Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Sox, jobless claims & MBTA fares 'On the Record'

Last night, Chamber EVP Jim Klocke went On the Record with NECN's Latoyia Edwards to discuss the economic impact of the Red Sox downward spiral, a positive sign in Thursday's jobless claims, and a rise in MBTA fares.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chamber Works to Preserve Massachusetts Research Funding

This month, the Chamber submitted a letter of support for H. 3563, An Act relative to the establishment of a scientific and technology research and development matching grant fund. This bill will help to ensure the state’s continued ability to compete for and secure scientific research and development activities that have made Massachusetts a global innovation leader.

The Chamber has long recognized the impact of scientific and medical research dollars on our regional economy. This funding helps to drive Massachusetts leadership in patent generation, which in turn spurs the related startup, hiring, private investment, and export activity that define the Massachusetts innovation economy. Yet continued leadership in these areas is not guaranteed. Recent funding declines in federal research accounts, coupled with continuing pressure on Congress to slash discretionary funding, mean that the roadmap for securing federal grants will become increasingly competitive. Declining federal funding has also raised the stakes among research institutions to attract a finite pool of industry partnerships and venture capital in order to bring their early stage innovations to the next level. For Massachusetts, where public and private research dollars represent the lifeblood of our innovation economy, erosion of such funds could diminish our global science and technology leadership.

One way to ensure that Massachusetts continues to compete for and secure more than its fair share of research funding is by creating a state-level matching grant program. The matching grant program funded by H.3563 will capture three or more times its $100 million in federal or private funds. Following a model that has succeeded in states across the country, this program will help to support promising initiatives that have been evaluated through the university peer review process. In addition, this program will help to solidify Massachusetts’ innovation leadership, defined by its world-class universities and research labs, proven industry leaders, skilled workforce, and entrepreneurial spirit. An investment to support these critical research centered collaborations today, will help to ensure that Massachusetts is home to groundbreaking innovations, companies, and jobs tomorrow.

Chamber to Testify on State Life Sciences Bills, Support Federal Bill

On October 4, the Chamber will submit testimony before the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of two bills that are important to sustaining the region’s life science leadership.

H. 1507 An Act related to improving health care quality and cost in the medical device industry will improve the Massachusetts Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacture's Code of Conduct or “gift ban” law – an effort the Chamber has championed since the regulations were first proposed in 2008. The need for reform in this area has become more acute in recent months given the detrimental impacts the regulation presents to the region’s life science and health care sectors, as well as the forthcoming pre-emption of sections of the law by federal “Sunshine Act” reporting requirements. The Chamber supports changes to the gift ban law in order to preserve collaboration and information-sharing between academic researchers and pharmaceutical, medical device, and health care industry professionals.

H. 2383, An Act relative to manufacturer rebates and discount programs will eliminate the Massachusetts-only ban on consumers using certain co-pay assistance programs to purchase prescription medications. Discount programs can take various forms, but all reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs, helping to expand access to medicines that their doctor has deemed medically necessary. In addition, discount programs can encourage adherence to medication regiments among patients, resulting in improved long-term health care outcomes. The Chamber supports the allowance of prescription discount programs in order to expand patient access to life saving treatments and medicines, many of which are developed right here in Massachusetts.

The Chamber is also supporting federal legislation called the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act which provides antibiotic development incentives designed to restore a robust innovation pipeline. The pipeline for new antibiotics has lagged as companies pursue potential blockbuster products for various chronic conditions that offer a large and growing market. As a result, there are few new antibiotics coming on line to treat a growing list of infections that are resistant to currently available treatments. This month, the Chamber has submitted a letter of support calling for the passage of the GAIN Act as a way to encourage innovation and the development of life-saving antibiotics, while addressing a public health threat for patients suffering from unmet medical needs.

Enactment of these proposals will help to promote collaborative research, medical education, product marketability, and patient access in Massachusetts world-renowned life science cluster.

Don't miss the Chamber's October events!

Tuesday, October 4

Free Program; Members Only
Location: Rebecca's Cafe, One Beacon Street, Boston
Hosted by: Rebecca's Cafe

Thursday, October 6

Women in Media Panel

- Suzanne Bates, Bates Communications
- Lisa DeSisto, The Boston Globe
- Latoyia Edwards, NECN
- Candy O'Terry, MAGIC 106.7

Location: Ritz-Carlton Boston Common
Sponsored by: PwC

Wednesday, October 19

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Location: Boston Harbr Hotel
Sponsored by: Bank of America

Thursday, October 20

Matt Emmens, Chairman, President & CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Location: Four Seasons Hotel Boston
Sponsored by: Weber Shandwick


Chamber to Engage with Tax Expenditure Commission

The FY’12 state budget created a state government-led commission to evaluate and make recommendations on the fiscal impact of state tax, credits, deductions, and exemptions and related policies by April 31, 2012.  Among the issues to be considered by the commission are the public policy objectives behind the grant of any tax expenditure, the metrics for measuring success in meeting those objectives and potential additional reporting, sunset or clawback provisions. 

