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By joining you gain access to exclusive, money saving discounts on services and programs, legislative updates and advocacy as well as valuable educational opportunities. We aim to help you grow and protect your business, promote the retail industry and save your business money. Click here to JOIN NOW!

 

MA Legislature Sets Sales Tax Holiday Weekend for August 10 & 11, 2024

  

This year’s Annual Sales Tax Holiday will be held on the weekend of August 10th and 11th.  The sales tax exemption applies for those two days to any retail purchase made in Massachusetts, both in-store and online, of $2,500 or less, with certain exceptions.
 
While the rules of the holiday weekend remain the same as in recent years, members are encouraged to closely review these helpful FAQs from the MA Department of Revenue (DOR).  For more information, the specific rules governing the Sales Tax Holiday can be found in the DOR regulation, 830 CMR 64H.1.8: Sales Tax Holiday.

And the award for Retailer of the Year goes to….

Click here to submit your nomination!  

RAMAEs honor small and large retailers, rookies and veterans, identifying hidden gems from all corners of the Commonwealth.

As an expert, you can help us identify businesses who deserve to be recognized for going above and beyond to make the retail and dining experience memorable.  There is no limit to the number of businesses you can nominate. So nominate your business and all those you love as well. There are so many incredible retail stores and restaurants in MA who could be deserving of this recognition. Help us find our 2024 winners!

Click here for more information.

 

RAMHIC Offerings for 2024  

RAMHIC continues to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to offer members access to the carrier's entire portfolio of high quality, small group health insurance plans.  

All members purchasing their health insurance coverage through the cooperative will also receive an expanded list of ancillary benefits, FREE of charge. 

Click image above to view a BCBS produced informational video on the power of the RAM/BCBS Cooperative. 

Please see our brochure for more detail on the expanded benefit package.  Specific information regarding each benefit may be found below: 

For more information please visit the RAMHIC page of our website. 


 

Summer Retail Holiday Reminder

 

Members are reminded of their statutory obligations under the state Blue Laws for the upcoming retail holidays of Juneteenth Independence Day (Wednesday, June 19th), Independence Day (Thursday, July 4th) and Labor Day (Monday, September 2nd).  While retail premium pay is no longer required on these holidays, all work performed at certain retail establishments must be voluntary and refusal to work shall not be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge reduction in hours, or any other penalty.  


For more information regarding retail holidays please visit the RAM 2024 Retail Holiday Calendar.

  

RAM Board Stakes out Positions on Potential Ballot Questions

On May 16th, the RAM Board of Directors gathered in Boston for the Association’s Spring Board Meeting. One of the items on the agenda was discussion of the various initiative petitions currently making their way towards the November 2024 ballot.

Of the forty-two petitions that were initially filed last August with the Attorney General’s office only ten proposals, covering six topics, remain in play. Proponents of these petitions successfully gathered and submitted the first round of necessary signatures last December. With the Legislature choosing not to address any of the petitions, the proponents now must collect and submit an additional 12,429 signatures by July 3rd to have their questions placed on the ballot in November. Two of the proposals will also have to survive pending legal challenges to their certification before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The court is likely to rule on those challenges in mid-June.

Although it will not be known until mid-July which of the initiative petitions will definitely be on the statewide ballot, the Board established recorded positions for the Association on three of the potential questions in the event they do make it through the process.

Click here for the positions.

 

 

Visa & Mastercard Interchange Fee Settlement

Claims Deadline - Extended August 30, 2024


RAM members are advised to act now to see if they are entitled to a portion of the pending $5.54 billion Visa/Mastercard Interchange Settlement.  The settlement stems from a class action antitrust lawsuit alleging that the credit card companies overcharged interchange fees on merchants accepting credit card payments.
 
Merchants that accepted Visa or Mastercard payments at any time from January 1, 2004 to January 25, 2019 may be eligible to recover funds from this settlement.  To take part in the settlement, impacted merchants MUST FILE A CLAIM via the court-approved settlement portal at www.paymentcardsettlement.comThe deadline for filing a claim has been extended to August 30, 2024.
 
The process for checking eligibility and filing a claim on the portal is simple and straightforward.  Merchants that have received a Claim Form by mail from the Class Administrator may use the Claimant ID included in the document to start the claims process.  Merchants that have not received a Claim Form by mail, may look up their eligibility on the portal using their federal Taxpayer Identification Number.   
 
Please note that there are third party firms currently offering claims filing services to merchants.  Before engaging with a third party to file your claim, RAM strongly recommends first checking your claim on the portal as described above.  Services offered by these third parties are often costly, and also unnecessary due to the resources made available by the Class Administrator including no-cost assistance with submitting a claim.
 
Members with questions may contact RAM General Counsel, Ryan Kearney, at [email protected].


Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches New MA Summer Child Nutrition Program

Federal program will bring $70 million to Massachusetts, ensuring 600,000 students and their families have access to food during summer months

In a press release, The Healey-Driscoll administration announced that Massachusetts has received federal approval for its summer child nutrition program. Following the ending of Summer Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), this new child nutrition program will help feed an estimated 600,000 students while schools are closed for the summer. Low-income Massachusetts families with school-aged children will be eligible to receive financial assistance to buy groceries, bringing more than $70 million in federal funds to the state’s economy.

“In Massachusetts, we are not leaving federal dollars on the table that could support children and families’ food security. In partnership with our State Legislature, we made universal free school meals permanent. And with this new program, we are working to ensure children and families have access to healthy food all year long,” said Governor Maura Healey. “I want to thank the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress for permanently establishing this child nutrition program. Massachusetts is proud to be utilizing all tools available so kids can focus on learning and play, not where their next meal is coming from.”

Bill Rennie, RAM Vice President, was quoted in the release,  “Massachusetts retailers have long been proud of our partnership with the state and federal government in participating in the SNAP and EBT programs to provide residents with access to nutritious and healthy foods. We applaud Governor Healey for the launch of this Summer EBT Program to continue to assist low-income families in buying food when school is out for the summer.” 

Click here for full release.

 Legislative Update

 

FY25 State Budget Discussion Heads to Conference

The MA House of Representatives moved forward with its own version of the FY25 state budget in April, with the House following Governor Maura Healey’s lead in authorizing an online and cashless lottery, but largely holding the line on any additional significant outside policy changes. House members filed 1,495 amendments to the proposed budget, which were dispensed with during debate in the last week of April. Regarding the amendments, RAM weighed in on proposals prohibiting the intentional release of helium balloons (support), restricting the sale of diet pills (oppose), reforming treatment of injured workers under workers compensation laws (oppose), and taxing synthetic nicotine products (oppose). Ultimately, each of those amendments were rejected, but the lottery provisions were included in the final budget bill passed by the House.

Apart from the annual budget debate, the House and Senate did also agree in late April on a final supplemental budget bill that addressed drinks-to-go and outdoor dining, the once temporary COVID-era policies that had expired on April 1st. The new law received quick approval from Governor Healey and allows for a permanent expansion of expedited permitting for outdoor dining and allows for cocktails-to-go, but not beer and wine.

Senate budget debate followed in May, where the final adopted version of the bill did not allow for an online lottery, but it did include the authorization for debit card use. With both branches having acted, a six-member House and Senate conference committee will now meet to come to a resolution on a final compromise FY25 budget to send on to the Governor for her review. The new fiscal year starts on July 1st.

Click here to continue reading.