The Boston Globe asks Chamber President & CEO Karen Andreas, “If the state adopts tax relief, what form should it take?”
Published Feb. 26, 2023 Massive inflation has hurt every Massachusetts resident -- with increased food prices, gasoline hikes, housing increases and soaring energy costs. Business owners are not immune to these financial strains, and now face additional burdens from the passage of Ballot Question 1, the so-called ‘fair share” amendment that will tax individual income above $1 million at 9 percent. Now, more than ever, tax competitiveness matters. If fed-up employers move out of state, so, too, go their jobs, philanthropy, and goods and services. Legislative leaders must act quickly with tax relief that mitigates the consequences of this ballot referendum and keeps employers, employees and their families in a thriving Bay State. The North Shore Chamber of Commerce supports tax relief for low-income earners and senior citizens. Furthermore, the Chamber specifically calls for tax changes that will greatly improve the state’s business competitiveness, including the following: ● Increase the estate tax exemption from $1 million to $2 million and remove the cliff effect, ensuring only the amount above $2 million – and not from dollar one – is taxed. Only 12 states still have estate taxes on the books. Massachusetts must reform this archaic tax to remain competitive. ● Cut short-term capital gains tax from 12% to 5%. This would tax the money the same as other income and align Massachusetts with other states. ● Increase the child-care credit to $600 per child, as proposed by Gov. Maura Healey. Child care is a critical workforce issue and we must do more to help working parents. ● Increase the state’s rental deduction cap, based on 50% of rent paid, from $3,000 to a $5,000 cap. Our workforce needs housing that is affordable, and this tax policy change will help lower-income employees stay in Massachusetts. Massachusetts taxpayers deserve relief. With the state’s finances in better shape than expected, now is the time for meaningful tax reform. We urge Gov. Healey and the state Legislature to leverage the state’s current strong revenues and federal relief funds to lead the Commonwealth to improved business competitiveness and opportunity for all. KAREN E. ANDREAS President and CEO North Shore Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber joins Mass Business Coalition on Skills to support workforce development
April 22, 2022 Karen Andreas, president and CEO of the North Shore Chamber, has signed onto a letter from the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Skills advocating in support of efforts to reskill the workforce of today and tomorrow. The Mass. Business Coalition on Skills is made up of 27 diverse business organizations that support strengthening workforce skills development programs and policies. The letter to Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, offers support for a total of $38 million in line items in the FY 2023 budget to fund work-based learning opportunities, support essential skills development and enhance Career Vocational/Technical Education. The coalition urges the legislature to maintain the proposed funding levels and adopt Amendment #334, which would require Career Technical Institutes Reporting. The new amendment would require the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to submit a report on vocational technical schools that are operating career technical institutes. With this reporting requirement, the coalition says, critical information regarding the impact of the CVTE on employment outcomes will be shared to help improve the future of technical skills training. Andreas says the Mass. Business Coalition on Skills' efforts dovetail with The Chamber's 2022 focus on supporting workforce needs, issues and initiatives. Read the full letter here.
The Chamber urges increasing opportunities to close the skills gap in tight labor market
Jan. 20, 2022 The North Chamber of Commerce is joining with members of the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Skills to advocate for expanding access for high school students to earn industry-recognized credentials in the face of today's challenging labor market. The Chamber has signed onto a letter urging the state's Future of Work Commission to increase opportunities for high school students to earn industry-recognized credentials tied to labor market demand and high-wage jobs of the future. Chamber President and CEO Karen Andreas sits on the MA Business Coalition on Skills. The Chamber is among more than 25 business organizations across the state that have endorsed the letter, saying they see the recommendation as a dynamic solution to closing the skills gap. Read the letter, which will be formally submitted into testimony on Friday. Jan. 21, here.
Supreme Court blocks OSHA vaccine mandate Jan. 14, 2022 The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its emergency rule mandating that workers at large businesses with more than 100 employees get vaccinated or undergo regular testing for COVID-19. The Court ruled 6-3 against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s employer mandate. As the Associated Industries of Massachusetts reported, the Court wrote, "Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.” Some companies have begun altering protocols and requirements for their employees in the wake of the news. General Electric Co. suspended its vaccine or test requirement, while other companies, including Citigroup, Inc., are proceeding with their planned vaccine mandates. The North Shore Chamber of Commerce has joined with other business groups in the state in advocating for the rights of employers to make appropriate decisions for the safety and well-being of their employers and customers and opposing "one-size-fits-all" mandates that do not consider differences among businesses.
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