We have four days. No need to rush.

The campaigning has begun even though we're still 15 months away from voting on a constitutional amendment that would forever impose a four percent surtax on Massachusetts incomes above $1 million.
 
The House and Senate voted 159-41 Wednesday to advance the Fair Share Act, better known as the “millionaires’ tax.”
 
Expect “a bruising ballot battle, pitting big business against big labor,” with the union-funded Raise Up Massachusetts coalition facing off against a newly formed nonprofit Partnership for Massachusetts’ Future, and among other business-backed groups, writes Jon Chesto in the Globe.

 
Baker: But we have $10 billion in fed funds
 
Yesterday Gov. Charlie Baker raised questions about both Fair Share's need and timing.
 
"I said before that I don't think we should be raising taxes," he said. "Between state and local government, we have $10 billion already in federal funds that we need to find a way to put to work. And I really think our focus ought to be on that."
 
In addition to billions in COVID relief, the state's tax hauls have also far exceeded benchmarks, with revenue officials reporting twice as much revenue during May than originally expected, writes Chris Van Buskirk at State House News.
 
"We're coming out of a pandemic," Baker added.
 
"We have hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for work. And we actually don't know exactly what the impact of the pandemic is going to be on how people think about where and how they work and the nature of how organizations are going to set up and manage their organizations in the future."

 
But Jeff Bezos...
 
But as Chesto points out, voters may be particularly inclined to support the amendment following revelations like the one this week by ProPublica showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.
 
Pioneer Institute executive director Jim Stergios counters by noting it’s local small business owners who would be most affected by Fair Share.
 
Indeed, 45 percent of all pass-through income in Massachusetts — primarily income from small businesses — is reported on returns of $1 million or more, making Fair Share a significant new tax on employers, according to the D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

 
SBA ponders new way to forgive
 
Looking for help forgiving someone in your life? Or advice on helping someone forgive you? Wellesley Books has dozens of suggested books on those topics.
 
Struggling with Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness?
 
That’s not so easy since the rules change so often any book on the topic would almost immediately be out of date.
 
Just this week the SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman told Andy Medici at the BBJ that her agency is exploring ways it can further simplify the PPP forgiveness process for loans between $150,000 to $2 million.
 
The move follows multiple revisions to the process for loans $150,000 and under.
 
Loans of $2 million and up are held up for additional scrutiny while some experts predict the forgiveness process for some borrowers could drag on for years.
 
“We want to figure out how to streamline it, Guzman said.

 
This is happening today
 
Amplify Latinx is hosting a virtual conference with a great lineup of speakers today (June 11) from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Details and registration

 
Bill would grant state tuition rates to undocumented high schoolers
 
Legislation before the House Higher Education Committee would extend in-state tuition rates -- which are thousands of dollars per year lower than out-of-state rates -- to undocumented immigrants who already reside in Massachusetts and attend its high schools, reports Chris Lisinski at State House News.
 
Backers say the change would help students secure a more stable financial footing and mitigate declining enrollment.
 
"These students come up through our educational system and have worked hard to move on to college," said UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, who emigrated from Argentina as a teenager.
 
"They value education and often offer an untold potential to our commonwealth.”
 
In 2018, Massachusetts was home to about 13,000 undocumented children under the age of 17 who were enrolled in public K-12 schools. Meanwhile enrollment at state colleges and universities has been declining for years.
 
Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. already extend in-state tuition eligibility to graduates of their high schools regardless of immigration status.

 
What our business are most worried about
 
Next Thursday (June 17) at 9 a.m. we’ll be releasing the results of our chamber survey asking you to share with us the issues that you're most concerned about related to the recovery. 
 
We’ll be following that up with a conversation with four super smart individuals who will share insights on the issues you’ve ranked as top concerns, including:
 
  • Mike Kennealy, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for Baker Administration talking about business recovery and housing
  • Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Executive Director of 128 Business Council and the the MassDOT Board of Directors talking about transportation
  • Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director of Mass Cultural Council, discussing the challenges facing nonprofits as well as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives
  • Nicholas A. Covino, PsyD, President of William James College, discussing the mental health of our workforce
 
I'm expecting a great conversation from these folks.
 
And don't forget to register for my conversation on Monday at noon with Treasurer Deb Goldberg too.
 
 
Missed yesterday's pop-up program? Watch it today
 
Our real estate committee hosted a great conversation yesterday about the pop-up retail trend and how short term uses not only benefit start-ups, property owners and municipalities, but established bricks and mortar businesses and economic recovery. 
 
 
 
Four more days, but take your time Beacon Hill
 
We’re now four days away from the expiration of pandemic policies that allowed for remote public meetings, provided eviction protections, health care flexibility, drinks to go and other measures.
 
If you didn’t need a to-go cocktail before, you certainly will after watching this process unfold.
 
Yesterday, the Senate approved its version of a bill that extends some of those policies (the cap on to-go meal deliveries is not among them).
 
But the House still needs to act. And a conference committee would be needed if the two bills weren’t identical. 
 
Then, Gov. Charlie Baker would need to decide if he’ll sign it.
 
Did I mention that most of these programs expire on Tuesday?
 
Oh, one more thing: The House isn’t scheduled to meet until Monday. (State House News).

 
Martini lunch deduction may be going away too 
 
For now, at least, did you know that your to-go cocktail may be deductible?
 
In fact, your entire meal can be a fully deductible expense if it's for a business meeting.
 
Known as the "three martini-lunch tax break,” it was signed into law last December by former President (and hotel/restaurant operator) Trump who pushed for the change saying it “will really bring life back to the restaurants.” (Not, it turned out, as much as vaccines, but I digress.)
 
In order to get your meals deducted, there has to be a business purpose around the meal, writes Karflton Dennis at Forbes who provides a guide on how to take a business meal deduction, including dining in and takeout.
 
But you may want schedule those business meals soon.
 
The full business meal deduction costs taxpayers an estimate $5 billion in foregone tax revenue over two years. And now a bipartisan push is underway to revoke that tax break, saying the billions in lost revenue raised should be used to support child care instead, according to CBS.
 
And that’s today’s Need to Knows, unless you need to know about how an 18-year-old made the best of something her big jerk of a dad did.
 
Be back Tuesday. Have a good weekend.
 
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
 
Your chamber is here when you need us.

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