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BPAA State Policy Update - November 6

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TAX

On Thursday, November 2nd, the House Republican Leadership released the details of their tax reform bill titled, “House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – H.R. 1.”

To note: The deduction of state and local property taxes would be capped at $10,000, and state and local income and sales taxes could no longer be deducted.

To learn more about the House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Michael Best Strategies’ tax policy experts, Denise Bode and Anne Canfield, both veterans from the last tax reform overhaul that was passed by Congress in 1986, provided their insight and expert analysis on the House GOP’s legislation. Click here to view the document.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin employers contributing to their employees’ college savings accounts could claim a tax credit against their contributions under a measure moving through the state Legislature. S.B. 75 creates a corporate income and franchise tax credit for amounts contributed by an employer into an employee's 529 college savings account. The proposed credit is nonrefundable, limiting it to the amount of the taxpayer's income or franchise tax liability. Won support in the Senate – heads to the Assembly.

Michigan: McDonald Hopkins reports, Lawmakers working to stamp out taxes whey can: Lawmakers in the Great Lakes State are taking the necessary steps to curb action on two unpopular taxes on soda and personal income. The prohibition on soda taxes became law last week, and one senator is readying a new proposal to eliminate personal income taxes.

LABOR

Texas: NBC local affiliate KXAN reports Austin considers requiring private companies to provide paid sick leave. The Austin City Council is looking for feedback on the possibility of a city-wide paid sick leave policy for employees in the private sector. Almost 4 out of 10 workers in Austin do not work at a company where paid sick leave is required. Some small businesses in Austin say a city-wide requirement is just not realistic. Approximately 6 out 10 service industry workers don’t have sick pay. Several groups see a bigger impact of having no sick days.

Maryland: The Washington Post reports, Maryland Democrats spar with Gov. Hogan over task force on paid sick leave. Maryland Democrats sparred with Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Thursday over paid sick leave, an issue that was a focal point of this year’s legislative session in Annapolis and will likely resurface in next year’s gubernatorial election campaign. Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews accused Hogan, who this spring vetoed a sick-leave bill passed by the legislature, of creating an “anti-workers” committee in an attempt to continue to block the bill, which requires employers who have at least 15 workers to provide them with five paid sick days a year. Democrats, who have a supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly, plan to override the governor’s veto when the 2018 legislative session begins in January. The business community is urging lawmakers to let the veto stand, however, and may seek to bolster it's argument with the findings of a task force Hogan created to study the impact paid sick leave would have on employers and workers.

New York:

Utica Observer-Dispatch reports, New York state soon will offer Paid Family Leave: a new health care program signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016 that begins Jan. 1. Paid Family Leave covers holes in the Disability Benefits Law and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Added as a rider to the employee’s Disability Benefits Law coverage, PFL offers wage replacement to employees for situations such as bonding with recently born or adopted children, a family member’s sickness or serious health condition, or a family member who is or will be on active military duty. If eligible, employees receive up to 50 percent of their weekly income in the program’s first year (barring some exceptions). That will increase incrementally to 67 percent until the program is fully implemented in 2021. The coverage is funded through employee payroll deductions, according to the Paid Family Leave website.

MINIMUM WAGE

Click here to see a state-by-state minimum wage changes for 2018

ALCOHOL

Utah: From the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board: This is what happens when you sign a bad bill — a bill that threatens to wreck Utah’s tourism industry. You hurt Utah. Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill lowering the state’s legal blood alcohol threshold from .08 to .05, the lowest in the nation. It might as well be 0. After more than a drink or two, you’re over Utah’s limit as of Dec. 30, 2018. Travelers and tourists spent $8.4 billion in Utah last year, according to a 2017 report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. Tourism and travel created 85,000 jobs in 2016, making it the eighth-largest industry in Utah.

Massachusetts: Local New England affiliate reports, Victims’ of drunk driving question lack of progress on ignition interlock bill. Boston – Last year in Massachusetts, 119 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver, according to AAA Northeast. Crash survivors, families of the deceased, law enforcement officers and lawmakers now want the Legislature to advance bills they say will make Massachusetts roads safer. The bill that attracted the most testimony before the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday was one that has been kicked around on Beacon Hill for years, but never passed. The legislation would expand the use of ignition interlock devices for people convicted of drunken driving.

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