Category Archives: Boston Business Journal

SJC Justices Question Design of Millionaires Tax Proposal

By Greg Ryan

The state’s highest court weighed Tuesday on whether the proposed “millionaires’ tax” should be allowed to go before voters later this year, with multiple justices questioning if the different parts of the proposal are related enough to pass constitutional muster.

The leaders of five of the state’s business advocacy groups are challenging the measure before the Supreme Judicial Court.  The proposal would impose an additional 4 percent surtax on Massachusetts residents making $1 million or more annually.  The revenue from the tax is supposed to fund two items only, education and transportation.  Opponents argue that higher taxes will scare away businesses, though supporters counter that better schools and transit will improve the Bay State’s business climate.

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Business Groups Ask State Court to Kill Tax Proposal

By Greg Ryan

Leaders of five Massachusetts business advocacy groups are asking the state’s highest court to prevent the so-called “millionaires tax” proposal from going before voters, arguing that it sets aside tax revenue in a way that is unconstitutional.

The proposal, which is set to appear on the ballot in November 2018, would raise state income taxes for those making $1 million or more a year by four percentage points.  It would reserve those tax dollars for two purposes: transit and schools.

The heads of five of the state’s most high-profile business groups are filing the suit: the Massachusetts High Technology Council, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.

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Tech Industry Group Hires Law Firm to Challenge ‘Millionaire’s Tax’

By Greg Ryan

Mark Gallagher, an executive vice president at the tech council, told the Business Journal that while the legal arguments against the law are still being worked out, opponents would likely contend that amendments to the state constitution cannot set aside funding for specific uses.

The Massachusetts High Technology Council, one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed so-called “millionaires’ tax,” has hired the law firm Goodwin to work on a potential lawsuit that would seek to kill the proposal before it heads to voters next year.

The proposal, championed by the union-backed group Raise Up Massachusetts, would raise the income tax on residents who make over $1 million by 4 percentage points. Its backers landed a victory Wednesday when lawmakers on Beacon Hill overwhelmingly supported the measure, a vote that will put the proposal before Bay State voters as a ballot question in November 2018, barring a successful court challenge. Continue reading

Boston Business Leaders React after Trump Election Victory

By STAFF, Government & Regulationscranderson_portrait_webready_11102016

Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council

“My first reaction is that it is way premature for anybody to effectively predict positively or negatively what a Trump administration will mean for the national or the state economy.  I think the results last night bear out the inability to predict exactly what this administration will mean…I would say there’s a high degree of interest in how his campaign rhetoric will translate into policy initiatives.”

Viewpoint: Charter Expansion Key to Winning Tech Talent

By Christopher Anderson, President of the Massachusetts High Technology Council

The high quality of Massachusetts’ workforce, with the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees of any state and one of the nation’s highest ratios of tech employment to total employment, is well-documented.  Less well-known, however, is that Massachusetts remains one of the most difficult places to hire technology talent, according to the Massachusetts Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System.  The reason: demand for talent is far outstripping supply. If Massachusetts can’t meet the growing demand for talent our tech employers need, our prospects for economic expansion could be threatened as jobs that would otherwise be created here are placed in other states.

To ensure the commonwealth’s tech employers can access a sufficient supply of skilled workers, it’s crucial that we optimize every potential source of talent.  Our state’s public schools which, on the whole, are among the best in the nation remain our primary source of opportunity.  Unfortunately, access to excellent schools in Massachusetts remains uneven and unequal.  According to data from Great Schools Massachusetts, some 250,000 children in the commonwealth are at serious risk of landing in a failing school. Continue reading

ViewPoint: Lift the Charter School Cap to Compete

By Christopher Anderson, President of the Massachusetts High Technology Council and Al Bunshaft, CEO of DS Government Solutions, Dassault Systèmes, Co-chair of the Council’s Talent Development Policy Team

In the 21st century global economy, Massachusetts employers increasingly compete to succeed and grow with businesses located in cities and states around the nation and around the world. For decades, Massachusetts has had a not-so-secret weapon in this race: its first-in-the-nation public schools. As many other states have reeled from historic recessions and painful industry transitions, our commitment to preparing our children for entering the workforce has proven critical to our economic resilience.

That is why the commonwealth’s technology leaders, including the Mass. High Tech Council, have consistently engaged political leaders to ensure that our public education system is well-resourced, accountable to parents and teachers and driven by the pursuit of excellence and opportunity for all children. In many ways and many communities, those efforts have paid rich dividends in the form of high-performing schools and student achievement. Continue reading

The lowdown on how GE’s move will impact Boston startups

By Sara Castellanos

General Electric Co.’s announcement last week that it would move its corporate headquarters to Boston has implications for the local startup scene. After all, it was Boston’s vibrant startup culture and innovative spirit that was among the dozens of reasons that GE decided Boston was a good fit.

“We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations,” said GE’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt in a statement last week.

Here are five ways that the announcement of GE’s move to Boston will impact — and has already impacted — the startup scene.

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Boston-area business leaders react to GE’s Boston headquarters move

By Sara Castellanos

“GE’s selection of Boston reinforces the limitless opportunities for economic growth that are available to us when business and political leaders work together to reinforce our commonwealth’s strengths and to address our competitive challenges. Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh should be commended…we congratulate them on this significant milestone in Massachusetts’ economic history.” ~ Mass. High Tech Council President Chris Anderson

A new anchor company is coming to town.

Boston-area technology, venture capital, finance and education leaders say GE’s upcoming headquarters move to Boston is a huge win for the region. Ellen Rubin, co-founder of Boston-based tech firm ClearSky Data, said the move is emblematic of a larger trend: Giant, established companies taking charge of innovation.  Continue reading

This high tech exec thinks Mass. employers should support charter schools

By Mary Moore

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Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Tech Council, is among those behind a petition filed this week for a ballot measure that would pave the way for annual increases in the number of charter schools statewide.

Priority would be given to areas that have the longest waiting lists of students and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would continue to have oversight of the schools. Existing caps on charter school expansion would remain, but the ballot measure would create exemptions allowing for the creation of more charter schools.

The proposed ballot measure comes after the Massachusetts Senate last year defeated a bill that would have gradually lifted the cap on charter school seats. Charter school supporters likely would have faced similar legislative opposition again, Anderson said.

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BBJ’s Top 10 winners from Boston Olympics forfeit

News that the U.S. Olympics Committee has officially dropped Boston as its potential host city for the 2024 Summer Games was unexpected Monday, but not all that surprising when one considers the challenges the city’s bid has faced in recent months.

The Boston Business Journal photo gallery above serves as our list of preliminary winners and losers to emerge from the eight-month saga that will forever be known as Boston 2024.

Pagliuca_BBJ_07272015#8 winner
Steve Pagliuca, the sports and finance wiz who has attained much higher profile through his work with Boston 2024. Having previously run for elected office in the Bay State, Pagliuca’s name recognition and ‘big thinking’ around the Games will no doubt position him well for another political campaign, should he go that route.