Thursday, April 30, 2009

Important Links for Swine Flu Information

With the continued outbreaks of H1N1 (Swine Flu) across the U.S. and in Massachusetts, businesses throughout the Greater Boston region are being encouraged to develop contingency plans. While it is important not to overreact, the Chamber recommends that Chamber members monitor the following websites for the latest information on this virus and its impact on our region.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Boston Public Health Commission
United States Government Pandemic Flu Website
Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health provides a comprehensive fact sheet on the H1N1 virus, here.

The Chamber will continue to keep our members updated on the latest swine flu information as it becomes available, in order to ensure that Greater Boston employers are uniquely prepared to successfully manage a pandemic.

Chamber to honor Peter Lynch, Linda Whitlock, Gloria Larson at Centennial Celebration


On May 19 the Greater Boston Chamber will host our Centennial Celebration - our 100th Annual Meeting and Dinner.

Every year since 1983, the Chamber has had the privilege of inducting some of Greater Boston's most accomplished leaders into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. At our Centennial Celebration on May 19, 2009, we will add two more members to this remarkable group.

Peter S. Lynch is considered one of the most successful money managers in Wall Street history. From 1977 to 1990, he was the portfolio manager of Fidelity's Magellan Fund. By the time he retired, Magellan had grown from $20 million to more than $14 billion, with over 1 million shareholders, making it the largest and best-performing equity fund in the world. Lynch currently serves as an advisory board member of the Fidelity Funds and vice chairman of Fidelity Management & Research. He left the Magellan Fund in 1990 in order to devote more time to non-profit work. He serves as president of the Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF), an organization devoted to supporting the educational mission of the Catholic Church. Over the past 19 years, Lynch has helped raise more than $60 million for CSF’s Inner City Scholarship Fund, which grants scholarships to children living in Boston’s inner city and attending Catholic schools. In 1999 Lynch and his wife donated $10 million to the Boston College School of Education – the largest gift in the history of the school. BC has since rededicated the school as the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education. Lynch is the author of three books, One Up on Wall Street, Beating the Street and Learn to Earn. His works have been touted as some of the most successful books ever written about the stock market and investing.

Linda Whitlock is the immediate past Nicholas President and Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, one of the most highly regarded youth institutions in Greater Boston.Whitlock brought her passion for excellence and inspired leadership to an organization whose high-impact programs enable more than 14,000 children and teens from low income neighborhoods in Greater Boston to become responsible citizens and leaders. During her decade at the helm of the Club, she nearly doubled the number of youths served by its programs, increased the endowment from less than $2 million to more than $20 million, and significantly broadened the giving base during one of the region’s largest fundraising campaigns. Whitlock served in the administrations of Governor Dukakis and Governor King, and has taught at MIT, Tufts, and the University of Michigan. She is a frequent lecturer on topics related to strategic leadership, effective governance, civic engagement, and skilled philanthropy, and most recently served as senior advisor to Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter in his role as CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. Whitlock has been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Boston by Boston Magazine, and currently serves on the boards of Cambridge Trust Company, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brandeis University, Boston World Partnerships, the Boston Museum, and Boston Afterschool and Beyond.

We will also recognize to the spirit of collaboration that continues to guide our business and government communities by honoring one truly extraordinary leader with the Chamber's first ever Collaborative Leadership Award.

Gloria Cordes Larson is president of Bentley University, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s best universities and graduate business programs. A public policy expert, lawyer and business leader, Larson has outstanding leadership in both the public and private sectors during the course of her career. She has compiled an outstanding track record as an effective bridge-builder – working to bring together opposing sides on divisive issues.

