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High Tech Group Urges Look at Causes of ‘Job Exodus’

May 28, 2011Council in the News, State House News Service

On the eve of a hearing at which officials from Fidelity Investments and Evergreen Solar are expected to defend their business decisions and acceptance of state subsidies and tax breaks, the leaders of the Massachusetts High Technology Council are calling on lawmakers to look at what’s causing job losses in Massachusetts and to avoid “doing a post-mortem on the decisions of a couple of companies.”  In a memo Monday to all state lawmakers, council president Christopher Anderson and vice president James D. Rooney called the state’s unemployment insurance system a “poster child for high costs and instability,” noted “some of the nation’s highest taxes and energy and healthcare costs,” and took issue with decisions by the Legislature over the years to reverse a reduction in the capital gains tax and to leave the state income tax at a level higher than the one approved by voters.  “Rather than holding an inquisition-style hearing Tuesday – one that seems designed primarily to embarrass a significant Massachusetts employer, Fidelity, which employs more than 7,000 state residents and serves as an anchor to the state’s world-renowned financial services cluster – the public would be much better served if the Senate Committee for Post Audit and Oversight took a heard look at the root causes for this so-called ‘job exodus.’ ”  Critics of Fidelity and Evergreen have faulted those companies for shifting jobs out of state while taking advantage of tax benefits and subsidies, with Post Audit Chairman Sen. Mark Montigny, in announcing Tuesday’s hearing, saying Fidelity’s plans to shift 1,100 jobs out of state was “just another example of a private company fleecing the Commonwealth at the taxpayer’s expense.”  Senate President Therese Murray added that she felt Massachusetts had been “blindsided by a homegrown company that has benefited greatly from its long relationship with the Commonwealth.”  Murray said senators hoped to use Tuesday’s hearing to learn all of the facts behind Fidelity’s decision   and said she supported Treasurer Steven Grossman’s efforts “to end the non-competitive contract for managing the Commonwealth’s money that Fidelity has enjoyed for so many years.”

Increasingly, the Massachusetts High Technology Council is stepping up to create, execute, and lead critical statewide competitiveness strategies. Fostering a vision for our innovation economy under the MassVision2050 banner, the Council solidifies its position as a thought leader providing valuable insights to navigate emerging technologies, facilitates long-term planning, and reinforces the Council's commitment to excellence and action in the evolving Massachusetts tech-driven economy.

To learn more, contact Council President Chris Anderson.