The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce considers the following initiatives to be of such significance in the coming year that they shall serve as our top legislative priorities and the Chamber’s 2012 Legislative Watch List.
• Oppose efforts for central control of local institutions of higher learning by the state.
• Resist legislative efforts to mandate a paid sick-leave and any other mandated employee benefits that discourage job creation.
• Support efforts to control healthcare costs while minimizing the financial and administrative burden on Massachusetts businesses.
• Support legislation to re-establish the Tourism Fund from state-collected rooms tax revenue and apportion its use for funding of the MA Office of Travel & Tourism and the Regional Tourist Councils.
• Support efforts to realign Unemployment Insurance benefits so they are more comparable to other states and reduce costs to Massachusetts employers.
• Oppose any attempt to alter the Workers Compensation Reform law that would result in increased premiums for employers.
• Support increased funding from the state rooms-tax for regional marketing through the state’s Regional Tourist Councils.
• Oppose changes that will adversely impact the ability to construct and maintain renewable biomass facilities that provide energy from an alternative fuel source and assist responsible forest management.
• Support efforts to secure state and federal funds for key local infrastructure projects that support economic development including, but not limited to: high-speed passenger rail service; improvements to Route 2; upgrading sewer capabilities for the Johnny Appleseed Visitor’s Center; etc.
• Support funding for Regional Economic Development Councils as outlined in the Economic Development Reorganization Act, unanimously enacted by the General Court and Governor in 2010.
• Stand firm against efforts to increase the tax classification rates for cities & towns and continue to encourage cities & towns with dual rates to roll them back.
• Oppose efforts to raise taxes, especially the personal income tax rate, sales tax, and capital gains tax.
The creation of a Legislative Watch List is one of the action strategies for the Government Affairs Committee contained in the 2012 Business Plan. The establishment of such an agenda does not preclude the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee from recommending positions on additional issues which may be pending before the legislature during their 187th session that will either positively or negatively impact the region’s economy.