Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Speaker DeLeo Addresses Chamber

Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo was the featured speaker at this morning's Government Affairs Forum.

The Speaker's remarks focused on reform, leadership, and the state's challenging fiscal picture.

He concluded with an optimistic take on our current economy: "As Speaker, I will stand for the proposition that our future as a Commonwealth is bright, and I will work to ensure that our public officials live up to as high a standard as the people of Massachusetts have set over the centuries."

Coverage of the event can be found in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. If you missed the speech, you can listen Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on 90.9 WBUR.

Monday, March 30, 2009

House Speaker DeLeo to address Chamber tomorrow

At tomorrow's Government Affairs Forum, Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo will deliver his first major address to the boston business community.

Click here to register for this event.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Senate President Therese Murray to address Chamber on April 15

Senator Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts State Senate, will be the featured speaker at the Chamber's Government Affairs Forum on April 15.

Since being overwhelmingly elected by her colleagues to lead the Senate in March of 2007, Murray has succeeded in driving a number of legislative initiatives. She was the sponsor and key driver of a health care cost control bill enacted in 2008 that will hold health care providers and insurers to new standards of transparency and modernize the state’s health care delivery system. Murray has also driven passage of laws addressing renewable energy sources and efficiency, the biotech and life science industry, and improvements to our housing, education, and transportation infrastructure. Thanks to her leadership, the Commonwealth benefits from a top bond rating and health Rainy Day and unemployment trust funds.

First elected to the Senate in 1992, Murray has long worked to protect the industries of her South Shore and Cape Cod district. She has been a strong advocate for the promotion of local tourism, protection of the environment, and enhanced security at Pilgrim Nuclear Plant and other important facilities throughout Plymouth and Barnstable Counties. Murray previously served as director of the Municipal Women’s Project, community relations consultant for Times Mirror Communications, and founder and treasurer of South Shore Cablevision.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

House Speaker DeLeo to address Chamber on March 31

Robert DeLeo, speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, will be the featured speaker at the Chamber's Government Affairs Forum on March 31.

DeLeo was elected Speaker of the House on January 28, 2009. He comes to the position after more than four years as chairman of the House Committee on Ways & Means – a critical experience that has prepared him to navigate the state budget through a challenging economy. An 18-year veteran of the House, DeLeo’s knowledge of the legislative process and respect among his fellow lawmakers will help create a smooth transition and allow legislative leaders to focus on addressing the state’s many challenges.

DeLeo is a graduate of Northeastern University and Suffolk University Law School. He served as chair of the Town of Winthrop’s Board of Selectmen for nine years and as a Town Meeting member for more than 30 years. DeLeo previously chaired the Committees on Bills in Third Reading, Local Affairs, and Ethics.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cubist CEO to address Life Science Forum

Michael Bonney, president and CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, will be the featured speaker at the Chamber's Life Science Forum on March 26.

Cubist is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of pharmaceutical products that address unmet medical needs in the acute care environment. Cubist developed and commercialized CUBICIN®, which has experienced the most successful IV antibiotic launch, in dollar terms, in U.S. history, and is expected to eventually achieve sales of greater than $1 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

Michael Bonney joined Cubist in 2001, after serving in a variety of positions at Biogen, including vice president of sales & marketing. While at Biogen, he built the commercial structure for the launch of Avonex. Bonney also spent eleven years at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, ending his career there as national business director. Bonney is a director NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Bates College. He is also a member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Massachusetts Loses 4,900 Jobs in January 2009

Yesterday, the Chamber released the 2009 Massachusetts Jobs Update. You can access the Jobs Update by clicking on the link below:

Headlines from the January 2009 Update include:
  • Massachusetts lost 4,900 jobs last month; posted 2.2% job loss last 12 months, slightly better than US job loss rate of 2.7%
  • State falls to 158,700 jobs below previous peak; lowest employment since December 2005
  • All 12 regions shed jobs last 12 months
  • State education & health services jobs up 1.9% last 12 months; ranked 35th among states and trailed U.S. rate (2.7%)
You can find all of the 2008 monthly Massachusetts Jobs Update documents archived on the Chamber's website, bostonchamber.com.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the Chamber's Massachusetts Jobs Update, please don't hesitate to contact Tim Sweeney, Director of Public Policy, at (617) 557-7357 or tsweeney@bostonchamber.com.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Putnam CEO Sheds Light on Financial Crisis

