous the Garden at Elm Bank. (Never been? Take a look.)
Proceeds support the chamber's advocacy and programming.
Survey: Small business owners worried about 'Millionaires Tax'
Proponents of the so-called “Millionaires Tax” constitutional amendment that will go before voters in November generally portray the new surtax as something that will only impact the “super rich.”
But a new Pioneer Institute survey conducted in collaboration with two state business groups, explores how many small business owners may also find themselves subject to the surtax.
Fifty seven percent of business owners surveyed said they expect they would be subject to the surtax since they operate as small “pass-through” businesses such as S corporations, partnerships and limited liability corporations and pay taxes via individual returns.
Seventy-two percent of survey’s 133 respondents said they plan to retire in the next decade and 56 percent said they plan to sell their businesses within that period. Of those planning to sell, 58 percent said they expect the gain from the business sale would exceed $1 million, making them subject to the surtax.
“I was surprised by both how many of our members are ‘pass-through’ entities and how many are looking to sell or retire within the decade,” said Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst, whose members were invited to participate in the survey along with members of the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business and some chambers.
“Those numbers should be a wake-up call that our Main Streets are in danger in coming years, and that our public policy leaders need to make sure the Commonwealth has tax and employment laws that will foster a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and risk takers,” Hurst added.
The constitutional amendment, also known as the Fair Share Amendment, adds a 4% tax on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million.
Meanwhile, the state's piggy bank is flush with cash
The ongoing revenue reports from the state can’t be good timing for those supporting the Millionaires/Fair Share Tax.
The Department of Revenue is still counting, but budget watchers at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation expect the state will have a "historic" surplus of $3.6 billion when the final accounting of the fiscal year that ended last week is complete, writes Colin A. Young at State House News.
Through May, Massachusetts collected $36.969 billion in tax revenue for fiscal year 2022 -- $2.666 billion or 7.8 percent ahead of expectations and $5.932 billion ahead of benchmark.
Supplemental spending has wiped out some of the spending but when all is said and done, including accounting for an addition $750 million in federal revenue, MTF anticipates the final FY2022 surplus will be roughly $3.588 billion -- more than twice as large as the roughly $1.5 billion surplus from fiscal year 2021.
Newton names new economic development director
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller has appointed a new economic development director and I’m really excited about this appointment.
John Sisson is currently the Community Development Director and the Economic Development Director for the Town of Dedham, a role he’s held since 2015. Prior to that he was the Greater Boston Regional Director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and the Operations Director for the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance.
He succeeds Devra Bailin who retired in May.
I first met Sisson back around 2010 when he was publisher of Newton Living, a glossy magazine and have been following his accomplishments in Dedham as well as his work for the Patrick administration.
He has the savvy and passion for this job and I expect our business community will be well served having him inside City Hall.
Sisson is a Newton resident. He'll begin his new job at Newton City Hall later this month.
Wondering about the fencing surrounding Needham Town Common?
The Needham Town Common is undergoing a $1.4 million renovation and will be closed to the public until later this year. Garrity’s Way in front of town hall is also closed to vehicles and pedestrians during the project. Details
While the common is closed, the town has set up picnic tables at Greene’s field in Needham Center and at Eaton Square Plaza behind Needham Bank. There’s also parklet in front of Greene’s Field on Great Plain Ave.
Watertown now part of Passport system
Watertown has joined onto the Passport Parking mobile payment app which allows drivers to use smart phones to pay for and manage parking meters, as an alternative to coins and credit cards.
This is the same system used in Newton, Boston and Cambridge so, conveniently, only one account is needed.
As with Watertown’s credit card payments, there is a minimum charge of $1., regardless of length of session. Details
New rules that allow Wellesley restaurants to serve alcohol to outdoor diners sitting at tables along sidewalks/rights of way in commercial districts have been approved by the attorney general. Approval of recent Town Meeting votes to allow accessory dwelling units and regulate commercial gun shops are pending. (Swellesley Report).
Thirty-four New England-based female life sciences executives are among the more than 100 signers of an open letter denouncing the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision. (BBJ)
The Massachusetts House is expected to vote today on a wide-reaching veterans bill that, among other provisions, would allow organizations such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts to install slot machines.
Use of the machines would be limited only to veterans who belong to the organization. Local approvals would be required. (CommonWealth)
How employers can make the most of abortion ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade shouldn’t leave employers feeling powerless.
That’s according to a BBJ op-ed by Colette Phillips of CP Communications and former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Murphy who outline six ways employers can make a difference while demonstrating to female employees that their health and freedom are important to your company.
“Whether it’s acceptance of gay marriage, support for Black Lives Matter or any number of other social issues, it isn’t elected officials who are moving us forward on diversity, equity and inclusion, but companies.
"Why? First and foremost because it’s good for business — companies that lead on diversity are more likely to break into new markets, hire from a bigger talent pool and be more innovative,” they write.