Chamber’s proposal included in Governor’s economic development bill

The Chamber has been working on several fronts to strengthen the state’s financial services sector, which makes such a large contribution to the Greater Boston and Massachusetts economies.  As part of this effort, we filed a bill for the 2013-2014 legislative session to create a state Financial Services Advisory Council.  We have been working to build support for it among legislative and executive branch leaders.  The Council, chaired by the state’s economic development secretary with members from state government and the financial services sector (the latter a majority), would drive strategies to promote the sector’s growth.

On April 10, Governor Patrick included the Council proposal in an economic development bill he is sending to the Legislature.  This builds on work we have done with state economic development secretary Greg Bialecki, who has hosted regular meetings with a Chamber-led group of financial services leaders.  The group achieved a notable success last fall, when Governor Patrick weighed in with the Securities and Exchange Commission on money market funds regulation after Greg and the group had worked through the issue.

House and Senate leaders are working on their own versions of economic development legislation, which will be released in the weeks ahead.  We have been working with them from the start to build support for the Council, and will seek its inclusion in each chamber’s economic development bill.  A final bill is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Chamber announces national coalition – “Business for Federal Research Funding”

Recognizing that cuts to federal research budgets threaten innovation and economic growth, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce announced the creation of “Business for Federal Research Funding,” a coalition of 41 Chambers of Commerce to date from across the country advocating for strong research funding growth in the federal budget.

The federal government has played a major role in funding research efforts that have led to significant scientific breakthroughs and new technologies, from the Internet to communications satellites and defenses against disease.  Nearly 60 percent of funding for basic scientific research in the United States is provided by the federal government.  Innovations that flow from university-based basic research are at the root of countless companies, products, technologies, innovations and jobs.

Business for Federal Research Funding represents a strong cross-section of the nation’s business community, with broad geographic diversity among its members.  Coalition members seek to bring increased focus on the critical impact that federal research dollars have on the long-term growth prospects of the nation’s economy.  For more information please contact Erin Trabucco, Senior Policy Advisor, at etrabucco@bostonchamber.com or 617-557-7344.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Chamber-urged UI rate freeze enacted

After House and Senate leaders reached an agreement, Governor Patrick signed a bill to freeze unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates at 2013 levels.  It prevents an imminent 30% increase in rates, which would have added $500 million to Massachusetts employers’ UI tax costs.

The Chamber has been advocating for a freeze, including via the recent publication of our Growth Tracker Scorecard on this topic.  This Scorecard compared all 50 states’ UI tax burdens and noted that without a freeze, the Commonwealth would have the highest burden in the country.  It also highlighted the fact that a strong employment record provides little relief for Massachusetts employers.  Firms here with the lowest rates of layoffs, or no layoffs at all, still face a UI tax burden that is sixth-highest in the country.

Beyond the 2014 rate issue, the Chamber has recommended UI reforms to House and Senate leaders and urged that they be included in any minimum wage legislation.  The Senate has passed separate UI reform and minimum wage bills, and the House recently passed a combined bill.  The House bill provides UI cost relief for employers, consistent with a recommendation in the Chamber’s Growth Tracker Scorecard.  The Chamber will continue to work with legislative leaders, the Patrick Administration, and other business groups for a satisfactory resolution of these issues between now and the end of the 2014 legislative session on July 31.

Find out the latest on the unemployment insurance rate freeze

On Thursday night, Chamber CEO Paul Guzzi went On the Record with NECN’s Peter Howe to discuss Governor Patrick’s new economic development proposal, a freeze in the unemployment insurance rate, and Arianna Huffington’s address to the Chamber. Watch this interview here.