Earlier today, Putnam Investments CEO Robert Reynolds addressed the Chamber’s Financial Services Forum. Reynolds called for officials to do even more to combat this financial crisis, partly by proposing a suspension of mark-to-market accounting rules to improve the credit system. Reynolds also called on the banking industry to increase lending and find ways to slow foreclosure rates. He warned against keeping “zombie companies” alive with federal life support, and suggested that government aid should not be given unless companies have a well-developed recovery strategy in place. If companies fail to use taxpayer money efficiently, Reynolds recommends that the government let these companies fail. Lastly, he urged the Obama Administration to focus more heavily on the economy and act more aggressively to solve its problems.

To view images from today’s event, click here.

This event was covered by the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Investment News.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Treasurer Cahill Podcast

Treasurer Cahill's address to the Chamber's Government Affairs Forum on March 4 can now be heard on bostonchamber.com.

To register for the next Government Affairs Forum with Speaker of the House Rober DeLeo on March 31, click here.

Massachusetts Secretary of Health & Human Services to Address the Chamber

Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services, will address the Chamber’s Women’s Network on Wednesday, April 1 at the InterContinental Hotel.

As Secretary, Dr. Bigby oversees a number of the state’s most critical program areas, including child welfare, public health, disabilities, veteran affairs, elder affairs, Medicaid, and health care. Since her appointment in 2007, she has successfully implemented many aspects of Massachusetts’s highly successful health care reform law, orchestrated the adoption of the state’s first Olmstead Plan to address the long-term needs of elders and the disabled, and championed the creation of the Office of the Child Advocate to improve the state’s child welfare system.

Dr. Bigby’s broad range of experience – as a primary care physician, professor, researcher, and health policy expert – gives her unique insight into her role as Secretary. She formerly served as the medical director of Community Health Programs at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, as associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and director of Harvard Medical’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. Dr. Bigby also served as president of the Society of General Internal Medicine, the only national organization representing primary care internal medicine doctors. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Medical School.

Click here to register for this event.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Putnam CEO to address Chamber Thursday

Robert Reynolds, president & CEO of Putnam Investments, LLC, will address the Chamber's Financial Services Forum on Thursday morning at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

Since joining Putnam in July 2008, Reynolds has embarked upon an aggressive reorganization effort. Already, Putnam has released a series of “absolute return” funds that promise specific percentage returns if investors hold on for three years or more, allowing portfolio managers to focus on meeting the return and reducing risk and volatility. Reynolds has restructured the firm’s equity group, consolidating six equity funds into large, existing funds in an effort to boost fundamental research capabilities, lower fees, and best individual portfolio managers with more power. And Putnam has also identified the retirement market as a strong opportunity for growth and expanded its retirement offerings.

Reynolds previously served as vice chairman and chief operating officer of Fidelity Investments. He joined Fidelity in 1984, and served in a variety of senior management roles, including president of the Fidelity Investments Institutional Retirement group where he was a key player in building the company’s 401 (k) and defined contribution business. A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, Reynolds is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics.

Click here to register for this event.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chamber now accepting applications for 2009 Small Business of the Year Awards

The 2009 Small Business of the Year Award & Entrepreneur of the Year Award nomination process is now open! Click here to dowload a nomination form. All nominations are due to the Chamber by April 10 in order to be considered for the 2009 award program.

Presented annually since 1985, The Small Business of the Year Awards honor the achievements of small business and the spirit of entrepreneurship. This awards luncheon typically attracts more than 300 attendees from a wide array of industries in the region. To view a list of previous winners, click here.

The 2009 Small Business of the Year Awards Luncheon will be held on Thursday, October 15 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

Treasurer Cahill Addresses Government Affairs Forum

This morning, Massachusetts State Treasurer Timothy Cahill addressed the Chamber’s Government Affairs Forum. In his address, Cahill outlined his proposal to introduce Video Lottery Terminals, or slot machines, to the state of Massachusetts as a new source of revenue. His plan would license three locations geographically around the state and provide each location with approximately 2,500 to 3,000 machines. Depending on the exact number of machines issued, Cahill estimates that this proposal could generate gross annual revenue of between $752 million and $903 million dollars. One third of the revenue would go to replenishing the state’s reserve account, a third would go to creating a public higher education endowment for the University of Massachusetts, and a final third would be used to boost state retiree health care. Given the difficult external environment, Treasurer Cahill emphasized the importance of considering new revenue streams.

