|Gov. Maura Healey -- and most of her cabinet -- came to Newton yesterday to deliver what was billed as her first formal address to the business community.
It was a frank, and familiar, assessment of the challenges we’ve been hearing from our businesses: from labor shortages and unreliable transportation services to high taxes to competition from other states.
Healey offered a few specific solutions but hinted they were coming. Instead, she offered up a mix of commiserating, reality, cheer leading, and optimism designed to get her new administration's honeymoon with business leaders off on the right foot.
"We are the greatest state in this country,” she said at a packed Associated Industries of Massachusetts event inside the Newton Marriott ballroom. “[But] we have to be honest about the realities, and the fact is, Massachusetts is expensive -- high housing costs, high child care costs, high electricity costs, unreliable transportation. Remote work flexibilities, as wonderful as they have been, also have changed dynamics within a workforce.
"We know it hasn't been easy. We know that the tax burden is part of the equation for companies and employees deciding to stay here in Massachusetts, to come to Massachusetts, to leave Massachusetts. We are making that a part of our discussions in making us a more competitive state.”
“It’s a state that believes we should address climate issues, that stands for the right to love who you want to love, that will look after civil rights, that will make sure people can vote, you know, we’ve got good things going for us — oh, by the way, we’ll always make sure that a woman has a right to choose.
“So as people consider Austin, Texas, and North Carolina and Florida — look, there’s a value proposition for this state, and it’s one I want to build big-time with all of you together.”