The Chamber & more than 25 business groups call for action to “Fix the T”

The unprecedented delays and cancellations of MBTA service this past winter were unacceptable. The Chamber, along with other leaders of the business community and region, is demanding that strong actions be taken to fix the T’s problems.

Governor Baker recently filed legislation based on recommendations of a special panel tasked with taking an in-depth diagnostic look at the T. The legislation would establish a fiscal control board for the T. The control board would be able to identify the most impactful reforms, and most importantly, be able to implement those reforms. Additionally, the bill gives authority to the control board and key managers to address managerial issues that have plagued the T for many years, such as high rates of absenteeism, poor procurement, and questionable financial and maintenance practices. This legislation is a significant step in the right direction for the effort to fix the T.

Last night, House Speaker DeLeo announced his support of Governor Baker’s fiscal control board.  This is a first step towards the necessary support that the T needs. The Chamber is urging other legislators to approve the fiscal control board as well, and testified accordingly at a State House hearing last week. Yesterday, the Chamber participated in a State House press conference with over 25 other area business groups, regional mayors, and civic leaders, all with the same message: “Fix the T.”

At that press conference a website, www.FixOurT.com, was launched to formally announce the Coalition for a World Class Transit System.  On the website, visitors can sign a petition to fix the T, and read about the problems surrounding the T and the solutions that the Coalition is supporting.

As we continue our outreach and advocacy efforts, we ask that you add your voice to this important debate by doing the following:

  • Please share your experiences with the T this past winter through the survey found here.
  • Add your voice to the need for T changes by using the hashtag, #FixtheT.

If you have any questions, please contact Erin Trabucco, Senior Policy Advisor, at etrabucco@bostonchamber.com or 617-557-7344.

Chamber opposes five Senate budget corporate tax amendments

This week, the Massachusetts Senate debates its version of the Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget. Senators filed 942 amendments that would change funding amounts for programs and amend certain provisions of the law. A final vote should occur this week. Subsequently, a Conference Committee comprised of House and Senate members will convene to find compromise on a final budget that will be sent to Governor Baker for his signature. FY 2016 begins July 1, 2015.

The Chamber respectfully opposed the following five proposed budget amendments that would negatively impact both the business and tax climates by making the Commonwealth less competitive and more unpredictable. None of the amendments passed.

Amendment 42, Closing a Corporate Tax Haven Loophole

By designating a set list of countries as “tax havens” and allowing the Commissioner of Revenue to require disclosure of propriety information, this amendment would institute bad tax policy and adversely affect the Commonwealth’s reputation as a hospitable place to locate and conduct business.

Amendment 44, Mutual Fund Service Corporations

Massachusetts was on the forefront of offering innovative tax policy when the single sales factor formula was adopted for various industries. Most of the country has since followed suit. This amendment would eliminate this structure of the tax code and send a negative message to companies in one of the Commonwealth’s largest employment sectors – financial services. The single sales factor formula encourages businesses to locate and grow in Massachusetts and eliminating it would further adversely impact business costs.

Amendment 52, Tax Expenditure Expiration and Amendment 68, Ending Special Interest Corporate Tax Loopholes

These amendments ignore the recommendations of the Tax Expenditure Commission and would sunset business tax expenditures after an arbitrary period of time. It would be premature to evaluate tax expenditures that encourage economic development, job creation, and job growth prior to the completion of a thorough study of the costs and benefits of the expenditures.

Amendment 163, Office of the State Auditor

This amendment would seriously impact taxpayer confidentiality by providing an elected state official with broad access to tax returns. Tax expenditure evaluation should be conducted by bodies with existing authority and information to do so and should be done in a way that preserves the essential principles of taxpayer confidentiality. Policy makers must continue to protect the longstanding federal and state policies that ensure taxpayer confidentiality and privacy, which is a crucial component of our voluntary tax system.

If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Seney (jseney@bostonchamber.com), Director of Government Affairs.