Larson joined Bentley from the leading law firm Foley Hoag, where she co-chaired the Government Strategies Group. Widely influential in economic policy, Larson led a business advisory cabinet for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and co-chaired his transition team. In the administration of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, she served as secretary of economic affairs and secretary of consumer affairs and business regulation. Larson also served as a senior official of the Federal Trade Commission for more than 10 years. Since 1998 she has chaired the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, overseeing the renovation of the MassMutual Center in Springfield and construction of the $800 million Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. An advocate for economic growth and job creation, Larson has chaired or served on the boards of the New England Council, MassINC, Boston Center for the Arts, Roger Williams University School of Law, Massachusetts Women’s Forum, Rosie’s Place, and The Dimock Center. As befitting her collaborative leadership and reputation for bipartisanship, she was appointed by Governor Romney to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy Board and appointed to the Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention by Mayor Thomas Menino.

We hope you will join us for this remarkable evening, as we pay tribute to the powerful legacy of the Chamber’s past and lay the groundwork for developing the leaders of our future.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Massachusetts Loses 20,300 Jobs in March 2009

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


The Greater Boston Chamber works to improve the region’s economy and drive job growth, focusing on four goals— strengthening the workforce; making the business climate more competitive; enhancing critical industries; and fixing infrastructure. The Chamber’s agenda includes the following priority issues:

• Workforce Development: Increasing the supply of college-educated workers, and expanding charter schools.

• Transportation: Reforming the way Massachusetts delivers transportation services, and securing new revenues to fill the system’s financial holes.

• Corporate Tax Policy: Ensuring that last year’s corporate tax legislation is implemented in a clear and predictable manner, consistent with legislative intent.

The Chamber is working with business and government leaders to advance these issues, which will have a significant impact on job growth and economic growth in the years ahead.

Headlines from the March 2009 Update Include:

• Massachusetts lost 20,300 jobs last month; posted 3.2% job loss last 12 months, slightly better than US job loss rate of 3.5%

• Massachusetts falls to 189,300 jobs below previous peak; lowest employment since June 2004

• All 12 regions shed jobs last 12 months

• State trade, transportation & utilities jobs ranked 32nd among states last 12 months

You can find previous 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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chamber to honor Mayor Tom Menino and Jack Connors at Centennial Celebration


On May 19 the Chamber will host our Centennial Celebration - our 100th Annual Meeting and Dinner.

This extraordinary evening will be dedicated to leadership. As part of this celebration, we will present Jack Connors and Mayor Thomas M. Menino with the Chamber’s Centennial Award. For nearly two decades they have worked together to make Greater Boston a better place to live and work. They have played a defining role in our region, and will continue to guide our future.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is the longest serving mayor in Boston’s illustrious history, and continues to be a champion for the neighborhoods he serves. Since his election in 1993, Menino has also been a strong advocate for the business community, providing critical leadership through periods of financial growth as well as slowdowns. He continues to prioritize education, affordable housing, public safety, health care, and neighborhood revitalization – all issues that are extremely important to the business community. Menino served his neighborhood of Hyde Park as a city councilor for nine years prior to becoming mayor.

Jack Connors is a founding partner and chairman emeritus of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc. Under his leadership, Hill, Holliday evolved from a one-room shop to one of the top 20 advertising firms in the U.S. Boston Magazine named him one of the most powerful people in Boston, and he’s been a major force behind initiatives such as Camp Harbor View, The Campaign for Catholic Schools, and The Edward M. Kennedy Institute. Connors is a strong advocate for Boston’s world-class hospitals, and serves as chair of Partners HealthCare, one of the nation’s leading hospital systems and the largest private employer in Massachusetts.

We hope you will join us for this remarkable evening, as we pay tribute to the powerful legacy of the Chamber’s past and lay the groundwork for developing the leaders of our future.

To register for this event, please visit the Centennial Celebration online registration page on bostonchamber.com.

Chamber Holds Clean Tech Forum

Today, the Chamber hosted a Clean Tech Forum with moderator Ian Bowles, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and panelists Tim Healy, chairman & CEO of EnerNOC; Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder & CEO of Boston-Power, Inc.; and Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst Partners and chairman of the New England Clean Energy Council. Among many topics of discussion were renewable energy, energy regulations, the role of strong state and federal energy legislation, and the importance of reducing waste.

