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.
May 10, 2022
The Chamber supports much of the proposed legislation in H.4720, An Act investing in future opportunities for resiliency, workforce, and revitalized downtowns, particularly the investments that will shore up the unemployment insurance trust fund, facilitate the transition to clean energy and transportation, and revitalize downtowns. In addition, the bill includes policy updates that recognize the growing significance of apprenticeships, help spur housing production, and encourage the redevelopment of brownfields sites.
The Chamber, however, has concerns about the proposed sale of the Hynes Convention Center. Additionally, with the massive influx of state revenue in recent months, the Chamber believes that the commonsense tax relief measures included in H.4361, An Act to improve Massachusetts competitiveness and reduce the cost of living are an essential component of supporting economic development in the Commonwealth for our workforce and small businesses. We encourage the committee to include that legislative package within its proposal.
Dedicated Resources to Key State Priorities
$300 million transfer to UI Trust Fund – Section 137
The COVID pandemic put unprecedented strain on the Commonwealth’s Unemployment Trust Fund, necessitating the use of federal resources and a dramatic expansion of the administrative functions of both enhanced benefits and new worker assistance programs. Rightly prioritizing the distribution of benefits to individuals, approximately $300 million worth of overpayments were issued by the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through no fault of employers or employees. The Chamber does not believe clawing back payments from individual workers is an efficient or effective solution to recovering overpayments; however, employers should not be responsible for those costs to the Trust Fund. Dedicating ARPA funds to cover this balance both alleviates the need for DUA to pursue repayments from workers who are unlikely able to repay distributed overpayments and prevents shifting those costs to employers.
$750 million for climate change priorities – Line-item 1599-2078
To meet the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the Commonwealth must deploy resources strategically to initiatives that will expedite the transition to cleaner energy and improved energy efficiency. H.4720 dedicates significant ARPA resources to several areas of critical need: preparing our ports for offshore wind development, ensuring a trained local workforce is available for jobs created in the offshore wind industry, and creating grants and incentives for reducing emissions from the building sector. The Chamber fully supports this funding to implement climate priorities.
Targeted Tax Incentives for Workforce Development, Housing, and Revitalization
The Chamber supports sections 106 and 113 that allow the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development to expand the state’s apprenticeship tax credit program to growth industries new to the apprenticeship model and deemed critical to the regional economy. Work-based training, including apprenticeships, are valuable investments in the state’s workforce because they offer hands-on learning and develop essential employability skills. This expansion will enable employers to offer more opportunities for experiential training.
As the use of apprenticeships spreads to additional industries, the Chamber also supports proposed updates to the oversight of the state’s apprenticeship programs to reflect the growing importance of apprenticeships and new models for worked-based learning.
Sections 102-104 and 110-112 increase from $10 million to $30 million the amount of Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) tax credits that the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) may authorize each year. As housing costs continue to soar in the Greater Boston region, housing production is more important than ever, and this valuable tool will help spur more production of market-rate housing.
Starter Home Districts
Section 98 creates a starter home zoning district option for municipalities. The program was previously included under 40R and had limited success because it required the zoning districts be located near transportation or dense areas, where land acquisition costs are usually more expensive. Re-enacting starter home districts as a standalone zoning option could help improve the economics of starter home construction. Worth noting, municipalities will still need to proactively adopt the zoning district.
Brownfields – Sections 31-45, 99-101, 107-109
Extending the brownfields tax credit by five years and changing the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund to increase cost and site assessment thresholds and expand eligibility will allow for more underutilized properties to receive proper environmental remediation and return to productive use.
Brownfields often face significant hurdles to clean-up and redevelopment, inhibiting new uses and negatively impacting the surrounding community. The large-scale shift to electric vehicles that is expected over the next decade will potentially leave more brownfield sites as fewer gas stations are needed. The brownfields tax credit is an important tool that facilitates environmental remediation and returns properties to their highest and best use, contributing to local economies and tax bases.
Hynes Convention Center Sale
The Chamber has significant concerns about the proposed sale of the Hynes Convention Center. Any consideration of the reuse or sale of such valuable and well-located state property should undergo a substantial review and stakeholder engagement process prior to authorizing its transfer.
While occupancy rates, the COVID-19 pandemic, and potential upgrades to the existing property are often cited as reasons for disposing the Hynes, there should be an independent evaluation of the property’s management, marketing, outreach, and physical conditions. The evaluation should be publicly available for examination. Stakeholder engagement should also include further discussion about different alternatives and how to best maximize the property’s potential.
At the very minimum, the update and supplement report outlined in section 134 of this bill, which would provide an update on “changes in convention, venue management and hospitality industry that have developed since January 2020” should incorporate the independent evaluation and be completed prior to legislative action on a transfer of the property. With that updated information, and particularly data on how the convention business may have permanently changed due to COVID-19 and whether smaller convention venues may have renewed importance, the Legislature could proceed with a fuller and more informed discussion about the Hynes site’s future.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express the Chamber’s strong support for H.4361, An Act to improve Massachusetts competitiveness and reduce the cost of living. The unique combination of targeted tax adjustments supports a competitive business climate while also providing much needed tax relief to some of our most vulnerable residents. This package, as filed by the Governor, would serve as an impactful economic development initiative to provide direct financial relief to workers and small businesses. With the Commonwealth collecting over $2 billion above expected revenues in April alone, the comparatively small cost of the total tax package will not hurt the state’s ability to fund key state priorities. I hope you will consider adding H.4361 to your economic development proposal.