Invite your interns: June 15 workshop and networking event

The Chamber and Federal Reserve Bank of Boston invite you to send your organization’s spring and summer interns to the third annual Intern Buzz event! The event will be held on Monday, June 15, at 2:00 p.m. at the Boston Fed. The formal invitation is below, ready for you to pass on to your organization’s human resources department or internship managers.  Please contact Emily Dahlgaard for more information or to register.

——————————————————————————————————

Intern Buzz:  Make your NetWORK!
A Summer Networking Event and Workshop for Area Interns

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce invite your organization to send its college interns to participate in a special intern networking event.  At the event, speakers will discuss ways to leverage internships for future job opportunities, and how to get the most out of internship experiences. They will also work with students directly in interactive workshops around networking and career building.

This event will be held on Monday, June 15, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston.  Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP with the names and email addresses of all participants by Wednesday, June 10, to Emily Dahlgaard at EDahlgaard@bostonchamber.com.

This event is one component of a larger initiative led by the Boston Fed and the Chamber to promote a strong workforce through talent retention efforts within the Greater Boston region.  We thank you in advance for your support and participation.

Your perspective requested regarding the state’s workforce system

The state Task Force on Economic Opportunity for Persons facing Chronically High Rates of Unemployment, working through its Employers Subcommittee*, is conducting a survey of employers regarding the state’s workforce system, and has asked us to share it with you.

We encourage you to participate in this brief, but important, survey. The results from the survey will assist the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development in developing strategies to better serve the employer community of Massachusetts.

Please find a link to the Survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NBRGYGG

Thank you for your assistance!

*The Employers Subcommittee is co-chaired by Ronald L. Walker, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, and Donna Cupelo, President of Verizon New England.

 

 

5 ways businesses can address the gender gap

Think the gender gap isn’t an issue in workplaces across America, including Greater Boston?

WNET 76 panel and wideshotThink again – as the numbers don’t lie.  According to recent studies, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid in 2013, among full-time workers. That gap exists among nearly all professionals – and sadly, is even more profound for women of color.

Massachusetts is certainly not immune to this issue, despite Boston having the most highly educated workforce of women in the United States. That’s why we examined the issue at the latest Women’s Network Breakfast in Boston, as part as another invigorating panel discussion. Moderated by Victoria Budson, Executive Director, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard KSG, the panel included Megan Costello, Executive Director, Office of Women’s Advancement, City of Boston; Cathy Minehan, Dean, Simmons School of Management; Evelyn Murphy, President, The WAGE Project, Inc; and Beth Williams, President & CEO, Roxbury Technology, LLC.

So what can businesses do? In the words of our panelists:

1). Education is key.  According to Budson, women underpay women at the same rate as men, meaning pay gaps are an issue of culture. “Our talent management needs to be educated,” she said. “In complex organizations with complex problems, diverse teams solve these problems better.”

Minehan added, “Companies need to rethink how to access 100 percent of the brainpower they have access to.”

2). Realize how women can bring positive change. “Women are game changers,” said Williams. She shared how she’s driving bottom line growth to her own organization by recruiting and hiring women. ‘We’ve seen incredible talent come through our doors that we didn’t overlook just for who they are.”

3). Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of male colleagues and leaders. Costello expressed the importance of bringing men into the conversation, “If women could solve it all ourselves we would have done it by now. It’s important to identify male allies within your organization.”

Evelyn Murphy places the ownership of this area to women themselves, “In the end, it’s up to the women to talk to the men about this,” while ensuring they clearly communicate the why help is needed.

4). Set a pathway for success. Cathy Minehan said it nicely – “Set goals for how women can move up within your organization.”

5). Recognize women set the directional pace of the consumer market. Budson outlined the vital role women play for the success of the nation’s small business and “Main Street” shops.  “If women don’t have money in their pockets, these businesses won’t do as well as they do now.”

Williams built on that, “To get to the next level, you need to have businesses that reflect who the customers are.”

Click here to view the photo gallery from the Women’s Network Breakfast.

And do you want to hear more valuable insight helping Greater Boston women in business grow their careers? A great resource is right here.