For Release: November 20, 2008
High Tech Council’s MassTrack Rankings Show Unexpected Gains
New Communities Rise to the Top by Embracing Technology Growth Agenda
The 2008 MassTrack (www.masstrack.org) municipal technology rankings, released today by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, showed significant gains for the more than 30 cities and towns that have streamlined their municipal permitting process this year. For the first time, all of the top 10 MassTrack-ranked municipalities have approved expedited local permitting – also known as chapter 43D – passed by the Legislature in 2006.
MassTrack is a dynamic website designed to provide data to technology employers and employees on how state and local political leaders measure up to the technology community’s agenda. The site ranks all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns on a range of variables that measure tax policy, workforce strength, and openness to development and growth.
”The unexpected success of some cities and towns shows that any community can become more attractive to technology investment if they adopt the right approach,” said Council President Christopher R. Anderson. “During an economic downturn it is even more vital for communities to make themselves more competitive by improving their schools, keeping taxes low and creating a fair and predictable permitting process.
The community information provided through MassTrack brings into focus the competitive priorities of technology employers and employees in 12 core variables, including the density of technology workforce, new housing created, MCAS proficiency, local taxes and environmental permits issued.
Last month an interconnected ranking of the state Legislature was released, evaluating how all 200 state senators and representatives fared on their support for the technology agenda. Anderson noted that there was a significant correlation between the MassTrack communities with high rankings being represented by legislators who support the technology agenda. In fact each of the top five MassTrack communities is represented by at least one legislator who scored 87 points or better on MassTrack’s legislative assessment.
“Both the state and local rankings show just how interconnected policy is connected between Beacon Hill and Town Hall,” said Anderson. “This year’s results once again illustrate that forward thinking municipal governments recognize the direct and ancillary benefit of tech industry growth within their borders and are setting the table accordingly.”
MassTrack was developed with the input of technology CEOs, statisticians, corporate site selection specialists, and public policy development experts. The 12 ranking variables are derived from the most current data available from a variety of public and private sources. A full explanation of how the rankings were constructed can be found on the methodology page of MassTrack.
MassTrack provides visitors the opportunity to explore interactive, color-coded maps of the state based on the MassTrack ranking and individual variables. A visitor can focus on a specific variable and quickly determine which communities are favorable or unfavorable for that competitive priority. In addition to the variables used for ranking, MassTrack collects other data points of interest to the public.
Anderson noted that the connected legislative ranking and assessment system is scientifically weighted and more proactive than other legislative scorecards. The weights of the votes are tied directly to the Council’s annual CEO survey, which sets the Council’s agenda each year. And Council staff work to identify and publicize upcoming MassTrack votes so legislators understand how that issue will impact their overall rating.
2008 MassTrack Municipal Rankings
About the Massachusetts High Technology Council
The Massachusetts High Technology Council is composed of CEOs from the state’s top technology employers who for 30 years have worked to make Massachusetts a more competitive place for technology growth. Council members run leading global companies from all sectors of the state’s diverse technology economy. In 2004, the Council launched the Defense Technology Initiative, which led the state’s efforts to preserve the state’s two top defense technology installations, Hanscom Air Force Base and the Natick Soldier Systems Center.