Regardless of legislative standstill, Massachusetts auto physique labor fee invoice stays alive – Repairer Pushed InformationOctober 1, 2022
A Massachusetts proposal to power insurers to lift Massachusetts’ lowest-in-the-nation auto physique labor fee stays alive, though the $4.6 billion governor’s financial growth and tax aid invoice that accommodates the language addressing the labor reimbursement fee has been stalled in a Home-Senate convention committee.
As a result of the invoice hasn’t progressed since July, when the formal legislative session expired, “some folks suppose that the invoice is useless, nevertheless it’s not, not by any stretch,” Evangelos “Fortunate” Papageorg, govt director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Suppliers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA), informed Repairer Pushed Information.
Lawmakers quickly shelved the financial growth invoice after state Auditor Suzanne Bump licensed that the state should return practically $3 billion to taxpayers beneath a 1986 voter-approved regulation limiting property tax charges.
Legislative leaders signaled earlier this month that they’ll attempt to rework the financial growth invoice right into a $1.6 billion fiscal 12 months 2022 closeout finances, based on State Home Information Service. Bump has licensed that the state can afford that quantity, along with the $3 billion in tax refunds.
Technically, lawmakers have till the top of the 12 months to approve some type of the laws. Realistically, they’re thought of unlikely to take action earlier than the November elections.
The duty of the convention committee, composed of three state senators and three state representatives, is to iron out variations within the Home and Senate variations of the invoice. A type of variations is a model of the auto physique labor fee invoice, previously referred to as Home 1111, which is included within the Senate model.
Papageorg mentioned he believes that the invoice will likely be handed earlier than the top of the present calendar 12 months, and forwarded to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker for approval.
“There are such a lot of businesses and segments of the state which might be affected by that invoice. It’s enormous,” he mentioned. “There’s no approach it’s not going to be addressed earlier than the top of the 12 months.”
He mentioned AASP-MA and its members are persevering with to foyer legislators on behalf of the invoice, and “we now have been knowledgeable our efforts are having an impact. The opposition has additionally been making an attempt, via robocalls and issues of that nature, to spur on their opposition to that language.” That opposition consists of the state’s auto insurers.
The laws would set a minimal hourly labor fee of $55, the primary important improve in additional than three a long time. The labor reimbursement fee paid by the state’s auto insurers has solely risen from $30 to the present common of $40 over that 30-plus-year interval.
The invoice would additionally create an “auto physique labor fee advisory board” throughout the state’s Division of Insurance coverage, which might make annual suggestions to the insurance coverage commissioner. The commissioner could be required to set a “minimal hourly fee that insurers shall pay” inside 30 days of the advisory board’s report.
The board, which might meet twice a 12 months, would come with one consultant every of the commissioner of insurance coverage, the legal professional common, and the director of the division of requirements; three members from the auto insurance coverage business appointed by the Car Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts; three members from the auto restore business appointed by the Alliance of Automotive Service Suppliers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA), and one member appointed by the Massachusetts State Car Sellers Affiliation.
One member every from the insurance coverage and restore industries would function co-chair. They’d select 4 extra members: one from a vocational-technical college, two from client advocacy teams, and one economist with experience within the insurance coverage business.
The Senate language integrated parts of HB 1111 and a number of other comparable payments that had been endorsed by the Particular Fee on Auto Physique Labor Charges in its remaining report back to the Legislature. The fee was fashioned in late 2021 to handle the state’s stagnant labor fee, and look at its impact on customers, and on the collision restore and insurance coverage industries.
The particular fee discovered that auto physique labor charges “should be addressed,” and declared that sustaining the established order is “not a viable choice.”
Beneath HB 1111, minimal adjustment charges paid by carriers to their insureds could be raised to account for practically 30 years of inflation with the brand new charges phased in over two years. It might then be adjusted every year primarily based on the patron value index for the Northeast Area.
300 repairers reveal in opposition to Massachusetts’ lowest-in-the-nation labor fee
Featured picture: The duvet of the ultimate report of the Particular Fee on Auto Physique Labor Charges, adopted in April by a 10-3 vote. Solely the panel’s three insurance coverage business representatives gave it an unfavorable suggestion. (Dave LaChance/Repairer Pushed Information)
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