Boston is one of the best cities for launching a career – According to a new report from Bankrate

By Justine Hofherr

This year Massachusetts ranked as the most difficult state in the country to hire tech workers, along with Maryland and Virginia, according to an index published by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, a trade group in Waltham.

New college graduates might want to consider Boston as a potential launching pad for their career.

According to a new report by financial advice site, Boston is the No. 6 best city for starting a successful career, thanks to its pay potential, opportunities for career advancement, and quality of life.

The personal finance website evaluated 100 U.S. cities based on several factors young people should consider when starting their careers, including job prospects, pay potential, quality of life, social opportunities and career advancement.

New York City took the No. 1 spot due to its high rankings for career advancement, pay potential, quality of life and the city’s social opportunities, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco.


For individual rankings, Boston took the No. 3 spot for prospects of high pay, and placed No. 6 in terms of career advancement.

“Boston’s educated population and higher-than-average share of 20- to 29-year-olds mean new arrivals should find plenty of social opportunities,” added.

Bankrate banking analyst, Claes Bell, CFA, said in a statement that job seekers most focused on quickly landing an entry-level position might disagree with the rankings, because early-career competition in Boston is stiff, but Bankrate wanted to paint an accurate picture of young workers’ overall quality of life.

“Although young grads will be faced with major competition for available jobs in these top cities, the opportunities for career growth and quality of life among peers far exceed what is offered in less competitive job markets,” Bell said.

The study analyzed 100 U.S. cities based on metro areas with populations of above 250,000 and per capita GDP levels of above $40,000.

The only area Boston did poorly in was its unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-olds, which suggests it can be difficult for young people to find an entry-level position.

If you work in technology, however, finding a job shouldn’t be too hard for you since the demand for skilled tech workers has never been so dire.

This year Massachusetts ranked as the most difficult state in the country to hire tech workers, along with Maryland and Virginia, according to an index published by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, a trade group in Waltham.

Barbara Anderson, 73; Was the Voice of Limited Taxation in Mass.

By Bryan Marquard and Mark Feeney

To state legislators who tried to find a way around Proposition 2½, Barbara Anderson’s signature tax-cutting ballot measure, she had a simple response: “It means what it says!”

For Ms. Anderson, who was 73 when she died Friday of leukemia, the exclamation point was as much a part of her as the political wallop she delivered throughout the Commonwealth.

A master of forcefully turning complex public policy into something anyone could understand, she played a highly visible and influential role in Massachusetts politics for more than three decades as the longtime executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Continue reading

Gov. Baker at Bentley Speaks on Technology and Economic Progress

By Bill Whelan

It’s the sharp minds and strong work ethic of Massachusetts residents that make the state a high tech haven, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.

“People are really all about the work, there’s not a lot of braggadocio,” he said. “There’s not a lot of flag-waving and bugle blowing, it’s just a heck of a lot of work and a constant sense about what the next act is and how we do a better job of moving the science and moving the technology.”

Baker was the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts High Technology Council annual meeting at Bentley University Wednesday afternoon. The meeting focused on Massachusetts’ strength in the technology sector and what can be done to increase the state’s competitiveness both nationally and globally. Continue reading

Corporate Tax Law Change Would Boost State’s Competitiveness

By Andy Metzger

“We see a growing number of Massachusetts-headquartered technology firms that are taxed under single sales factor apportionment in other states and that believe strongly they should have the benefit of similar policy in Massachusetts,” said High Tech Council Executive Vice President Mark Gallagher in written testimony. “Each time these firms add employees or make capital investments, their tax liability increases under the current rules.”

Gov. Charlie Baker, who campaigned two years ago on lowering business taxes, is aiming to align Bay State corporate tax policy with that of 23 states around the nation.

The proposed change included in Baker’s economic development bill (H 3978) would affect multistate companies doing business in Massachusetts and eventually reduce state revenues by more than $70 million, according to an administration economist.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash pushed lawmakers to adopt the alteration in the corporate tax formula, along with a reduction in the film tax credit and increases in the low-income housing tax credit, at a Revenue Committee hearing Tuesday. Continue reading

Student Protesters Lend voice to Debate over Charter School Ballot Question

By Katie Lannan

Mark Gallagher of the Massachusetts High Technology Council said there could be an economic advantage to charter school expansion.

“Our members tell us the same thing all the time: I have a hard time getting the people I need with the right education and skills, but if they have those skills those people can write their own ticket,” he said. “We need to put more people in the position to do that. We believe a continuing improvement in public education including the public charter schools is the key to that.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a self-described “ally of charter public schools,” found common ground Monday with some of the students who walked out of his city’s district schools in a protest over funding, as each spoke in opposition to a ballot initiative that would lift the cap on charter schools.

