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.
We support small business through public policy initiatives, events designed to connect small businesses in Greater Boston to their peers and established business leaders, professional development offerings, and free small business advising.
Explore our mission and values to better understand how we are leading the business community forward.
Our member directory is your resource to discover, connect, and engage with Boston’s businesses from every industry and sector.
November 20, 2023
Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network Urges Legislators to
Prioritize Competitiveness Through Sustainable, Efficient, & Responsible State Spending
The drastic increase in government spending over the past five years is a growing concern for our future competitiveness and may detrimentally impact the long-term fiscal health of Massachusetts. As leaders of Chambers of Commerce from across the Commonwealth, the Network continues to prioritize public policies that will advance the competitiveness of our local businesses and workforce. The Network appreciates the leadership of the Governor and Legislature for focusing on a strong and stable economic environment in recent legislative accomplishments. To enhance our competitiveness and ensure that residents and employers have a healthy business climate, starting with the FY25 budget, the Network urges legislators exercise control in government spending while reprioritizing strong outcomes and increased efficiency.
State spending in Massachusetts, buoyed in large part by economic growth and tax revenues, grew at a breakneck speed over the last five fiscal years, dramatically outpacing inflation. Total general fund spending increased by 26.7 percent between FY 2018 and FY 2022; by contrast, the Boston area consumer price index (CPI) grew at just 14.7 percent over the same period.
The large gap between spending and CPI increases, even over a period with exceptionally high inflation, suggests that state spending is not limited to increased costs for employee salaries or goods and services. Instead, it is expanding each year and often on a large scale. Worth noting, even when accounting for the rapid pace of increases in health care spending – a significant share of which is reimbursed by the federal government – state spending still substantially outpaced inflation. This approach is not sustainable and not responsible.
These annual budget increases were sustained by a combination of significant state tax revenue growth and the largest federal funds transfer to states in history. Both situations are exceptional and cannot continue indefinitely. Looking to the future, the Commonwealth must embrace the reality that recent fiscal years represent historical aberrations, and must reevaluate its spending limitations when building budgets, adopting legislation, and identifying fiscal priorities.
The budget growth is particularly striking when looking at outcomes and the state’s recent performance in areas key to our continued growth and competitiveness. Massachusetts consistently is among the top 10 of states in per capita state and local expenditures. Yet the greater Boston area has some of the worst traffic congestion in the world, a failing public transit system, and ranks 43rd in the nation for fiscal stability according to U.S. News. Meanwhile, Massachusetts now ranks 46 in the country for its tax climate and 50th in the country for its Unemployment Insurance System.
In tandem with serious gaps in spending and related outcomes, the state faces continued and renewed attacks on ensuring accountability for major areas of state spending.
Educating our future workforce is a key priority for the business community. Massachusetts spends among the highest of any state per student – only four states spend more – but there are troubling efforts to obscure transparency and reduce accountability for that spending. Legislation and a ballot initiative to eliminate the MCAS testing requirements that hold local school districts accountable for education outcomes will harm the effectiveness of the Student Opportunity Act and rob the Commonwealth of key data on the state’s strong education system. We cannot allow continued increases in education spending to be coupled with reduced accountability and expect to compete in a 21st century economy.
The reluctance to track specific spending from the new income surtax and constant efforts to expand benefits and entitlements to important programs points to a budget approach that does not analyze the metrics and outcomes of our spending policies. Even those programs supported by the business community, like Paid Family Medical Leave, should not be expanded without the business community’s voice in analyzing the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the program.
As you begin developing our FY25 state budget, we urge you to take a balanced approach and keep spending increases at no more than the rate of inflation. If the consensus revenue determines that tax and other revenues will allow for greater-than-inflation growth, then we strongly urge you to adopt the additional tax reforms that were proposed but not enacted this year.
Our tax policies relative to competitor states and high growth regions in this country are a competitive headwind for Massachusetts. Since 2021, 25 states have cut individuals tax rates, 13 states have cut corporate tax rates, and 2 states have cut sales tax rates. Many others joined Massachusetts in updating their tax codes to improve their tax environment. Competitor states like North Carolina, Arizona, and New Hampshire moved forward with tax changes that benefit individuals and businesses alike. The Commonwealth must continue targeting outlier tax policies as other states make progress on tax policy. Our ability to attract and retain our talented workforce, business expansions, and start-ups depend on us shedding the competitive complacency attitude and realizing that Massachusetts exceptionalism will not sustain us.
The Commonwealth’s competitiveness strategy depends on a future-oriented approach to spending increases, tax policy, and accountability. Our Chambers recognize this may involve difficult decisions; those decisions are likely more challenging given the recent prolonged and sharp annual increases. However, those difficult decisions are also an essential part of effective governance, just as they are for households, businesses, states, and nations.
By balancing priorities and available resources, the state can continue its work from this year and prioritize competitiveness while also preparing for an inevitable economic downturn. We encourage the state’s budget drafters to avoid unsustainable spending and bolster accountability for current investments by centering positive policy outcomes and eliminating duplicative or ineffective spending in the process.
Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network
James E. Rooney, President & CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Tim Murray, President & CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Rick Sullivan, President & CEO, Western MA Economic Development Council
Karen Andreas, President & CEO, North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Peter Forman, President & CEO, South Shore Chamber of Commerce
Greg Reibman, President, Charles River Regional Chamber
Michael O’Sullivan, CEO, & Rick Kidder, COO, One SouthCoast Chamber
Jonathan Butler, President & CEO, 1Berkshire
Paul Niedzwiecki, President & CEO, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
 State spending data is from the Statutory Basis Financial Report, FY 2018 and FY22, general fund spending only and excluding fund transfers. See pages 59 and 66, respectively. The Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH CPI-U is measured between July 2018 and July 2022 to reflect when spending was completed for each fiscal year. June measurements are not available for the Boston CPI measure.
 US Census Bureau. 2000, updated annually. Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances, 1977-2020. Compiled by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Washington, DC: Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (2021). https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/state-and-local-general-expenditures-capita
 U.S. Census, 2021 Annual Survey of School System Finances.
About the Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network
The Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce Policy Network (the “Chambers Policy Network”) is a group of large regional chambers of commerce representing over ten-thousand-member employers and millions of workers and customers across the entire state Massachusetts. Using its united and collective voice on behalf of the business community, the Chamber Policy Network advocates for public policy solutions that will strengthen the quality of life and economy in all regions of the Commonwealth.