AIM CEO Outlines Expansive Role for Business

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jan 24, 2020 11:40:15 AM

The chief executive of Associated Industries of Massachusetts today outlined an expansive vision for the role of business in society, asserting that employers must be a positive force for change in creating a better, more prosperous world.

Regan.Annual.2019“Employers are bound to the economic hopes and dreams of the communities in which they operate. Our challenge is to integrate the economic needs of employers with the welfare of the society in which employers play a central role,” AIM President John Regan told an audience of 350 business leaders during his State of Massachusetts Business address.

“That means ensuring that business remains an economic engine of progress that expands prosperity for everyone.”

Regan noted that Massachusetts calls itself a commonwealth, a term deliberately chosen by John Adams when he drafted the state constitution in the fall of 1779.  The world's oldest functioning written constitution, Regan said, thus enshrined the idea that “we are all in this together.”

“We need to acknowledge economic inequalities and address them by creating real pathways for achieving economic security.  Failure will drive our public discussions and our politics down an ever more resentful and unconstructive path,” he said. 


 “We must have our gaze firmly fixed on the future. We need to advocate boldly for our members and for the importance of thriving businesses.”

 Regan offered several prescriptions to ensure that the interests of business and the larger society are aligned:

  • Massachusetts and the business community must set the standard for diversity and inclusion in all aspects of its operations, from talent acquisition and management to supply chain development and participation.
  • Business must lead the way in developing and keeping a highly qualified workforce. Regan’s speech featured a video highlighting two apprenticeships developed by Interstate Electrical Services of North Billerica.
  • Ensure that Massachusetts remains fertile ground for launching new businesses and growing existing ones.

“Economic growth and business ownership and success are the only effective methods of achieving the social equity necessary to a sustainable commonwealth,” Regan said.

In his first State of Massachusetts Business Address since taking over as CEO last year, Regan warned that as the nation embarks upon a presidential election year, the debate over the role of business has unmistakable political implications.  Where once those on both sides of the aisle could reach compromise on issues like tax rates, interest levels and government spending, the 2020 campaign has shifted largely to the margins on either side.  

The good news, according to Regan, is that AIM, the business community and the political establishment in Massachusetts enjoy a uniquely collaborative relationship that has allowed the commonwealth to find reasonable solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

He urged employers to involve themselves in key upcoming debates on issues such as transportation funding, climate change and health-care reform.

Regan’s remarks were followed by a discussion among business and economic leaders who were generally optimistic about prospects for the Massachusetts and US economies.

Sara Johnson, Executive Director of Global Economics for IHS Markit, predicted that global economic growth will remain steady at 2.5 percent during 2020. The US economy, she said, should feel the positive effects of the preliminary trade agreement signed recently between the US and Canada.

“I think the outlook for the US economy is favorable, but the global outlook is a mixed picture,” said Johnson, who serves as vice chair of the AIM Board of Economic Advisors.

Steve Grande, owner of Meridian Industrial Group in Holyoke, said manufacturing companies have the potential to once again anchor the economies of Gateway cities as long as business and government address issues such as transportation and boosting labor-force participation.

“I’m really encouraged by where Massachusetts economy and the national economy are,” Grande said

Emily Reichert, CEO of the clean technology incubator Greentown Labs in Somerville, said recent proposals by Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Senate to make the commonwealth net carbon neutral by 2050 will attract additional environmental start-ups.

“It tells entrepreneurs around the world that Massachusetts is a place where you can build a company to address one of the great challenges of our time,” Reichert said.

Panel members and moderator Donna Latson Gittens also discussed the opportunity to address some of the growth challenges in eastern Massachusetts by promoting economic expansion in the western portion of the state.

Topics: Massachusetts economy, AIM Executive Forum, John Regan

New Era Begins as Regan Becomes President of AIM

Posted by Christopher Geehern on May 20, 2019 10:28:04 AM

Regan.Annual.2019Editor's note: John R. Regan, who has directed AIM's government advocacy for the past 18 years, today becomes the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the largest business association in the commonwealth. Regan outlined a vision for the future of the organization during brief remarks to the AIM Annual Meeting Friday.

As the Roman philosopher Seneca observed “Omni fine initium novum” or, “Every new beginning comes from the end of another.”

