Friday, June 26, 2009

Coverage from Today's Financial Services Forum with Brian Moynihan


Speaking before a sold out crowd of Chamber members at this morning's Financial Services Forum, Brian Moynihan, president of Global Banking and Wealth Management for Bank of America, covered a wide array of topics from the state of the economy to the future of Bank of America to the bank's footprint in the Greater Boston region.

You can find coverage of the event here, here and here.

Photos from this morning's Financial Services Forum with Brian Moynihan of Bank of America are now available online. Click here to view the image library.

For images of previous Financial Services Forum breakfasts, click here.

And remember to save the date for the next Financial Services Forum in the fall. On October 2nd we are pleased to welcome featured speaker Eric Rosengren, president & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Click here to register.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Massachusetts records first monthly job gain since May 2008

Today, the Chamber released the Massachusetts May 2009 Massachusetts Jobs Update, showing the first monthly job gain since May 2008. You can access the Jobs Update by clicking on the link below:

May 2009 Massachusetts Jobs Update

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:
  • Transportation: Closing the transportation financing gap by supporting the enactment and implementation of recent structural reform and funding measures.
  • State Fiscal Policy: Strengthening long-term state budget planning by supporting, and working to further expand, the transfer of substantial capital gains revenue growth to the Rainy Day Fund.
  • Health Care Costs: Working to advance cost-containment measures that improve health care system efficiency while preserving access to care.
Headlines from the May 2009 Massachusetts Jobs Update include:
  • Massachusetts added 4,900 jobs last month; first monthly job gain since May 2008
  • Massachusetts remains 195,000 jobs below previous peak; lowest employment since February 2008
  • State leisure & hospitality jobs ranked 31st among states last 12 months
You can find all of the 2008-2009 monthly Massachusetts Jobs Update documents archived on the Chamber’s website, bostonchamber.com.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chamber statement on state budget conference committee report

The Chamber supports several measures included in the conference committee budget released by House and Senate negotiators, including the designation of $275 million for transportation and the dedication of capital gains revenue to the Rainy Day Fund.


Coupled with the transportation reforms enacted by both branches of the legislature yesterday, the designation of $275 million for transportation will help alleviate the system’s immediate budget troubles. These funds will help secure the state’s obligation to bondholders, while also delaying toll hikes and MBTA fare increases. The Chamber will continue to work with administration officials and legislative leaders on further system reforms and a more permanent solution to the revenue shortfall.


The Chamber believes that the budget proposal transferring a significant portion of new capital gains revenue growth to the Rainy Day Fund is a step in the right direction. This measure will strengthen the reserve fund, and lessen our reliance on volatile capital gains revenue to fund general expenditures. The more capital gains revenue that can be deposited into the Rainy Day Fund in the years ahead, the better equipped we will be to preserve critical programs, avert tax increases, and weather future recessions.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chamber statement on transportation reform conference committee report

The transportation legislation agreed upon by House and Senate leaders is a major step forward towards addressing our transportation challenges. The Chamber supports the significant reforms included in the conference committee report, including: structural reorganization for a more logical, and less cumbersome, state bureaucracy that eliminates duplication of agencies; pension and health care reform; and progress on the issue of tort reform.

Now that significant reform has been enacted, the state can and should move forward on the issue of transportation financing. The dedication of sales tax dollars in the House and Senate budget bills will solve some of our most immediate transportation financing needs. It is important that those needs be addressed right away.

Restructuring the state’s transportation system and identifying and devoting new revenue is critical as Massachusetts looks to address the $20 billion financing gap revealed by the Transportation Finance Commission.

The Chamber will continue to work to achieve a well-funded and efficient transportation system that is crucial to ensure economic growth throughout the Commonwealth.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pictures from GAF with Congressman Markey Now Online


Click here to view images from Monday's luncheon with Congressman Edward Markey. You can view images from all of the Chamber's Government Affairs Forum events on our Flickr page as well, including breakfasts with Governor Patrick, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, and Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mayor Tom Menino and Jack Connors Honored with Centennial Award

Throughout the Chamber's 100 year history, there has been a small, special group of legendary leaders who have come to epitomize the soul and the spirit of Boston.

They have come from both the public and private sectors, and made an enduring mark on our community.

At the Centennial Celebration on May 19,2009, the Chamber honored two of these leaders who have brought business and government together for the benefit of Boston.

In the private sector we recognized Jack Connors, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Hill Holliday, chairman of Partners Healthcare, and a towering figure in the business community.

And in the public sector we honored Mayor Tom Menino – soon to be Boston’s longest serving Mayor, a champion of education, and one of the great political figures in the city’s history.

Jack and Tom are iconic figures, not only for what they have accomplished in business and government, but for their continued leadership in our community.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Peter Lynch inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians

Peter Lynch is known throughout the world for his tremendous success at Fidelity’s Magellan Fund.

For 19 years under Peter’s leadership, Magellan leveraged the strength of average people and transformed the way that working class Americans viewed investing.

At its peak, one in every 100 Americans was a Magellan investor, and Peter’s two books on investing, “One Up on Wall Street,” and “Beat the Street” have each sold more than a million copies.

