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Massachusetts Republican Lawmakers Unveil Jobs Plan

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Feb 15, 2012 1:02:00 PM

Republican state lawmakers today unveiled a comprehensive jobs proposal they say will put the commonwealth on track to getting 240,000 unemployed residents back to work.

Republican Jobs PlanThe plan, developed from a series of public meetings conducted last year, seeks to stimulate economic growth by making improvements in five key areas - business regulations, education, energy, health care, and taxes.

“While we maintain that government cannot create jobs, we believe government can provide the right environment for the private sector to grow and thrive. Our goal is to alleviate the burdensome regulations and policies that drive entrepreneurs and business away from our commonwealth,” the Republican Caucus wrote in the report, entitled “Putting Massachusetts on the Road to Opportunity.”

The Republican blueprint contains several recommendations long supported by AIM and the business community, most notably reforming the unemployment insurance system, requiring competitive bidding for long-term renewable energy contracts and changing the onerous treble damages law.

“AIM appreciates the continued focus by Beacon Hill on jobs and the economy,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs.

Specific recommendations of the Republican plan include:

Business Regulations

  • Reform Regulatory Processes for Efficiency
  • Redefine Independent Contractor
  • Create Certainty by Restructuring the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act
  • Streamline and Consolidate Local Permitting Process
  • Reform Unemployment Insurance System
  • Reform Treble Damages for Wage Violations

Education

  • Incentivize Students to Complete Their College Degree by Creating a Finish-Line Grant Program
  • Empower Vocational Schools and Strengthen Collaboration with Community Colleges to Meet Demand for Targeted Skills
  • Establish a Student-Operated Early Investment Fund to Provide Funding for Potential Start-Up Companies to Grow and Create Jobs
  • Qualify Veterans for Licenses and/or Academic Credit at Public Institutions of Higher Learning

Energy

  • Require Competitive Bidding for Long-Term Renewable Energy Contracts
  • Incorporate Small Renewable Hydroelectric Generation into the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)
  • Incorporate Large Renewable Hydroelectric Generation into the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)
  • Establish Energy Policy and Electricity Cost Reduction Commission and Review Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards
  • Require Economic Evaluation of All Proposed Legislative Changes to Energy and Electricity Policies

Health Care 

  • Reform Fair Share Contribution Requirements
  • Increase the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Threshold
  • Reduce Healthcare Mandates
  • Suspend the Prescription Drug Requirement from Minimum Creditable Coverage Guidelines
  • Reform Massachusetts’ Medical Malpractice Laws

Taxes

  • Reduce Commercial Vehicle Registration Fee
  • Establish a Job Creation Tax Credit
  • Simplify and Eliminate Corporate Fees and Taxes
  • Incentivize First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts
  • Establish Angel Investment Tax Credit

The Republican jobs plan is the latest signal that policymakers intend to emphasize economic issues during 2012.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo last week outlined a 2012 agenda that includes improving the business climate, reforming health care and producing a state budget without new taxes and fees.  In December, the Patrick administration unveiled an economic development plan it says will help Massachusetts compete in the global economy by making strategic investments in education, innovation and infrastructure.

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Economic Development

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