Bill Pens Op-Ed in Milton Times
August 10, 2016
Bill wrote an op-ed for the Milton Times regarding two items that were left on the table before the state legislature recessed. The next state rep will likley be involved in getting them across the finish line. Read the full article below.
Important Bills Left on the Table
by Bill Driscoll, Jr.
As the Massachusetts legislative session came to a close on August 1st, several bills were left on the table that deeply impact the Milton and Randolph communities. These items will certainly be taken up when lawmakers reconvene in 2017. Of those, two discussed here could have significant positive impacts on our communities and will require focus and critical decision making during the upcoming legislative session.
One of the more urgent bills that remains to be voted on is the passage of the Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) Act which will provide personal and professional flexibility and care for all Massachusetts residents who are faced with one of life’s many ups and downs. PFML will protect our hard-working residents who are ill, caring for sick family members, or who have had a child. I don’t believe that any worker should have to choose between a job and their health or that of their family. When my wife, Beca, and I welcomed our son, Will, into the world last September we were fortunate that each of our employers allowed great flexibility. Beca was able to spend precious time with Will in those first few months. Passing the PFML Act would mean that those without the luxury of greater flexibility from their employer could at minimum take time to care for family. Legislators must prioritize and expedite the passage of this critical matter in the next legislative session.
As the executive director of nonprofit organizations, I have been in the driver's seat as a small business manager. I know how hard it is to replace talented employees. It takes time and resources. This law is a vital part of keeping our businesses and communities strong by ensuring hardworking employees have reasonable flexibility when they need it. Everyone is best served with PFML.
Another issue that needs to be addressed in the next legislative session that impacts our working families is closure of the loophole that exempts online and vacation rentals, such as those posted on Airbnb, from paying the 5.7% excise tax that is applied to hotels and motels. The additional revenue created by closing this loophole--an estimated $20 million--would put $300 back in the pockets of each of the 405,000 Massachusetts families that earn less than $50,000 a year via an increased Earned Income Tax Credit. Closing this loophole makes so much sense that even Airbnb itself has come out in support of a level playing field. You may have heard their radio ads in July stating as much.
While the national political stage has taken over much of our attention, the person who gets elected to local positions here in Massachusetts will directly shape the lives of our families and our businesses. The next State Representative for Milton and Randolph’s 7th Norfolk District will need to collaborate with other legislators in the Commonwealth to take action and bring these and other important bills across the finish line.