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

The Clean Tech Forum was covered by the Boston Business Journal.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chamber op-ed in today's MA High Tech

Chamber president and CEO Paul Guzzi authored an op-ed piece on Massachusetts data privacy regulations that appeared in today's edition of MA High Tech.

Guzzi outlined the challenges of protecting private information, while also efficiently conducting business. He also outlines some revisions to the regulations that the business community worked to include.

Read the full piece here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

In the spirit of Earth Day, next week the Chamber will host a a special forum on Clean Tech: Fueling Innovation and Growth in Massachusetts.

The clean technology industry is a driver of innovation and job creation here in Massachusetts, even during this time of economic downturn. Governor Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama have both made ‘green jobs’ an economic priority and the Commonwealth seems particularly well positioned to benefit. Already, clean energy firms in Massachusetts account for more than 14,000 jobs – with an annual job growth rate of 20 percent.

The region’s colleges and universities are increasing their research in renewable energy, and the state could see an infusion of federal stimulus money for wind power and efficiencies.

This unique clean technology panel with focus on the future of this industry in Massachusetts and offer Chamber members the opportunity to hear directly from some of the key players in government, development, and venture capital funding. The panel will be moderated by Ian Bowles, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and will feature:
  • Tim Healy, chairman & CEO of EnerNOC
  • Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder & CEO, Boston-Power, Inc.
  • Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst Partners and chairman of the New England Clean Energy Council
We hope you will join us for this unique event.

To register, please click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chamber Announces Honorees for Centennial Celebration; General Colin Powell to Keynote

The Greater Boston Chamber will honor five outstanding leaders and hear from one of the nation’s most accomplished generals and statesmen at the Chamber’s Centennial Celebration on May 19, 2009, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The Chamber will present the following awards:

Distinguished Bostonian Award
  • Peter S. Lynch, vice-chairman, Fidelity Management & Research Company
  • Linda Whitlock, immediate past President & CEO, Boys & Girls Club of BostonCollaborative

Leadership Award

  • Gloria C. Larson, president, Bentley University

Centennial Award

  • Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston
  • Jack Connors, founding partner, Hill Holliday

In addition, former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret) will be the keynote speaker, delivering remarks on leadership.

“For 100 years the Chamber’s success has been driven by the region’s talented government and business leaders,” said Paul Guzzi, president & CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber. “These five individuals have accomplished a great deal for Greater Boston. They have lived up to the ideal of this Chamber, set forth by our first president J.J. Storrow, that the business leaders of Boston could come together to ‘accomplish some good for the welfare of our city and state.’

“We look forward to honoring their significant contributions to our community and the leadership they have demonstrated throughout their careers,” Guzzi continued. “And on an evening dedicated to leadership, we are delighted to hear from one of the greatest military leaders and statesmen of our time – General Colin Powell.”

The event is being chaired by John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction Company.

“I am absolutely honored to chair the Chamber’s special Centennial Celebration, which will pay tribute to the importance of leadership in business and our surrounding neighborhoods,” said Fish. “The individuals we will honor at this year’s Centennial Celebration, along with keynote speaker General Colin Powell, all represent the kind of strong leadership and commitment to giving back that can have the most significant and long lasting impact on our communities. This event will surely be an inspirational and memorable evening for everyone.”

To register for the Centennial Celebration, click here.

Senate President Therese Murray Addresses Chamber

Earlier today, Senate President Therese Murray spoke at the Chamber’s Government Affairs Forum.

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

This event was covered in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. The entire event will be broadcast on WBUR 90.9 at 8:00pm this Sunday, April 19.

Don’t miss the next Government Affairs Forum with US Congressman Edward Markey on Monday, June 8! For event details and registration, click here.