The Chamber has worked closely with state leaders in recent years to create a more competitive and predictable tax climate for employers.  This has included working to preserve and improve the long-standing tax policies and incentives that drive employment, capital investment, and expansion decisions in the state.  This has also included working to curb far-reaching proposals requiring the disclosure of confidential, proprietary information for companies doing business in Massachusetts.  Such considerations must factor heavily into any evaluation of state economic development policy in order to sustain a lasting economic recovery in Massachusetts.  As such, the Chamber will actively work with the commission in the coming weeks and months to ensure that its work reflects the perspectives of the employer community and the need for a competitive business tax climate.

Chamber Supports Compromise Casino Legislation

The Chamber supports a compromise bill moving quickly through the Legislature which would expand legalized gaming in Massachusetts. The bill authorizes the construction and operation of three geographically-dispersed destination casinos and one slot parlor, and establishes guidelines for a competitive bidding process for each operation.

The Chamber’s involvement in the gaming issue has been informed by extensive research, highlighted by its March 2008 independent study Casino Gaming in Massachusetts: An Economic, Fiscal & Social Analysis. Based on these findings and other research, the Chamber compiled a set of principles to guide its gaming advocacy: promoting immediate job preservation and longer-term job creation; generating substantial short- and long-term licensing fees and gaming tax revenue to the state; capitalizing on the state’s existing visitor base while providing economic stimulus to regions across the state, and mitigating the unintended social consequences often associated with expanded gaming. The Chamber believes that the compromise gaming proposal adheres to these principles while helping to close state and local budget gaps.

Health Care Payment Reform: Working for Legislation to Accelerate Cost Progress

After holding hearings on the Governor’s health care payment reform proposal, the House and Senate are now developing their own bills. The Chamber continues to work with key legislators, and a coalition of stakeholders that has developed a set of principles to guide payment reform, for a bill that addresses the health care cost problem without harmful side effects.

Payment reform legislation should take into consideration changes in the market that are slowing the growth of health care costs. Tiered network products, which offer cost savings for employees and employers, are becoming a popular option. Their expansion is a direct result of the Chamber-backed health care reform bill enacted in the summer of 2010 (Chapter 288). While some of the Chapter 288 reforms have already been implemented, more are coming which will bring additional cost relief. In addition, insurers recently reached an agreement to limit increases in premiums for small businesses and individuals to 5.9%. The Chamber believes that payment reform legislation should promote and accelerate this progress, without resorting to rate regulation or other forms of price controls that would stifle innovation.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Operation Twist, Harvard expansion & a transportation $$$ crisis "On the Record"

Last night, Chamber CEO Paul Guzzi went On the Record with NECN's Mike Nikitas to discuss the Federal Reserve's "Operation Twist" and the market reaction. Guzzi also commented on Harvard's Allston expansion and on the state's transportation infrastructure's gloomy financial outlook.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Outgoing Tufts Medical CEO Ellen Zane speaks about health care reform

This morning, outgoing Tufts Medical Center CEO Ellen Zane addressed the Chamber's Women's Network at the Omni Parker House, where she weighed in on the state of health care reform in Masschusetts. In this discussion, Zane commented on the landscape of health care reform, the successes to date, the current challenges, and the next steps. Read more highlights of this address in the Boston Herald: Tufts Medical CEO sees cuts ahead in healt reform.

View photos from today's program here.

Don't miss our next event in this series--a Women in Media Panel discusion--on Thursday, October 6 at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common. Click here to find more information about the panel or to register for this event.

The Chamber would like to thank MSL Boston for sponsoring this event.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Economic ups and downs on 'This Week in Business'

Yesterday on This Week in Business, Sara Johnson, senior research director of global economics at IHS Global Insight, joined hosts Paul Guzzi and Mike Nikitas to highlight the ups and downs of the global, national, and local economies.

In the Briefing Room, Bentley University president Gloria Larson joins to discuss what Bentley is doing to "prepare a new kind of business leader" and she shares details of their new Center for Women and Business.

