More than 200 small business owners and advocates took their case against government regulation to Beacon Hill today.

They say small businesses are facing an onslaught of referendums and bills that increase labor costs and impact how business is conducted in Massachusetts.

Rob Mellion, the Executive Director and General Counsel at the Massachusetts Package Stores Association, told me that many small business owners feel as though "legislators bend over backward for social groups at their expense."

Mellion also said, "Main Street businesses are being targeted by labor activists and those pushing an agenda that will harm the ability to operate small businesses."

Groups such as MASSPack, RAM, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and several local chambers of commerce climbed Beacon Hill today to lobby Governor Charlie Baker and members of the legislature.

They feel as though new health care assessments, sick leave pay, and the highest-in-the-nation costs for energy are already crippling many small businesses. Those businesses now face the possible addition of the so-called Millionaires Tax, and Paid Family and Medical Leave initiatives, as well as tax assessments not currently shared by their online competitors.

Massachusetts politicians have long held a pile-on philosophy when it comes to business. Locally, they shift the tax burden away from homeowners who make up the voting block, and onto the backs of businesses. Statewide, lawmakers create one feel-good social program or spending mandate after another, and simply seek out business to fund the cost.

Those businesses who were lucky to survive the national economic downturn are fending off internet competition with one hand, while battling crippling government regulations with the other. This will have a devastating effect on Main Streets across the Commonwealth if allowed to continue.

Small businesses account for nearly 85% of our jobs. They provide the money to sponsor local sports leagues and scholarships and other civic needs. They are the backbone of our country and our local communities.

Yet the government continues to deliver one crushing blow after another.

Shrink government and reduce government regulations that threaten our jobs and our small business communities.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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