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Council in the News



Editorial: Making Massachusetts No. 1 should be top of mind

Massachusetts has the most to lose when it comes to economic opportunities.

At a talk before the Mass High Tech Council this week, Yvonne Hao continued her economic development plan roadshow, calling on Massachusetts business and policy leaders to remain “relentlessly paranoid about the progress of other states.”

Hao, the state’s secretary of economic development, wants everyone to know that the Healey Administration is aware that other states are trying to emulate — if not outright steal — the success and diversity of the Massachusetts economy. And she is rightly concerned that the business community and others may become complacent if we only focus on best-in-the-nation rankings such as per-capita venture capital dollars or bachelor’s degree holders, and not on the competitors nipping at our heels.

Hao, naturally, points to the pillars in the Healey Administration’s recently released economic development plan. But when asked about specific areas in which Massachusetts has strengths but isn’t winning, she offers two examples: climatetech over the long term, and, in the short term, America’s 250th anniversary celebration.

For the nation’s quarter-millennial birthday party in 2026, Boston is already falling behind Philadelphia and Virginia in terms of planning and promoting themselves as the birthplace of the nation. Time is quickly running out for Massachusetts to catch back up and reclaim our place as the cradle of the American Revolution, where the first major battle occurred, and which sent more soldiers to fight in the war than any other colony. We took a solid step in the right direction this week with the hiring of a 250th anniversary coordinator within the state Office of Travel and Tourism.

But just as important are nurturing our long-term economic goals, such as capitalizing on the enormous demand in coming years for clean energy and technology to address the dangers of climate change. And while Gov. Maura Healey’s decision to name the first-ever cabinet-level climate chief in the nation last year was smart, such states as North Carolina and Texas are finding success in attracting companies and research labs with tax incentives and other investments.

“In business, by the time you realize you’re losing, you’ve already lost,” Hao told the council this week when asked which competitor states she worries most about.

Without question, Massachusetts has the most to lose when it comes to economic opportunities. The business community, Beacon Hill legislators and the Healey Administration must work together — and, in Secretary Hao’s words, remain “relentlessly paranoid” — to ensure we make the necessary investments now to lengthen our lead, and stay No. 1 for years to come.