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Gov. Healey Proposes $55.5 Billion Budget, Paired with Close to $1 Billion in Tax Relief

Short-term capital gains tax to 5%, reforms to Estate Tax proposed


Earlier this week, Gov. Maura Healey filed her FY24 state budget proposal, a $55.5 billion spending plan that was accompanied by a separate tax package seeking to provide almost $1 billion in tax relief to seniors, renters and low-income residents, with long sought reforms to the estate tax and a lowering of the short-term capital gains tax rate.

The budget is largely a straight spending plan, light on policy changes, reflective of the fact that Healey has only been in office for less than two months and is still molding her legislative agenda.  Spending priorities include the largest increase in Chapter 70 school aid in 25 years, a commitment to making community college free to more residents of the Commonwealth, a 25% increase in spending for the UMass system, and significant budgetary investments in child care, environment, energy, and transportation areas.

We were very pleased that for the first time in seven years the annual state budget filing does NOT include any mention of “Real Time” sales tax collection, a failed proposal favored by the previous administration.
The tax plan proposes increasing the rental deduction cap to $4,000, doubling the cap on the Senior Circuit Breaker program to $2,400, and expanding the Child and Dependent Tax Credit.  In addressing tax areas where the Commonwealth is an outlier, the plan reduces the short-term capital gains tax rate to 5%, and increases the estate tax threshold from $1 million to $3 million and provides a $182,000 credit for all estates, easing the “cliff effect” in the current system.
The budget also includes spending $1 billion in revenue expected to be generated by the new Millionaire’s Tax surtax, divided evenly between transportation and education proposals.
The House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means will next hold a series of public hearings on the budget, broken out by subject matter, over the next 6-8 weeks.  The House will then release and debate its budget plan in April. 



Hurst Statement on HPC Cost Growth Benchmark

RAM urged the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to return the state healthcare benchmark back to 3.1%.   RAM President Jon Hurst reported on the results of the survey of the Association’s members.  The survey returned an average member premium increase of 11.7%, which was the largest member increase since 2017.  The member survey also showed 27% were forced to increase employee cost sharing, 20% changed carriers, and 3% dropped coverage.  Hurst also noted that medical inflation seems to continue to disproportionately hurt small businesses of 50 or fewer employees (those in the Merged Market), when compared to large employers and government payers.  He urged a detailed investigation of why small businesses pay more for less coverage versus large employers, and what has happened to the 400,000 small group lives that have disappeared from the merged market risk pool since 2007.

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Create A Winning Hand with RAM's Credit Card Program  



RAM is committed to understanding the credit card game and creating a winning hand for our members.  Listen to our industry expert, Frank Scearbo, break down the fees; hidden or otherwise, and learn how to save through better understanding and from leveraging our buying power.

DATE:    Tuesday, April 4, 2023
TIME: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT


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2023 RAM Member Engagement Survey

RAM represents your employment sector with public officials, the press and with consumers.  In order for us to effectively represent the broad range of our membership, it is more important today than ever to fully understand the make up of our 4000 members. 

Please take a minute to fill out this important survey so that we can better support your business.  Information collected in this Survey Monkey will help us better serve our members in a variety of public policy, leadership, education, services, resources, networking, and membership recruiting ways.

Thanks so much for participating in this important membership survey.  

   Wage and Hour Law Changes for 2023

Minimum Wage Increase and the End of Retail Premium Pay


On January 1, 2023, the last of five annual increases to the Massachusetts minimum wage will take effect, as well as the final repeal of the retail premium pay requirement.  Members are reminded to take note of the following changes:

  • Minimum wage increase to $15.00 per hour (currently $14.25)
  • Tipped wage increase to $6.75 per hour (currently $6.15)
  • Retail Premium Pay mandate is fully eliminated. 

As indicated, the retail premium pay requirement for work performed on Sundays and certain holidays has been eliminated from the Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 136 §6) as of the new year.  Retail employees may be compensated at their regular rate of pay for work performed on Sundays and the holidays of New Year’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, and Labor Day.  

Members are reminded that the Blue Law voluntary work requirement remains in effect.  All work performed on Sundays, and the aforementioned holidays, by employees of retail establishments must remain voluntary and refusal to work shall not be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge reduction in hours, or any other penalty.

Keep reading article.

Members are encouraged to download RAM’s 2023 Retail Holiday Schedule for a detailed guide to these changes.
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Extra COVID Food Funds for Families Ending March 2 

Extra COVID Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known as SNAP Emergency Allotments, were created during the pandemic to help individuals and families buy food. These extra COVID benefits are the difference between a household’s normal benefit amount and the maximum amount for their household size, with a minimum amount of $95 a month. The benefits have been put on EBT cards at the beginning of each month.

Recent action by the federal government (through the Congressional Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023) ends the extra COVID SNAP benefits as of February 2023. This means that Massachusetts households will receive their last extra COVID SNAP payment on March 2, 2023.


The state has launched a new website: to help residents plan for the end of these temporary federal benefits.


USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) have asked us to share a card skimming notice so that our members who are SNAP-authorized retailers are aware of card skimming activity.

Click here to view notice.