The Chamber would like to thank Bank of America for sponsoring the Government Affairs Forum.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Op-ed in today's Boston Herald

Chamber President & CEO Paul Guzzi has an op-ed in today's Boston Herald, outlining the need for a stronger Rainy Day Fund for Massachusetts.

"There is no doubt it is raining - even pouring - and use of reserves to help navigate this crisis is warranted," writes Guzzi. "It is equally clear that we lack an adequate plan for recapitalizing the fund - leaving state government with a significant weakness against future downturns."

Read the full op-ed here.

You can also read the full Chamber proposal for strengthening the fund here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chamber releases scorecard on competitiveness

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce today released its first Competitiveness Scorecard, a barometer of cost and competitiveness issues facing the Massachusetts economy and how the Commonwealth fares against the other 49 states. The April Competitiveness Scorecard is focused on the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The Scorecard shows that the Massachusetts Fund, measured at 7.2 percent of the total FY 2008 budget, ranked 13th in the nation before this recession hit the state. History shows that that is not enough to protect the Commonwealth against future recessions. Based on the data, the Chamber proposes that all annual capital gains revenues beyond the first $300 million will be allocated to the Rainy Day Fund until this key reserve account has met a specified target level. This proposal provides a larger, more robust stream of funds in growth years to capitalize the Fund, while protecting the state budget from severe capital gains drops during economic downturns.

The severity of the current economic recession has acutely demonstrated Massachusetts’ need for a well-equipped Rainy Day Fund. Before the 2001-2002 recession, the Rainy Day Fund stood at nearly 8 percent of the total state budget. Despite substantial draw-downs over the next two years, Massachusetts had to impose a significant tax increase and large spending cuts to balance the state budget. Before the current recession, the Rainy Day Fund stood at just over 8 percent of the total state budget. Despite that strong position, the Commonwealth has endured painful budget cuts and the prospect of tax increases as the economic downturn has worsened.

“The lesson is clear,” said Paul Guzzi, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “The Massachusetts Rainy Day Fund has not been strong enough. In each of the last two recessions, a larger Fund would have substantially reduced the need for deep service cuts and tax increases.”

The Chamber proposal would:
  • Dedicate capital gains revenues to the Rainy Day Fund by capping the amount of capital gains revenue that is directed to the budget at $300 million per year. This general fund allocation could be phased in, starting at $500 million in the first year and decreasing to $300 million over a four year period.
  • Deposit all additional capital gains revenue into the Rainy Day Fund each year until a target of 15% of budgeted revenues is reached.
  • Once the fund has reached its 15 percent target, additional capital gains revenues would revert back to the general fund.
While this proposal focuses on money coming into the Rainy Day Fund, the Chamber also believes that caution should be used in taking money out of the Fund. Specifically, the Chamber believes that draw-downs from the Rainy Day Fund should only occur when total state revenues are declining. That approach will prevent the Fund from being spent or reduced during times of economic growth.

In addition to producing a Rainy Day Fund that hits the 15% target within a few years, the Chamber proposal would reduce the Commonwealth’s operating dependence on the unpredictable capital gains revenue stream. The more stable state budget that results, coupled with a larger Fund, will make Massachusetts’ fiscal position stronger than ever.

The Chamber’s Competitiveness Scorecard, published throughout the year, highlights cost and competitiveness issues facing the Massachusetts economy. Each scorecard measures Massachusetts’ competitiveness on a key issue compared to all 50 states, and introduces a policy proposal designed to enhance the state’s competitive position. Future editions of the Scorecard will focus on business cost, workforce development, and innovation issues.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Secretary Bigby Addresses Chamber

Earlier today, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health & Human Services for the Commonwealth, spoke at a Women’s Network Breakfast. Click here to view images from the event.

Don’t miss the next Women’s Network Breakfast with Sandra Fedwick, president and COO of Children’s Hospital Boston, on May 14. For event details and registration, click here.