Important MBTA reforms included in final state budget

The final FY16 Budget included two MBTA reforms that have been supported by the Chamber: creation of an MBTA fiscal control board and increased contracting flexibility for the next three years. The Chamber commends the Governor and Legislature for coming to agreement and enacting these provisions in a timely manner.

Over the past several months, the Chamber has been working with a broad coalition of 25 business associations representing large and small employers from a wide range of industries to advance legislation that would enact recommendations made by the Special Panel to Review the MBTA and begin the task of fixing the state’s public transit system.

On July 20, the fiscal control board held its first meeting to establish the role of the board, set board bylaws, and determine its meeting schedule. The Chamber will remain actively engaged in this issue as the control board reviews the T’s operations and works with senior T managers to improve them.

These are great steps for the long-term, but now the focus should shift to the more immediate question of what needs to be done to get the T ready for this winter. Selecting a new General Manager is one very important step. The T needs a strong leader, someone who can execute preparations for winter and act as a change agent for a culture that is in desperate need of change. Now that the legislative piece is done, it’s important to focus on these practical issues. The T needs to reassure people that they are doing everything necessary to avoid a repeat of last winter’s catastrophe. The Chamber is committed to continue to work with key decision makers to drive this issue forward.

If you have any questions, please contact Erin Trabucco,(etrabucco@bostonchamber.com), Senior Policy Advisor.

Chamber works to preserve tax agreement in FY16 budget

When the Commonwealth’s FY16 budget landed on Governor Baker’s desk, it included a provision that would have had a significant financial impact on a number of major employers in Massachusetts. The Conference Committee version of the budget proposed to pay for an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by eliminating a previously-negotiated corporate tax deduction, referred to as FAS 109, negotiated and signed into law in 2008.

FAS 109 provided a partial offset to a significant tax increase included in the 2008 combined reporting law. The Chamber, in collaboration with three other business groups, requested that the Governor consider a budget amendment that would preserve the intent of the 2008 FAS 109 agreement while extending increased relief to hardworking residents of the Commonwealth through an increase in the EITC.

Governor Baker returned the budget to legislators with an amendment to preserve the FAS 109 deduction but delay its implementation for five years and increase the time over which a company may claim it from seven to 30 years. Senate President Rosenberg and House Speaker DeLeo agreed to this compromise. The Chamber thanks the Governor and Legislative leadership for finding a solution that provides certainty for the Commonwealth’s affected businesses.

If you have any questions, please contact Jim Klocke (jklocke@bostonchamber.com), Executive Vice President.

Chamber supports women’s advancement

The Chamber recently submitted a letter of support for women’s advancement initiatives in the Commonwealth to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, which has been reviewing workplace legislation. Specifically, the Chamber seeks to encourage and promote women’s involvement in the workplace.

The Chamber strongly believes that employers should not discriminate on the basis of sex and should implement policies that seek to end unintentional but institutionalized discrimination. We have supported a number of efforts that focus on gender equality, including Governor Patrick and Bentley University’s Corporate Challenge. The Chamber also has a robust Women’s Network that seeks to advance women in the workplace. Please click here for more information.

Additionally, equal opportunity for and equal treatment of women in the workplace will advance economic development for the region. We are aware of a number of member companies who independently employ policies aimed at reducing pay disparities amongst the workforce and encouraging advancement. We commend these employers and encourage others to learn from their best practices.

The Chamber will remain involved in the dialogue on these issues. We respectfully requested that when reviewing proposed legislation regarding women’s advancement, the Legislature pay careful and close attention to the workability of the laws and their impacts on employers of all sizes and in all industries across the Commonwealth.

If you have any questions, or to weigh in on these issues, please contact Jessica Seney (jseney@bostonchamber.com), Director of Government Affairs.

Last chance to post fall internships on Internhub.com

intern-hub

Since it is now late in the summer season, we encourage all of you to post your fall, college-level internships on InternHub.com if you haven’t already done so.

Intern Hub is a free website connecting students, employers, and college career counselors throughout Massachusetts. Intern Hub provides employers the opportunity to instantly search and review thousands of talented applicants. Recruiters can easily upload job descriptions, search for candidates, sort applications, schedule interviews, and send messages directly to students via the website.

Post your fall 2015 internship opportunities today, before it is too late!