Images from the event can be viewed here.

Today’s event was widely covered by the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, WBUR, South Coast Today, and Forbes.

Treasurer Cahill’s address will be broadcast on WBUR 90.9 at 8:00pm this Sunday, March 8.

Don’t miss the Chamber’s next Government Affairs Forum with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo on March 31. For event details and registration, click here.

The Chamber would like to thank Bank of America for sponsoring this forum.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Treasurer Cahill to ouline slots plan at Chamber breakfast tomorrow

Today's Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill will outline his plan for three slot parlors in Massachusetts at the Chamber's Government Affairs Forum breakfast tomorrow.

Click here to register for this event.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chamber joins with other business groups to propose comprehensive transportation reform and finance plan.

The Chamber and four other key businesses organizations representing employers across the state have joined together to propose a transportation reform and finance plan that will improve the transportation system and sustain the state’s economy and competitiveness into the future. The plan includes comprehensive reform measures, improvements to policy and governance, and new sources of revenue – including raising the gas tax.

“It is time for Massachusetts to make bold decisions and take on the incredible challenges that our transportation infrastructure faces today,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “Our organizations are joining together to stand behind this plan because the viability of the Commonwealth’s economy depends on having roads and bridges that are safe and well managed and a transit system that is not teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.”

“We believe any improvement of the state’s transportation system has to begin with the comprehensive, meaningful reforms recommended by the Transportation Finance Commission,” said Alan Macdonald, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. “We commend both the Governor and the Senate for including these recommendations in their proposals and urge swift action on this reform agenda to improve the state’s economy.”

“The strength of our economy and our ability to compete as a state is deeply dependent on the financial and physical stability of our transportation system, which moves people to their jobs and goods and services across Massachusetts,” said Paul Guzzi, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. ”These proposed reforms will bring efficiencies to the management of the system while updating the sources of revenue that will ensure the viability of our transportation infrastructure into the future.”

“We in the business and real estate communities know very well that if we do not take steps to address the financial needs of our transportation infrastructure, the state’s economy will suffer,” said David Begelfer, CEO, NAIOP Massachusetts. “We are now looking to the leadership in Massachusetts to take the steps necessary to address these very serious problems, which affect our quality of life and economic well being.”

“The economy of our metropolitan areas and the entire state depends a great deal on having a transportation system that is safe, financially sound, and efficient as possible,” said Rick Dimino president and CEO of A Better City. “We need to implement these proposed measures all at once in order to bring the needed reforms and new revenues that will ensure the viability of our transportation system and allow for healthy economic development in the Commonwealth.”

The groups said, “The Senate President and Governor have put forward detailed legislative proposals which advance these issues in a very constructive way. We look forward to the House Speaker’s proposal and the passage of a comprehensive reform and revenue package this session.”

The plan proposed by the five groups includes the following reform and revenue measures:

  • Bring the MBTA employees’ retirement and health care benefits in line with that of other state employees, which could save between $1 and $2 billion over the next 20 years
  • Restore full management rights to the MBTA to allow the Authority to determine levels of service and staffing
  • End the practice at Mass Highway and the MBTA of paying salaries and operational expenses with bond funds, which are future debt
  • Improve the management of transportation-based projects through more accountability and reporting and oversight of federal stimulus dollars and future revenues
  • Streamline the process of designing and building transportation projects to increase competitiveness and reduce costs
  • Establish $100,000 tort liability limit for all transportation authorities to be consistent with state agencies
  • Raise the gas tax by 25 cents, dedicate it to transportation, and index it to inflation and distribute these funds to:
  • The Metropolitan Highway System – to replace the proposed $100 million toll hike
  • The Western portion of the MA Turnpike for capital expenditures
  • Forward funding the Regional Transit Authorities that serve all parts of the state
  • Reducing the backlog of maintenance projects at the Mass Highway Department and ensure that there is regional distribution of this money across the Commonwealth
  • The MBTA – to reduce the debt and put the T on stronger financial footing
  • Maintain the current tolls on the Western Turnpike
  • Investigate longer term sustainable road-based revenue generating systems such as open road tolling or vehicle mileage tax.

The groups proposing the transportation reform and finance plan are the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP Massachusetts, and A Better City.