The Biden Administration is starting to stack up some very problematic initiatives for businesses. Two of the worst are the vaccine mandate to businesses that employ more than 100 employees and the proposal for banks to report additional information on bank accounts with more than $600. Both are regulatory nightmares and are direct, unforced errors on economic growth.
The vaccine mandate appears to be grinding its way through the internal administrative process. While there is a lot we don’t know about the rule, we’ve seen enough to be sickened. How will businesses comply? How do you maintain records? How long? Who pays for testing? How do you verify? How do you communicate with and track employees that have been vaccinated, vs those who haven’t? And that’s just the start on compliance challenges. As troubling is the impact on the workforce; affected businesses are already estimating the number of employees that will leave their job rather than comply with a federal mandate. Some will migrate to businesses that do not meet the arbitrary 100 employee cutoff. Others, nearing retirement or feeling confident in their financial situation, may leave the workforce entirely. Major infrastructure projects slated for next spring and summer are suddenly clouded in uncertainty. Even the more established, and recognizable businesses in Montana are calling this mandate an “existential threat”.
And then there’s the inexplicable proposal to force banks to report additional information on bank accounts with an arbitrarily established balance. This proposal started out affecting bank accounts of $600 but it appears the Administration is now considering a number higher than the average high school student’s checking account balance. But bumping the number up is little solace for banks and consumers. Banks and financial institutions are already some of the most highly regulated industries in the country. This proposal, another unfunded mandate, will force massive costs on banks and open a whole new book series in undermining consumer privacy and data protection.
Both proposals are startling in their overreach and burden on Montana businesses. The Montana Chamber of Commerce is making it clear to our elected officials of the “existential threats” these proposals pose. Last week, we met with Senator Tester’s office and Montana’s Attorney General. The Montana Chamber is evaluating a variety of options and is working closely with other associations on these issues. I encourage you to contact our Congressional delegation with your own thoughts.