Council Fights 2011 Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Rate Increase

Click here to view the Council’s UI memo to the Legislature
Click here for BBJ article on UI rate freeze

On January 10, the Council called on the Legislature and Patrick Administration to take actions to prevent a scheduled 40% rate hike on employer UI charges this year. The Council’s push for a rate freeze as well as long overdue reforms to the UI system, generated interest from legislators willing to support our recommendations, and media coverage that included comments by Gov. Patrick and Sen. President Theresa Murray. The Council continues a decades-long effort to work with members of the legislature interested in transforming one of the least competitive attributes of the Massachusetts business climate. At a time when sustainable job and tax revenue creation should be at the top of the state’s priorities, it should be noted that the reforms called for by the Council do just that. In addition to the rate freeze, based on a soon-to-be released report commissioned by the Council, the comprehensive reforms advocated by the Council would create 10,000 new jobs, $3.9 billion in new wages and $30 million in new state revenue over the next decade.

Anderson Comments on Defense Department Budget Tightening

On January 6, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced additional cuts to various defense programs that have connections to New England. Please watch the 2 ½ minute New England Cable News story: Pentagon budget put on chopping block featuring an interview with Council President Chris Anderson. The piece sets up the opportunity the Council is pursuing to drive greater connections between the increasing need for innovative technologies from federal defense and civilian agencies, and our New England-based innovation assets.

Briefing for NE Congressional Delegation Members – January 26

In the midst of increasing calls for reducing the Federal Defense Budget by $100 billion or more, the Council’s Defense Technology Initiative Team and Regional Advisory Board are crafting a New England strategy in advance of the next federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, likely in 2015. On January 26, with leadership from Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Scott Brown, we will brief interested members of the NE Delegation in Washington on this strategy. Key elements of our 2011 activities will directly inform the region’s collaboration and provide important opportunities to accelerate the defense mission with innovative assets through the following:

  • the development of an online platform (Innovation Access Network) designed to provide more efficient access to the growing number of small, highly-innovative technology firms in New England and across the country for both military and civilian government clients (led by US Army Natick Soldier, Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and large technology firms prime contractors); and
  • the integration of dynamic asset mapping and economic data quantifying DoD activity for New England (and each of the 6 states) to be conducted annually by the Donahue Institute of UMASS, the results of which would reside on the Innovation Access Network and will serve as a pre-BRAC 2015 focal point for regional strategy.

High Tech Council to Host UK Ambassador to United States

The High Tech Council will host the UK Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, for a CEO Roundtable to be held at our offices for a limited number of Council member CEOs. The Roundtable will coincide with an address Ambassador Sheinwald is delivering at Harvard University and is the only meeting with business leaders during his two-day visit to Boston on February 8-9. UK Trade and Investment USA officials have been working with the Council to establish a sustainable partnership to achieve mutually beneficial opportunities for our members and British tech firms. The Council and significant trading partners such as Great Britian, will be creating partnerships to support global collaboration and boost opportunities for Mass. tech employers around the world. In working with the US leadership at UK Trade and Investment, we will soon be detailing plans to foster connections for British tech firms looking for partnerships with Mass.-based tech firms. This effort will also include utilizing our soon-to-be launched Innovation Access Network, which will also be introduced to British innovators and tech firms (and agencies) looking to foster connections to the New England innovation economy.

2011 MHTC Annual Meeting – February 18

The Council will hold its 2011 Annual Meeting on February 18 from 8:00-10:00 a.m. at the Newton Marriott, featuring a keynote address by United States Senator John F. Kerry. Click here for more information and to register. The issues on Senator Kerry’s agenda match many of the Council’s top priorities, including clean technology/energy, SciTech Research & Development, education, regional economic development and defense technology. The Council’s Annual Meeting will also include the official public launch of the Innovation Access Network (IAN), an online business collaboration network for the New England innovation economy, which will enable small businesses to make meaningful connections with large technology employers, universities and federal government agencies.

Also in the News this Week

Council President Chris Anderson was featured in the Boston Herald on the Boston-New York competition for venture capital (click here) and Vice President Jim Rooney in the Boston Globe on the state’s biodefense sector (click here).