On Monday, I pointed out that Rhode Island’s elected leaders should at least be concerned about the possibility that progressive impositions on Rhode Island businesses — like the paid-time-off mandate — might be hurting our jobs and employment market. Well, now there’s this:
Rhode Island business groups are asking state lawmakers not to emulate Massachusetts’ tax on companies whose workers receive public health insurance, saying it has had “devastating” and “nightmarish” economic consequences there.
Grocers, home-care providers, restaurant chains and some hospitals are among the business interests fighting the plan in Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget to charge companies with at least 300 employees a 10-percent fee on the wages of Medicaid-enrolled workers. The budget expects to collect $15.6 million next year and $19.5 million each year after that from the charge.
“Some of our members in Massachusetts are hearing horror stories,” Lenette Forry, lobbying for the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and Rhode Island Hospital Association, told Rhode Island lawmakers Tuesday night.
Raimondo’s contrary argument is not persuasive. She says that the state’s provision of Medicaid helps the businesses, so they should pick up some of the tab. More than anything, this is an indication of the rolling consequences of bad policy.
Progressive officials pushed the policies making taxpayers liable for the health care of able-bodied people with lower incomes. Progressive officials spent all kinds of money on an online health insurance system that shuffles people automatically into free-to-them Medicaid, even when they were willing to pay for individual plans. Progressive officials spent and millions advertising and drawing people toward it. Progressive officials overestimated how many paying customers they’d have and underestimated how many people would be added to Medicaid. So now progressive officials are looking for a villain whom they can stick with the bill.
The thing is, businesses exist to make money for the people who own and operate them. The more expense government layers on the balance sheet, the harder it is to accomplish that goal. When it stops making sense to run the business, or at least to run it in Rhode Island, businesses will just stop doing it.
That’s where we’re going, and it’s going to be a disaster.