As AIM prepares to write a new and exciting chapter in its distinguished history, I am reminded at every moment of the wisdom, generosity and quiet determination with which my predecessor Rick Lord has paved the road before me.

Rick never lost sight of where he came from and he never forgot that trust and respect are the ultimate currency of public policy and service.

Please join me - in again acknowledging Rick for all he has done for the Massachusetts economy.

Conscious of the fact that you have patiently listened to a full menu of speeches already, I would beg your indulgence to offer three brief observations.

First, to the members of AIM and especially to the Board of Directors, I gratefully accept your commission to lead this organization - supporting the dreams and aspirations of Massachusetts employers. We must keep as our guiding principal the fact that economic growth remains the only effective method of achieving the social equity that makes our commonwealth a great place to live and work.

Second, there has never been a more pressing need for businesses to work together with the sort of common purpose that drove 28 visionary companies to create Associated Industries of Massachusetts 104 years ago.

And third, meeting here in the Seaport district underscores the fact that we face an entirely new set of issues and challenges brought about by the breathtaking pace of change driving our economy.

The founders of AIM would no doubt be amazed to discover their association in 2019 wrestling with issues such as the rules governing ride-hailing apps, the appropriate use of drones, or how to integrate the autonomous vehicles driving around outside the building today.

You know, one can almost see the Seaport District from where I grew up in Dorchester. But in economic terms, it’s a different world and a different century being driven by a new generation of entrepreneurs.

AIM welcomes all employers and dedicates itself to serving the needs of the full range of Massachusetts companies working to provide the hope of a better life to our friends and neighbors.

We remain committed to the principals of diversity, equity and inclusion - on our board, on our staff, and throughout our membership. We assert unequivocally that AIM will be an association in the truest sense of the word, providing an opportunity for everyone – especially those who have historically been ignored – a full voice.

Everything we do at AIM is done to help businesses unlock their full potential. We fiercely advocate for positive public policy that helps to create a strong economy.

We empower businesses with the information, tools and resources needed to successfully navigate a fast-paced, complex business world. We foster connections, networks, and the flow of ideas between people and businesses.

We believe that business can be a positive force for change in helping to create a better, more prosperous society. And the best part is, we’re just getting started.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM Annual Meeting, John Regan

AIM Names John Regan New President and CEO

Posted by Christopher Geehern on May 9, 2019 12:12:47 PM

John R. Regan, a Boston native who has directed government affairs advocacy at Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) for the past 12 years, was selected today as the next President and Chief Executive Officer of the commonwealth’s largest business association.

Regan2019The AIM Board of Directors approved the selection of Regan during a special board meeting this morning. Regan succeeds AIM President and CEO Richard C. Lord, who is retiring after two decades leading the organization.

The appointment is effective May 20.

“The AIM board of directors conducted a comprehensive search to find just the right person to lead this dynamic organization into the future,” said Patricia Begrowicz, Chair of the AIM CEO Search Committee and President of Onyx Specialty Papers in South Lee.

“After engaging with an extraordinary and diverse group of more than 100 candidates and prospects, our committee recommended unanimously to the board that John Regan should be the next President of AIM.”

Regan, who joined the AIM Government Affairs Department in 2000 and was appointed Executive Vice President in 2007, said: “My goals are to ensure that AIM remains the pre-eminent voice for businesses on Beacon Hill, and to make Massachusetts an attractive state for employers of all kinds to succeed. I’m committed to ensuring that AIM represents, and advocates for, the full diversity of Massachusetts employers. I am deeply honored and grateful to the board of directors for their confidence in me and for all the time and effort they invested in this search process.”

At AIM, Regan’s focus has been administrative and legislative advocacy, regulatory affairs, litigation, and ballot initiatives. He has negotiated favorable outcomes for employers on major issues such as health-care reform, paid family and medical leave, use of non-compete agreements, pay equity, unemployment-insurance rate freezes, and the 2018 “Grand Bargain” compromise that avoided costly and contentious ballot questions concerning the minimum wage, sales tax, and paid leave.