On the Business Beat, NECN business reporter Peter Howe weighs in on the advancement of gaming legislation in Massachusetts, UBS' $2 billion loss, the unveiling of, and Henri Termeer's $10 million gift to MGH. Mike also discusses his experience covering the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Chamber supports job creation benefits of new casino legislation

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce today reiterated its support for legislation passed yesterday by the Massachusetts House of Representatives to expand casino gaming in Massachusetts, saying the bill brings the promise of creating jobs at a variety of wage and skill levels.

“The Chamber believes the gaming bill adopted by the House will drive regional job growth, investment, and spinoff economic activity across Massachusetts, while helping to close state and local budget gaps,” said Paul Guzzi, President and CEO of the Chamber. “We are hopeful the bill will continue its progress through the Legislature and be signed by the Governor in the near future.”

The Chamber’s support for expanded gaming in Massachusetts has been informed by extensive research, highlighted by its March 2008 independent study Casino Gaming in Massachusetts: An Economic, Fiscal & Social Analysis. Based on these findings and related research, the Chamber has used the following criteria to evaluate proposals to expand gaming in the Commonwealth:
  • Job creation – promoting immediate job preservation and longer-term job creation;
  • Revenue maximization – generating substantial short- and long-term licensing fees and gaming tax revenue to the state;
  • Tourism impact – capitalizing on the state’s existing visitor base while providing economic stimulus and revitalization to regions across the state; and
  • Social impact – mitigating and helping to address the unintended social consequences often associated with expanded gaming.
“The Chamber has concluded that the current gaming bill adheres to these principles,” added Guzzi. “As an economic development organization, we are motivated by the law’s prospect of creating a variety of new jobs. We are also pleased the legislation establishes guidelines for a competitive bidding process for each casino operation as well as provisions for addressing the social consequences often associated with expanded gaming.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chamber releases Jobs Update

Find highlights from our September Jobs & Policy Update below:
  • State shed 8,900 jobs last month, bringing year-to-date job growth total to 41,800. State posted 1.5% job growth last 12 months, outpacing the U.S. rate of 1.0%.
  • State unemployment rate fell to 7.4%, equaling its lowest since February 2009 and remaining well below the U.S. rate of 9.1%.
  • Only 4 of 12 regions added jobs last month, yet 11 of 12 regions added jobs year-over-year with strongest growth in the Greater Pittsfield and Worcester regions.
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2,000) posted largest monthly job gain for second consecutive month at the state level, followed by Other Services (+700).

Jobs, casinos & personalized medicine 'On the Record'

Last night, Chamber CEO Paul Guzzi went 'On the Record' with NECN's Mike Nikitas to discuss recent Massachusetts jobs data, the approval of casino gaming legislation by the Massachusetts House, and a $10 million donation by Henri Termeer to the MGH cancer unit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BRA Director Peter Meade addresses the Chamber

This morning, Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Peter Meade addressed Chamber members at a Government Affairs Forum at the Seaport Hotel. Meade spoke to an audience of 300 on the city's existing development projects and future development opportunities. Find press highlights of this event below:
View pictures from today's event here.

This event will be broadcast on WBUR 90.9 this Sunday, September 18, at 8:00pm. It will also be available shortly on Comcast OnDemad.

This Chamber would like to thank Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Biz Editors join This Week in Business to grade Obama's speech on job creation

Yesterday on This Week in Business, Boston Business Editors Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe, Frank Quaratiello of the Boston Herald, and Eric Convey of the Boston Business Journal joined Paul Guzzi and NECN's Peter Howe to discuss President Obama's speech on job creation. They also talk about last week's Republican debate and Mitt Romney's "59 point plan" for economic development.

In the Briefing Room, the editors are back to reflect on 9/11 ten years later. They also share stories their own papers are focusing on and make predictions for news in the week ahead.

On the Business Beat, Paul and Peter discuss this week's gambling debate in the Massachusetts House, the Boston Herald's move to the Seaport, CEO transitions at two of Boston's largest hospitals, and WEEI's move to FM radio.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Last chance to register for Government Affairs Forum with Peter Meade!

On Tuesday, September 13, the Chamber will host its first Government Affairs Forum of the fall season with Peter Meade, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Click here to register and attend with more than 300 Chamber members. Don't miss out!

Peter Meade was appointed chief economic development officer for the City of Boston by Mayor Thomas Menino in April 2011. In this role, he serves on the Mayor’s cabinet and is the director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which is responsible for Boston’s planning and economic development agenda. At the BRA, Meade will be spearheading a variety of projects, including the continued development of the Innovation District, the revitalization of Downtown Crossing, the growth of the city’s academic and medical institutions, and several neighborhood-based planning initiatives.

