High Tech Official Pitches UI Reforms to DeLeo

Nov 25, 2013Council in the News, State House News Service

By M. Norton
State House News Service

Massachusetts High Tech Council President Chris Anderson reported a “great” meeting with Speaker Robert DeLeo Monday morning, telling the News Service afterwards that he can’t see a minimum wage hike or unemployment system reforms passing individually, but believes policy changes on both issues can advance if paired together. “Neither one of these are going to go through on their own,” Anderson said on the heels of last week’s 32-7 Senate vote to raise the minimum wage over three years from $8 an hour to $11 an hour. Anderson said he did not think House members would want to “deviate” from DeLeo’s preference to address the minimum wage and unemployment system reforms in one bill, predicting an eventual House bill would reflect a more “balanced” economic development strategy. “We’ve been working on these UI reforms for like 20 years,” said Anderson, who in a memo to lawmakers dated Monday said 78 percent of tech community members surveyed last week opposed the Senate’s minimum wage approach. According to the memo, more than 67 percent of respondents supported an increase in the minimum wage to $10 an hour if the wage were not indexed to inflation, as the Senate recommended, and if unemployment benefit and eligibility requirements in Massachusetts were realigned to match those in place in most states, an idea lawmakers have rejected in the past citing concerns for jobless individuals. Senate President Therese Murray indicated last week a desire to take up unemployment insurance reforms next year.

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