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Testimony In opposition to HB 1023

By | Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

HB 1023, I believe, is an attempt to bring more insurance companies into the state, unfortunately at a cost that is too high – the elimination of critical consumer protections. Specifically it will: 1. cause higher premiums in general, 2. allow insurers to give much less weight to driving record than currently required and to use discriminatory rating factors,  and 3. cause premiums to increase even for the best drivers in many urban communities.

The food store item pricing law requires supermarkets to put price stickers on most items in supermarkets. It is a long-standing, efficacious, and overwhelmingly popular consumer protection. MASSPIRG does not oppose stores adopting newer pricing technology such as electronic shelf display systems and self service price scanners with certain controls. However, we do oppose legislation that would allow stores to substitute a pricing mechanism that offers less consumer benefit than what we have today. In considering any change to our current retail pricing system, it must first provide equal or better benefits to the consumer to be considered as a substitute. The six proposals before you today do not provide equal or improved consumer benefits.

Current estimates put the Commonwealth’s spending at $1.2 billion per year on prescription drugs. The results of these growing prescription drug costs are more people without access to necessary drugs, higher premiums for those fortunate enough to have prescription drug coverage, and an increasing burden on the state and other programs to assist those who cannot pay for drugs themselves

Testimony in Support of Closing the Telecom Tax Loophole

By | Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

This hearing comes just days before the deadline to file our taxes, and each year at about this time, Bay Staters have an opportunity to reflect about taxes and how our tax dollars get spent. Some may use the occasion to complain about their taxes or government, others may object that public structures like schools, roads, and health inspections need more public funds than they receive. Whatever your perspective, Tax Day and our tax bills are far more palatable when we feel confident in the tax system; that there is inherent fairness in the system; and no one group or individual gets unintended or unreasonable tax breaks.

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