Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Massachusetts adds jobs, but employment picture is mixed

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

By Jim Morrison, The Sun Chronicle

The good news/bad news in the Massachusetts jobs report for September has brought a mixed reaction from area businesses, with some praising signs of economic life and others troubled over the uncertainty of the presidential election.

“Hiring is stagnant because businesses are waiting to see what happens with the election,” said Jack Lank, president of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce. “If Obamacare goes forward, it’s going to have a chilling effect on hiring.”

The monthly U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Thursday found that although the Bay State added an estimated 5,100 jobs last month, unemployment rose for the fourth consecutive month to 6.5 percent.
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Gateway Cities partnership seen boosting Lowell

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

By Katie Doyle, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Onetime booming manufacturing cities, such as Lowell and Fitchburg, have an official new friend following Wednesday’s launch of a new independent think-tank aimed at bolstering their educational and economic development.

The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, created by the nonprofit, MassINC, was introduced to municipal officials, state politicians and the public at a rollout held at the Statehouse.

Ben Forman, research director at MassINC, said the institute hopes to build on collaboration between the cities and other public and private sectors. But he also alluded to the need for additional funding.
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Report offers strategies to grow jobs in Mass.

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

By Edward Donga, Patriot Ledger

BOSTON – A new job-creation report says the state’s employment picture could be improved by lowering business costs, investing in infrastructure, supporting public education, and coordinating workforce training programs and job search resources.

Legislators, government officials and labor representatives joined at the State House on Wednesday to present the long-awaited report, which laid out plans for growing jobs in the state.

Those plans can’t come soon enough for some South Shore communities.
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Job creation tactics suggested in report

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

By Chelsea Sheasley, Metro West Daily News

BOSTON – Massachusetts can create more jobs by investing in infrastructure and public education, training workers caught in a skills gap and marketing state goods and services, according to the final report of the Legislature’s Jobs Creation Commission.

Commission co-chairwoman Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, released the report at the State House Wednesday.

“It will be, it has been already, a blueprint for us continuing to get out of the recession,” she said.

Created during the height of the recession in 2008, the commission held hearings across the state to conduct a review of the Massachusetts economy and recommend strategies for job creation.
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Jobs Commission unveils improvement plan

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

By Katie Doyle, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON – Legislators are praising a report calling for targeted job training and infrastructure investment. But they warn it could cost taxpayers more money to turn those recommendations into reality.

“Wonderful proposal, lots of work, but we need the old-fashioned green stuff (money) to make a lot of this work,” said Rep. Jim Miceli, a Democrat from Wilmington, after the release Wednesday of the Legislature’s Job Creation Commission report.

The Jobs Creation Commission was formed during the recession in 2008 to come up with a plan to improve the job picture in the state. Although employment numbers have improved over the past four years, the report comes after the state unemployment’s rate increased two months in a row, from 6 percent in June to 6.3 percent in August.
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Janitors union nears strike

Monday, October 1st, 2012

By Chelsea Sheasley, Metro West Daily News

BOSTON – Janitors who clean the corporate headquarters of Bose, Genzyme, TJ Maxx and other major MetroWest-based companies are ready to strike on Monday if negotiations for a new contract aren’t successful.

The contract for roughly 14,000 janitors in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire expires on Sept. 30. Over the weekend, union members authorized their negotiating committee to call a strike if the deadline is reached without a new contract.

The last time the janitor’s union went on strike was in 2002, when a four-week strike drew national attention.
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Limits eyed on EBT cards

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — A bipartisan group of 18 legislators announced yesterday their support for a bill to restrict Massachusetts welfare recipients’ discretionary use of assistance money by banning their ability to withdraw cash from ATMs with electronic benefit cards.

The lawmakers, frustrated by a recommendation by a commission to only ban the use of the cards at nail salons, tattoo parlors, firearms dealers, bars, smoke shops or spas, said more steps are needed to curb further abuse in the welfare system.

“This report failed to make any substantive changes and place restriction and oversight on the $415 million a year this state hands out in cash assistance to people, and taxpayers deserve oversight of these funds,” Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, R-Taunton, said at a press conference. “There have been too many problems with this program and minor changes are not going to fix that.”
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Commission votes to allow some tax breaks to expire

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — A commission created by the Legislature is planning to call for the end of some of the scores of tax breaks and credits that add up to a total of $26 billion in waived revenue collections each year.

The Tax Expenditure Commission, made up of legislators and policymakers, voted to adopt Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez’s recommendations to categorize existing tax breaks and allow some to expire if not reapproved by the Legislature after five years.

The commission’s final recommendations will be issued in a report on the state’s tax-expenditure policies later in the month.
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Advocate: Legalizing pot would help economy and users’ health

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Legalizing marijuana would be good for the state’s bottom line and would protect the health of those who use the drug, supporters told the Joint Committee on the Judiciary yesterday, even as the bill’s sponsor conceded it has almost no chance of becoming law.

“The state needs to make money,” sponsor Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, testified. “This would allow the state to benefit from marijuana by regulating it.”

Story’s bill would legalize marijuana and “establish a tax on the cannabis industry.” But Story offered no details in her testimony on the tax rate or what revenue such a tax would bring to the state.
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Brown joins call for transparency on housing pay

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON – A ranking Republican U.S. senator and Sen. Scott Brown are once again wading into the Chelsea Housing Authority scandal, asking a federal agency to be more transparent about how much executives running federally-subsidized housing authorities are paid.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, senior member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter co-signed by Brown yesterday to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Sean Donovan to gauge whether HUD is doing an adequate job of collecting information about executive compensation and perks.

Grassley and Brown sent another letter to HUD in November, asking about former Chelsea Housing Authority Executive Director Michael E. McLaughlin, who resigned in November after The Boston Globe reported he was making $360,383 a year despite only listing a $160,000 salary in reports to state housing officials.
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