Friday, December 16, 2011

Chamber's 2011 Advocacy Achievements

The Chamber has enjoyed success this year on a number of its top legislative and economic development issues and initiatives, including:

Department of Revenue Reform - Massachusetts’ FY’12 budget, signed into law in July, included several important business tax reforms proposed by the Chamber. The enactment of these proposals builds on the Chamber’s 2010 legislative accomplishments including increasing the state’s net operating loss (NOL) carry-forward period and creating a new “3 in 3” incentive to encourage investment in Massachusetts-based start-ups.

Summary of Business Tax Reforms
  1. Audit Cycle Length: Shortening the tax audit cycle by waiving certain penalties charged to businesses if the state takes more than 18 months to perform an audit – providing an incentive for the state to speed up the audit process which can be quite lengthy and costly for businesses.
  2. Statute of Limitation Parity: Establishing the same statute of limitations for assessments and refunds – addressing an unfair rule that currently exists in which businesses have a shorter period in which to amend a return than the state does to assess a return.
  3. Tax Policy Development: Requiring the state to post quarterly online reports on tax policies before it takes any action on them – giving taxpayers an opportunity to vet proposed tax policies and provide input before the policies are finalized.
Chamber Intern Connect - Last spring, the Chamber launched Chamber Intern Connect, the newest program in our leadership initiative. The goal of this initiative is to increase talent retention by connecting college students with Boston-area employers through high-value, experience-based internships. Chamber Intern Connect is now accepting postings for winter, spring and summer internships. For more information or to post internships for free, start here http://www.intern.bostonchamber.com/

Municipal Health Insurance Reform - The FY'12 state budget included a Chamber-supported compromise agreed upon by the Legislature and the Administration on municipal health care reform. This provision of the budget achieves fair and meaningful reform by providing a framework for municipalities to make cost-saving changes to their health plans. The Chamber worked with other business groups to advance this important reform. This measure will result in significant savings to cities and towns while preserving local services, protecting municipal jobs, and maintaining municipal health benefits at least equal to state employee health benefits.

Unemployment Insurance - A much-needed 2011 unemployment insurance (UI) rate relief bill for Massachusetts employers was signed into law in February. The Chamber and other leading business groups worked for several months to secure such rate relief legislation in an effort to support Massachusetts’ economic recovery, mitigate an obstacle to new hiring, and improve the overall business climate.

Casino Gaming - Last month, Governor Patrick signed into law Chamber supported legislation to expand casino gaming in Massachusetts by permitting three casinos and one slots-only casino. The Chamber’s support is driven by the job creation, economic development, and capital investment opportunities that casino gaming brings to our state.

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