The Wonk - June 2016
Beacon Hill Day: What Happened When the Chamber Made its Case on Beacon Hill
On June 8, several members of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce visitedBoston for our annual Beacon Hill Day. Our annual legislative action day provides our members with opportunities to meet our legislative delegation and advocate on behalf of issues of importance to small businesses throughout Nashoba Valley.
The membership met with most members or staff of the Nashoba Valley delegation, including Senator Jen Flanagan, Senator Jamie Eldridge, Senator Hariette Chandler, Senator Eileen Donoghue, Representative Jennifer Benson, Representative Jim Arciero, Representative Kate Hogan, Representative Kim Ferguson, and Representative Sheila Harrington. We discussed wide range of policy issues integral to the communities that make up the Chamber, with the minimum wage, clean energy policy, and transportation issues being chief among them.
* Minimum Wage - When considering increases to the minimum wage, it is critical to consider the detrimental effect that this will have on small businesses. Employers simply cannot plan payroll to meet rapidly approaching deadlines. Any changes should provide ample time for employers to plan financially. Additionally, the Chamber opposes the automatic indexing of the minimum wage, and recommends that subsequent minimum wage increases should be modest over the next few years.
* Clean Energy Alternatives - As the 2020 deadline for emissions reductions rapidly approaches, the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce knows that the time is now to increase the availability of clean energy alternatives to diversify the Commonwealth's energy grid, lower GHG emissions, and ensure that the region is not subjected to volatile pricing changes in the future. The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce strongly supports Governor Baker's initiative to meet the Commonwealth's clean energy aspirations through solar, wind, and hydropower. These energy sources are affordable, environmentally sustainable, and reliable. To ensure that Nashoba Valley and the rest of the Commonwealth have consistent, reliable access to energy sources, it is necessary to put policies in place that allow for the diversification of electricity resources.
* Transportation - As an industrial and economic region vital to the growth of the Commonwealth, we support expanded transportation options throughout Nashoba Valley. Increased commuter options, particularly for reverse commuters into the region, would prove to be integral in maintaining its economic vitality. Options include better access to and increased frequency of the commuter rail lines.
On the whole, this was a productive meeting for the Chamber. A healthy dialogue took place, and the Chamber took the opportunity to make its case for smarter government policies that affect businesses.
Governor Baker's budget office just announced that the Commonwealth could be facing a revenue shortfall of between 450 million dollars and 750 million dollars. This is in large part due to an overestimate of how much revenue the state would be taking in. To abide by a balanced budget, policymakers will need to decide whether to cut spending, raise taxes/fees, or do a combination of the two. Either way, the coming budget adjustments are likely to impact Chamber members. The Chamber will continue to promote polices that are conducive to building better businesses and will stay in touch with leadership from the House, Senate, and Governor's Office to ensure that the ultimate budget compromise does not negatively impact small businesses throughout the region.
Next meeting in September!
Enjoy the summer! Our next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on September 6th.