And yet, for countless organizations in Greater Boston, Peter’s greatest achievements came after he retired from Magellan in 1990, and devoted himself to providing educational opportunities for inner-city students.

Over the past 20 years, the Lynch foundation has raised more than $125 million in endowments and scholarships for countless organizations including the Catholic Schools Foundation, Boston College, Teach for America, Partners in Health, First Night, and the Special Olympics.

And those who have worked with Peter in these efforts told us more…

Gloria Larson honored for Collaborative Leadership

In recognition of the critical need for collaboration in order to advance Greater Boston's economic and community priorities, The Chamber presented its first Collaborative Leadership Award at the Centennial Celebration.

There aren’t many individuals who can serve in a Republican Governor’s cabinet, and on a Democratic Governor’s transition team;

Who can be part of a Republican administration in Washington, and be on the host committee for a Democratic National Convention in Boston;

Who can work as an attorney at one of Boston’s most prominent law firms, and become president of one of its most prestigious universities.

But such is the bridge-building talent of Gloria Larson.

In her various roles in government, law, and academia, Gloria has achieved great success for Greater Boston by working with leaders from all points of view.

And some of Boston’s other business leaders told us more…

Chamber applauds Mayor Menino's proposal to increase the number of charter schools

The Chamber applauds Mayor Menino’s support for increasing the number of charter schools in order to change the status quo in education. The Mayor proposed the creation of “in-district” charter schools in Boston, and said that if such a proposal was not authorized he would support lifting the cap on charter schools. Increasing the number of charter schools has long been supported by the Chamber and the employer community as vital to development of the state’s workforce.

Charter schools offer new educational opportunities and provide encouragement to parents and educators seeking greater creativity and flexibility. They have also proven to be an effective tool in closing the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers, a critical issue for schools in urban areas throughout the state.

The Chamber will continue to work with the Mayor and legislative leaders in the coming weeks and months to ensure continued support for and expansion of the charter school model.

Read more about the Chamber's recent work on charter schools here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chamber Centennial Celebration videos now online!

The honoree profile videos from the Chamber's recent Centennial Celebration are now available online at bostonchamber.com.

Linda Whitlock honored as a Distinguished Bostonian

For more than a decade, Linda Whitlock was focused on one goal: helping Boston’s youth realize their full potential.

She succeeded on a level that few could have imagined, raising the Boys & Girls Club of Boston to a new level of effectiveness and impacting the lives of countless thousands of children.

During her decade at the helm of the Club, Linda nearly doubled the number of youths served by its programs to more than 14,000. And she increased the endowment from less than $2 million to more than $20 million.

Linda created a more open, outward looking organization, with key supporters throughout the ranks of business and government.

And, perhaps most importantly, those leaders continue to believe in her vision for the future of Boston’s youth.

Those who are close to Linda told us more…

Coverage from today's GAF with Congressman Markey

Earlier today at the Chamber's Government Affairs Forum, Congressman Ed Markey discussed the Waxman-Markey bill and its impact on jobs in Massachusetts.

You can find coverage of the event here and here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Data Privacy: Chamber testifies in support of privacy protections that do not harm competitiveness

Data privacy regulation will impact companies of all sizes and industries at a time of widespread budgetary constraints and accelerating revenue and job loss. The cost and operational burden of any new business regulation must be viewed, in part, through this lens. Yet ensuring data protection is a goal shared by all – and the Chamber believes this issue can be addressed without significantly impacting the competitiveness of the state. As such, the Chamber will continue working to advance data privacy policy that protects personal information and the Massachusetts economy.

Last month, the Chamber testified in favor of Senate Bill 173, which would help to protect critical data by:
  • Aligning state data protection policy with federal regulation to establish a consistent regulatory regime and facilitate compliance for Massachusetts employers;
  • Providing flexibility in technology, enabling employers to utilize a variety of next-generation technologies and methods to meet their data protection requirements;
  • Requiring scalability in the regulation to avoid a costly and cumbersome one-size-fits-all approach to compliance; and
  • Creating separate regulations for small businesses to reflect their unique cost, resource and data situations and employ a more risk-based approach to compliance.
The Chamber believes Senate Bill 173 captures the essence of sound data protection policy. To bring outliers up to industry standard, rather than penalizing those companies already employing best practices. To reflect the time, expense, and resource required of regulated companies seeking to comply, rather than heaping costly, process-laden requirements onto companies amidst an economic crisis.

View the Chamber's complete policy agenda here.

Energy: Chamber working to secure revisions to greenhouse gas reporting regulations

The Chamber testified last month on proposed amendments to the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Regulation (310 CMR 7.71).

Massachusetts energy costs remain among the very highest in the nation – a competitive disadvantage which continues to impact businesses of all size and industry and hinder job growth and expansion in the Commonwealth. This cost structure could be further impacted by the implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 in the months ahead. As a result, this regulatory process must be viewed in part through the lens of its impact on the regulatory burden and business costs borne by Massachusetts employers.