The petition (H 3928), which would allow the authorization of up to 12 new charter schools or charter expansions a year, came before the Legislature’s Education Committee for a hearing, drawing testimony from educators, parents and students, many with experience in Boston’s public school system.

Reiterating a request he made of the committee at an October hearing for a more gradual increase in charter capacity, Walsh said he supports lifting the state’s cap on charter schools, but not the “aggressive expansion” proposed in the ballot question.

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The War for Tech Talent Escalates

By John Dodge

How fierce is the competition for technical talent in Massachusetts?

Software developers right out of college can command starting salaries of up to $90,000. Once in their jobs, they can get as many as 20 recruiting calls a day trying to convince them to leave for another company. And when they do, a 20 percent to 25 percent bump in salary is not unusual.

The shortage of skilled technology workers has become the No. 1 issue for many Massachusetts companies and a growing concern for the state’s innovation economy. Tech executives describe the hiring environment as brutal — worse even than the dot-com boom in the late 1990s — and a threat to their ability to expand, develop new technologies, and keep growing.

An index published by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, a trade group in Waltham, ranks Massachusetts as the most difficult state in the country to hire tech workers, along with Maryland and Virginia. The index, compiled with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the employment site, and the New York research firm Wanted Analytics, is based on a variety of data, including job postings and local unemployment rates.

“The level of demand and hiring difficulty are an indicator of the tech sector’s strength,” said Mark Gallagher, the high tech council’s vice president for public policy and communications, “but if unaddressed could be a constraint on the region’s ability to expand and remain a leader.” 
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Charter School Camp Launches “Facts” Campaign

By Katie Lannan

Arguing that the debate over expanding access to charter schools in Massachusetts has been characterized by misinformation and misleading statements, charter supporters on Friday launched a new campaign they say debunks myths about the schools.

The center of the “Fact Check: Public Charter Schools in Massachusetts” campaign is a new
website, unveiled Friday, that showcases research and data analysis supporting charter schools.

Groups behind the website include the Race to the Top Coalition, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, the Boston Charter Alliance, the Massachusetts High Tech Council and Great Schools Massachusetts, the coalition backing a ballot question that would allow the authorization of up to 12 new charters per year. Continue reading

Biz Group Warns Lawmakers Surtax Will Tie Their Hands on Tax Policy

By Andy Metzger

Ahead of a potential vote on the proposal, the Massachusetts High Technology Council warned Wednesday that a proposed 4 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million would “severely limit legislative and citizen power to set and amend tax policy in response to economic conditions.”

The House and Senate meet together at 1 p.m. for a Constitutional Convention where a citizens’ initiative (H 3933) is on the agenda behind nine other proposed legislative amendments to the state’s constitution.

The citizens’ amendment, which would need the votes of 50 lawmakers this session and next before appearing on the 2018 ballot, would add a 4 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million on top of what is now a 5.1 percent flat income tax.

Critics say the move will lead to a graduated income tax structure in which higher earners are taxed at higher rates and lower earners at lower rates. Unlike prior, unsuccessful attempts to allow for tiers in the state income tax, this latest effort would not remove the requirement for a flat income tax rate. Continue reading

Massachusetts Senate OKs Bill That Would Ensure Equal Pay

By Steve LeBlanc

“Critics say lawmakers are well-meaning, but misguided.

Massachusetts High Technology Council spokesman Mark Gallagher had urged the Senate to reject the bill.

“The legislation is a classic example of a well-intended proposal that is highly likely to result in unintended consequences,” Gallagher said in a written statement.

He said the bill would make it difficult and risky for employers to reward any worker — female or male — through commissions and other merit-based or performance-based compensation systems. He cited what he said was the high burden of proof employers would have to meet to justify higher pay for some workers.

The law could end up discouraging an employer from paying more to a woman employee who is performing at a higher level than a male counterpart, he added.”

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Mass. Senate Approves Equity Act to Close Gender Pay Gap

By Colin A. Young and Katie Lannan

“The legislation divided the business community, winning the backing of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce but meeting opposition from Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts High Technology council.

Describing the bill as “misguided in its approach” despite noble intentions, Mark Gallagher, the council’s executive vice president for public policy and communications, said it would put companies at risk for frivolous lawsuits if they pay employees commissions or other performance-based compensation.”

Noting its history as the first state to pass a pay equity law more than 70 years ago, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday that proponents say will strengthen that law in an attempt to close the gender pay gap.

“The Senate today is taking a huge step not only for women, but also for men who believe in fairness and equity at the workplace for all the citizens of the commonwealth,” said Sen. Daniel Wolf, the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “This bill gives us all a tool to use and tools to use to … do a deep dive, examine our souls, our hearts, our minds, our wallets, our balance sheets, and our profit and loss statements to make sure that the values that we embody here in this chamber are expressed in the behavior through our economy.”  Continue reading