Skip to content
Newton, Needham, Watertown, Wellesley

No one benefits from this delay

Need to Knows graphic

No one benefits from this delay

Two governors and both legislative chambers (twice) have voiced support for tax reforms designed to make Massachusetts more affordable, equitable, and competitive.
And yet, here we are -- 558 days after first proposed -- still waiting.

Yesterday, our lawmakers (who, best efforts aside, will never make this list or suffer from this) returned from a six-week summer break amidst vague promises that they’ll release a final bill sometime this year.

No one in the state is benefiting from this delay. We need our Legislature to act with urgency.

We need the conference committee to finally advance a package that aims to keep other states from stealing our workers (between April 2020 and July 2022, 110,000 people left Massachusetts for other states) and our companies.

We need relief for our parents, renters, seniors, and small business owners.

Several of the reforms under consideration directly address outlier policies that position Massachusetts as uncompetitive, including the estate tax, short-term capital gains, and single sales factor apportionment. These reforms are essential to ensure employees and employers view Massachusetts as a desirable place to live, work, and do business.

That’s why this morning our chamber -- as part of the Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network -- is joining eight of the largest chambers from across the Commonwealth to urge Beacon Hill to finalize tax relief.

“As presidents of chambers of commerce, we continue to hear from employees and employers that other states are trying to incentivize them to leave Massachusetts with competitive tax policies," said Jim Rooney, president and CEO at the Boston Chamber. "Strategic tax reform will remove the Commonwealth as an outlier while encouraging people -- and their skills and businesses -- to stay and grow in the region." 

Read our joint statement in support of tax reform and the specific policies we believe will strengthen the state’s quality of life and economy.

Two other points 

Massachusetts can afford tax reform: Massachusetts experienced explosive growth in revenue in recent years. Between fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2024, state budget spending grew by $14 billion (33%) from $42 billion to $56 billion. In comparison, the first-year impact of the tax relief package is under $600 million in both packages. With record reserves, the state is well-positioned to support tax reform.

Other states are doing it: At least 10 states reduced their personal income tax rate this year, including three that switched to a flat income tax. We're the only state to increase income taxes. At least five states reduced corporate income tax rates in 2023 in an effort to attract businesses and talent with tax policy.

We’re one of only 12 states that impose an estate tax and have the lowest exemption in the country along with Oregon, currently set at $1 million. Additionally, Massachusetts applies the tax to the full value of the estate once the valuation threshold is triggered. We also have the second-highest short-term capital gains rate in the nation. The federal government and many states treat short-term capital gains as ordinary income.

Source: The Boston Chamber.

Hiring still stinks 

That basically summarizes the results of a National Federation of Independent Businesses employer survey which found that 40% of small business owners in Massachusetts have job openings they couldn’t fill,

At least 93% of owners who say they’re hiring or trying to hire are finding few or no qualified applicants for open positions, while 36% have raised pay to fill open positions, reports Christian M. Wade at the Eagle Tribune.

About 35% of business owners have openings for skilled workers and 18% have openings for unskilled labor.

This wasn't one of Wellesley's finer moments 

A Wellesley Planning Board discussion about the Sisters of Charity’s desire to one day sell its property went off the rails late last month with one member leaving the virtual meeting in a huff following multiple inflammatory exchanges (and one "sermon").

You can watch the most heated moments between board member Jim Roberti and his colleagues at the one-hour mark here, although the term "colleagues" may not exactly apply.

Ultimately the board voted 4-0 (with Roberti logged off by that point) to place a zoning article on the fall Special Town Meeting docket (basically they didn't want to make the elderly nuns have to collect signatures), even though the board voted moments earlier against sponsoring the article.

Bob Brown at the Swellesley Report explains what happened and what it means.

Today's grab bag 

  • A new study led by Boston scientists finds the latest COVID-19 variant is less of a threat than feared. (Boston Globe)

  • Housing for All Watertown, a brand-new group of housing advocates dedicated to expanding housing availability and affordability, is hosting an organizing meeting on Saturday (Sept 9) from 1-3 p.m. Join them to learn more about ways to get involved. RSVP.

  • Two Newton-based real estate investment trusts managed by The RMR Group have canceled a planned merger in the face of shareholder opposition. (BBJ)
  • Registration is now open to attend the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts’ MassBlack Expo 2023 on Oct. 6 – 8 in Boston.
  • Alexandria Real Estate Equities has tapped Hunter Kass to serve as the company’s co-president and regional director of its Boston market. (Bisnow)

  • No more brisket from The Don's BBQ. The sweet-smelling School Street joint has closed after operating in Watertown for just under two years. (Boston Restaurant Talk)

Local biotech acquired just as it was running out of cash 

Newton's Acer Therapeutics has been scooped up by a Florida company just as it was thisclose to running out of cash.

Zevra Therapeutics Inc. is set to buy the One Gateway Center-based company in a deal worth up to $91 million, reports the BBJ’s Rowan Walrath.

Acer is behind a drug that treats urea cycle disorders that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last December last year, but by the end of June, it had yet to generate any revenue for its maker, Walrath adds.

IRS says it is purposely slowing these tax refunds 

Still waiting the IRS to issue your company’s Employee Retention Credit refund?

Or, still getting besieged by calls from aggressive telemarketers trying to sell you their services applying for this pandemic-era program? (I know I am!)

The two aren’t unrelated.

The IRS announced yesterday that it has slowed payments for the ERC as the agency struggles to combat what it says are fraudulent and overstated claims and works on clawing back some of those refunds, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The IRS is discouraging employers from using ERC firms that charge large upfront fees or a percentage of your tax refund.

Any employer that has not applied for this legitimately helpful program is advised to consult their tax advisor or find a reputable local accounting firm to assist. 

Seats are filling up fast for next week's housing forum 

Finally, nearly 200 people have already registered for our special event next Tuesday (Sept. 12) exploring the housing crisis in our west suburban communities.

Our keynote speaker, Lee Pelton, President & CEO of the Boston Foundation, will share his perspective and the latest research and housing demographic trends, including through an equity lens.

We’ll also have an overview of the MBTA Communities Law -- the state's most consequential housing bill in 50 years -- from Chris Kluchman who has been a key player in the implementation of the law, first under Gov. Charlie Baker and now for the Healey administration.

We’ll wrap it all up with a panel discussion featuring Andrew Copelotti (Boylston Properties), Melony Swasey (Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty), and Darryl Settles (Catalyst Ventures Dev.)

The program starts at 9 a.m. on the UMass Mount Ida campus. Get there early for coffee and networking. It’s free but an RSVP is required.

Yes, our friends at NewTV will be recording it. But, really, don't you think you should be there? 

That's what you need to know for today, unless you need to know which of our four favorite communities Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band grew up in and how the Boss reacted when he found out Silvio Dante wasn't from the swamps of Jersey.
Greg Reibman (he, him)

Powered By GrowthZone