Join us for our installment of the Pacesetters Doing Business series featuring Boston Planning and Development Agency on December 7, 2023.
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Jenny Holaday will share her journey into leadership as President of Encore Boston Harbor and first woman to run a casino in Massachusetts.
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Encore Boston Harbor
Step into Winter Wonderland at our BIMA Holiday Gala. Gather your digital media and marketing peers for a night of networking and entertainment.
6:30pm - 9:30pm
Designed for mid-level managers and supervisors, this new certificate program addresses workplace well-being through unique, innovative, and actionable methods.
Join our Transformational DEI Certificate! Our comprehensive learning & development offerings are designed to connect and grow strong leaders who lead both inside and out of the office.
Our Women’s Leadership Program enables you to take your leadership to the next level by arming you with the most in-demand leadership toolkit.
Our Boston’s Future Leaders (BFL) program provides emerging leaders with a socially conscious and civically engaged leadership toolkit, as well as the opportunity to apply their knowledge through experiential assignments.
City Awake empowers young professionals in a variety of ways that encourages these rising leaders to stay invested in the region’s future success.
We are developing an ecosystem of corporations and partners with the influence and buying power to transform economic inclusion for minority business enterprises (MBEs).
The Fierce Urgency of Now Festival brings Boston’s diverse young professionals together with business leaders, organizations and their peers to build connection, advance careers and ignite positive change.
BIMA (the Boston Interactive Media Association) serves a vibrant community of like-minded professionals from agencies, brands, publishers, and ad-tech companies with business interests in the New England market.
For nearly 30 years, the Chamber’s Women’s Network has connected female professionals of all background and career levels. Today, our Women’s Network is the largest in New England, strengthening the professional networks of women each year.
The Massachusetts Apprentice Network convenes employers, training providers, and talent sources interested in developing and implementing apprenticeship programs in occupations across industries and statewide in fields such as tech, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and more.
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The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce submitted testimony in favor of H.4361, An Act to improve Massachusetts’ competitiveness and reduce the cost of living. The unique combination of tax adjustments in this bill supports a competitive business climate while also providing much needed tax relief to some of our most vulnerable residents. Commonsense strategies, like increasing the dependent care credit and the rental deduction, will help retain our local workforce facing high childcare and housing costs. In addition, modifying the state’s estate and short-term capital gains taxes will help Massachusetts remain a competitive place to start, operate, and retain businesses in a time of economic uncertainty.
Employers and employees endured unprecedented challenges as workplaces, schools, and childcare facilities shut down for extended periods of time during the pandemic. As we emerge from this crisis and transition into a new normal, it is vitally important that we support both businesses and workers for our region to successfully rebound. Economic uncertainty remains, with staffing shortages, high inflation, and supply chain interruptions all creating headwinds for a successful economic recovery.
Fortunately, state revenues have exceeded expectations for consecutive fiscal years and ample federal resources are available for the state’s disposal. The state should deploy those resources to create a more competitive tax environment for workers and small businesses. The Chamber urges the committee to support this legislation fully either as a stand-alone bill or as part of the overall House FY23 budget process.
H.4361 will help improve the business climate in Massachusetts through changes to the tax code that will bring the state more in-line with the federal government and other states. These changes include updates to the estate tax and the short-term capital gains tax, where the state is an outlier and current policies represent an economic disadvantage.
Massachusetts is one of only twelve states that impose an estate tax.i Additionally, Massachusetts has the lowest exemption level at $1 million (along with Oregon) and applies the tax to the full value of the estate once the valuation threshold is triggered. This places the Commonwealth well outside of the mainstream and hurts our competitiveness in retaining both business owners and talent, and particularly impacts our family and small businesses.
Family businesses already face significant challenges when a founding family member passes away, resulting in the closure of the business in nearly half of such circumstances.ii In a time of higher inflation and property values, the value of a family or small business will increasingly exceed the $1 million estate tax threshold, and families are faced with difficult choices about whether they can afford to continue operating or are forced to sell or close the business rather than pay the assessed tax.
In a related context, the Massachusetts Legislature recently recognized the difficulty of navigating the Commonwealth’s estate tax for family-owned small businesses when it addressed the burden the tax placed on farms.iii Prior to 2018, the estate tax was applied to the full market rate valuation of farms unless it was protected by an agricultural preservation restriction, forcing many farm families to sell part or all of the farmland in order to pay the estate tax. Changes to the law allowed the land to be valued at current or agricultural use value, easing the tax burden, and helping preserve family farms in the state.
Families face similar difficulties when other small businesses are involved. Raising the exemption threshold to $2 million and applying the tax only to the value above that threshold will create a far less punitive tax structure and ensure more small businesses stay open and continue to operate through generations. It will also help encourage business formation because starting a business is risky, and knowing that success will not be undermined by an uncompetitive estate tax encourages entrepreneurship.
In addition to the estate tax, Massachusetts currently employs an uncompetitive tax rate for short-term capital gains. The federal government and many states treat short-term capital gains as ordinary income, applying personal income tax rates to the value of relevant assets with a holding period of less than one year. H.4361 would simply conform our short-term capital gains tax rate to our normal personal income tax rate, both aligning with the federal government’s treatment for these taxes and further simplifying our tax code.
Finally, while not included in H.4631, the Chamber also strongly supports sections 32 and 33 of H.2, the Governor’s proposal for the FY23 budget which will conform the state’s individual income tax code with the federal Internal Revenue Code. This change will simplify our tax code, facilitate accurate tax administration, and ensure that tax code changes at the federal level are reflected in the state’s code.
Massachusetts’ competitiveness also relies on being a state where individuals and families want to live and work. Affordability increasingly factors into whether employees – and by extension their employers – want to reside in the Commonwealth. The tax relief measures included in this bill such as increasing the rental deduction, the dependent care credit, and the no-tax threshold are appropriately targeted at making the Commonwealth more affordable, particularly for low-income residents, and can help retain our local workforce.
Massachusetts has among the highest housing costs in the country, which increasingly factors into employers’ ability to attract and retain workers. Decreasing the tax burden on renters will help make the Commonwealth a more affordable place to live and work. Increasing the dependent care deduction and no-tax threshold also provides working families savings as they face higher costs for childcare and ordinary household expenses. The Chamber supports these measures alongside the other provisions of this bill that improve the competitive business climate.
iii Section 18 of chapter 209 of the Acts of 2018