The Chamber supports revisions to the regulation, including changes to the stationary source reporting requirements, annual air emissions data reports, and verification of facility reports, which would help to facilitate implementation for both regulated entities and the state.

Adoption of these revisions could help to lower the cost of compliance and preserve regulatory and legislative intent, without further impacting the competitiveness of our economy, job market, or energy cost structure. The Chamber will continue working with the DEP and stakeholders as this important process moves forward.

View the Chamber's complete policy agenda here.

Charter Schools: Chamber continues to advocate for lifting the cap

Last month, the Chamber submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Education in favor of legislation that would lift the cap on charter schools and expand opportunities for students throughout Greater Boston.

Despite their documented success, charter school expansion is presently slowed by a cap that limits student access and constrains innovation. Lifting the cap will offer new educational opportunities and provide encouragement to parents and educators seeking greater creativity and flexibility.

Charter schools have proven to be an effective tool in closing the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers. A recent study released by The Boston Foundation found that students in Boston charter schools consistently outperformed their peers in traditional public schools. The results in math achievement for middle-school students are particularly compelling: the study estimates that the benefit of a single year spent in a charter school was equivalent to closing half of the black-white achievement gap. Similar results of a recent New York study are equally compelling.

In addition, during the recent Senate budget debate, the Chamber and other groups urged Senate support for a measure that would maintain the existing charter school funding mechanism. The Chamber will continue to work with legislative leaders in the coming weeks to ensure continued support for and expansion of the charter school model.

View the Chamber's complete policy agenda here.

'Buy America' provisions doing damage Chamber warned about

An editorial in today's New York Times highlighted the negative impact on job creation of the 'Buy America' provisions inserted by Congress into the economic stimulus package.

The Times references a study conducted earlier this year which "estimated that “Buy American” provisions could “save” 9,000 American jobs — a tiny number compared with the 650,000 jobs supported by foreign government procurement of American exports."

At the same time, foreign governments are beginning to retaliate, "representatives of Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Mexico have been consulting about how to respond to the United States’ protectionist drive. After Canadian companies were barred from bidding for American business, news reports say that some 12 Canadian cities passed ordinances against buying American."

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Guzzi warned about the potential ramifications of this proposal in a Boston Globe op-ed in February.

Guzzi argued: "In Massachusetts alone, merchandise exports in 2007 accounted for $25.4 billion, with more than 28 percent of all manufacturing workers in the state dependent upon exports for their jobs. And Massachusetts exports continue to grow briskly, climbing 35 percent between 2003 and 2007. Export centers are spread throughout the state, and provide much-needed jobs not only to Greater Boston, but to Pittsfield, Worcester, New Bedford, and Fall River. The decline in exports that could result from an era of economic protectionism could have dramatic repercussions for blue-collar workers here, who are already struggling to maintain their jobs."

As the Times editorial board makes clear, job cuts related to 'Buy America' are already taking a toll on our economy and outweighing the benefits of the provision.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Corporate Tax Policy: Chamber to push for additional revisions to combined reporting regulation

Corporate Tax Policy: Chamber to push for additional revisions to combined reporting regulation

The Department of Revenue (DOR) released its combined reporting corporate tax regulation on May 26th. Although the regulations include a Chamber-backed revision, they also contain rules that will make it more difficult for multinational companies to compete in Massachusetts. Key parts of the regulation include:
  • Disallowance of certain deductions for companies subject to a "foreign income inclusion" provision. Among those disallowed deductions are certain interest expenses from intercompany borrowing – a policy that will make it more difficult to raise capital.
  • Limiting the intercompany inclusion provision to the inclusion of income, not losses, from intercompany transactions – the result of which is to prevent gross income included in a combined group’s taxable income from being reduced below zero even if a group’s member loses money in a year.
  • A Chamber-backed revision stating that DOR would not seek to disregard an otherwise proper election that results in a reduction of Massachusetts tax liability – a change that more accurately reflects the legislative intent of the 10-year affiliated group election lock.
In the weeks ahead the Chamber will continue to work for improvements to these rules, through the regulatory process, the legislative process, or both.

View the Chamber's complete policy agenda here.

Life Science Marketing Regulation: Chamber opposed to Senate bill that would reverse legislative and regulatory process

The Chamber recently testified in opposition to Senate Bill 547, which would significantly tighten the provisions of the life sciences marketing code of conduct regulation promulgated by the Dept. of Public Health and adopted by the Public Health Council in March. Its provisions could substantially impede or deter collaborative research and testing from being conducted in Massachusetts, while potentially harming the overall competitiveness of the life sciences cluster and driving new jobs and investment to other states.

Adoption of SB 547 would essentially nullify the legislative process that produced the bill and the regulatory process that implemented it. Concerns remain about the impacts and unintended consequences of this “first in the nation” code of conduct. Revisions or clarifications to the regulation are likely still needed to ensure a robust climate for research, development, and training. Yet the Chamber believes the process was open, deliberative, and inclusive – attempting to reflect the perspectives of consumer advocates, patient communities, and industry and health care leaders alike.

View the Chamber's complete policy agenda here.