This forum will be sponsored by Bank of America.

Paul Guzzi 'On the Record' -- Obama jobs plan, beige book & Herald move

Last night, Chamber CEO Paul Guzzi went On the Record with NECN's Latoyia Edwards to discuss President Obama's jobs plan, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's jobs plan, and the recent Republican candidates debate. He also talks about the Federal Reserve Beige Book survey and the Boston Herald's move to the Seaport District.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This Month's Boston After Five Almost Sold Out!

The Chamber's free Boston After Five networking series is always a popular event, and this month is no exception.

Our next Boston After Five will be held on Monday, September 26 at the new Legal Harborside Restaurant, 270 Northern Avenue, Boston. Sign up now before it sells out! More than 70 Chamber members are already registered to attend. The free event is exclusively available to members of the Chamber.


A-Check America, Inc. John Hnat
ACS Services, Inc. William Adams
ACS Services, Inc. Scott Thursby
ACS Services, Inc. Sean O'Connor
Alfabet, Inc.  Peter Galdi
American Airlines, Inc. Shaun Angles
AT&T Sam John
AT&T Allan Smith
BCBSMA Elisabeth Hughes
BizBash Boston Kim Ehrhardt
BizBash Boston Dani Sigel
BlackRock Michael Spellman
Brown Brothers & Harriman Neil Grant
Brown Brothers Harriman Neil Grant
Cape Cod Systems Janis Morrissey
Cristo Rey Boston Lorraine Albert
Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele, PC Katherine Scobbo
Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele, PC Jeb Bryan
Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele, PC Lauren Gearty
Ferriter Scobbo & Rodophele, PC Sherry Vaughn
Four Seasons Hotel Boston Lauren Falvey
Good Neighbor Concierge Susan Ho
Greater Boston Chapter of IAAP Sandy Knott
Greater Boston Chapter of IAAP Susan Walsh
Greater Boston Chapter of IAAP Gail Freeman
Greater Boston Chapter of IAAP Michelle Frank-Phillips
Greater Boston Chapter of IAAP Mary Heckman
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Annalisa Amicangelo
Longs Jewelers Pat Jusino
Lynch Insurance Group Brian Lynch
Mass. Convention Center Auth. Katie Hauser
Merrill Lynch Malik Smith
Metech Recycling Tyler Finnegan
Metech Recycling Tyler Finnegan
Multi Secretarial Enterprise Jennifer Whitmore
MVO & Associates, Inc. Michael Ofori
Northeastern University William Shea
People's United Bank Gabrielle Piasio
People's United Bank Jeffrey O'Connor
People's United Bank Kristen Hartwell
People's United Bank Lindsey DeMont
Ruth's Chris Steak House Kelly Duerr
Ruth's Chris Steak House Meredith Yerkes
Sanford-Brown College Lisa Weinstein
Sanford-Brown College (formerly Gibbs College) Laura Meyer
Servcorp Anastasiya Kelly
Servcorp Kristina Pearson
Servcorp Amanda Zatyrka
Starlight Children's Foundation of New England Jonelle Prill-Tate
STV Incorporated Kristine Gorman
STV Incorporated Paul Hemphill
The Business Development Group Stanley Sidman
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Ceantel Brathwaite
The Jimmy Fund Tim Cormier
The Jimmy Fund Ryan Delaney
The National Teen Leadership Program (NTLP) Lisa Kim
The Rendon Group Louis DeGeorge
University of Phoenix Lalee Stevens
University of Phoenix Boston Campus Valerie Zepnick
Weber Shandwick Josie Cruz
Weber Shandwick Kerry Harrington
Webster Bank Robert Lorenson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is MA doing to prevent a talent brain drain?

Sunday on This Week in Business, Massachusetts' Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Greg Bialecki and Janet Sun, vice president of marketing at Experience, joined to discuss what the Commonwealth is doing to keep talented college students in the state after graduation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's all about jobs!

Massachusetts Housing & Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki joined This Week in Business to discuss the state's efforts to create jobs and strengthen economic development. Check out what he had to say below:

On the Record: What a loss of federal transportation & education funding could mean for MA

Last night, Chamber EVP Jim Klocke went On the Record with NECN's Latoyia Edwards to discuss a potential loss of federal transportation funding and education funding for Massachusetts, and what the business community is looking for in President Obama's upcoming speech on job creation and economic development.