Dan Kenary, Chair of the AIM board of directors said: “John emerged as the clear top choice to build on Rick Lord’s long legacy of success advancing the interests of employers and fostering economic growth and opportunity in the commonwealth. We’re excited to have John lead our organization.” Kenary is CEO and co-founder of Mass. Bay Brewing Company in Boston.

Regan has deep experience in both the private and public sectors. Prior to his tenure at AIM, he served as Chief Operations Officer for MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, overseeing real estate development and community revitalization projects including the transformation of the former Fort Devens. Before MassDevelopment, Regan was the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, leading the commonwealth’s business retention and recruitment efforts.  

Regan, a graduate of Boston Latin School, earned his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s Seminary College in Boston and a certificate in organizational management from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

About AIM

Founded in 1915, AIM engages in public policy advocacy for more than 3,500 Massachusetts employers who collectively employee 1 of every 5 residents of the commonwealth. AIM is dedicated to supporting pro-business legislation and policy on the full range of economic issues including the cost of health care and energy, compliance with employment laws, state and federal budget, taxes, financial issues, and workforce development.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, John Regan

Maintain Local Property Tax Exemption: File by April 1 Deadline

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Mar 19, 2014 4:08:00 PM

april 1 deadline for tax exemptionManufacturing or research and development companies entitled to local property-tax benefits must file the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status online with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) by April 1, 2014 to claim those benefits.

Click here for the DOR resource page for the April 1 filing deadline.

Corporations seeking to maintain (or acquire) favored property-tax status must file by the deadline to ensure that they appear on DOR’s Division of Local Services List of Corporations for 2014.  Cities and towns use “The List” to determine which corporations and entities treated as corporations are entitled to local property tax relief. The List also specifies for Massachusetts tax purposes, businesses that have been granted the “manufacturing corporation” classification.

Joseph X. Donovan, a tax lawyer at Sullivan and Worcester, says because of tax law changes in 2009, the Department of Revenue could no longer use filings with the Secretary of the Commonwealth to alert local officials about the tax status of a company.

“While the change to a new procedure was necessary, there is a real risk that companies —unaware of the new annual filing requirement to protect favored local property tax statuswill find themselves effectively declassified, with potentially very harsh consequences,” Donovan said.

“While they will be able to cure the declassification by challenging it in the Appellate Tax Board, that route can be quite costly. Moreover,  the resolution of any dispute before the Board can take a long time.   We should hope that taxpayers who find themselves before the Board in such circumstances will be permitted to quickly and informally resolve with opposing counsel the ‘foot fault’ of failure to file the form.”

The DOR publishes “The List” electronically on its Web site on or about April 1. Omission from the list or any particular classification may be appealed by the employer.

Here are some resources for employers:

If you have trouble with the registration process, or with accessing your account, please contact DOR Customer Service at 617-887-6367.  If you have questions about completing the Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status online application after reviewing the FAQs, please contact the Division of Local Services.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact Brad MacDougall, Vice President for Government Affairs or 617-262-1180.

Topics: A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Company, AIM Employer Issues Survey, Financial Services, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM Business Confidence Index, Massachusetts economy, Employment Law, Taxes, John Regan, Annual Certification of Entity Tax Status, Certification of Entity Tax Status, DOR, Department of Revenue, DOR List of Corporations

Massachusetts House Passes Balanced CORI Reform

Posted by Christopher Geehern on May 27, 2010 4:48:00 PM

AIM thanks the Massachusetts House of Representatives, who amended and passed a bill (H.4712) Wednesday evening on a 138-17 vote to reform the state's Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system to the benefit of both job applicants and employers.

The House CORI measure reduces the sealing time for felonies from 15 years to 10, and for misdemeanors from 10 years to five and preserves the current availability of records to the public and to law enforcement. It includes much-needed improvements in the operation of the CORI system to broaden access and improve accuracy and response times.

Significant for employers are provisions to protect them from liability when in compliance with the law and allowing for the continued use of aggregators (third-party CORI users). A "ban the box" provision preventing employers from asking about criminal records as part of the initial job application exempts employers who are statutorily prohibited from hiring ex-offenders, and allows inquiries later in the process for others.

"The legislation recently approved by the Senate (S.2220) and now the House achieves the goals of CORI reform - a more accurate and efficient system that enhances employment opportunities while maintaining appropriate protections for public and workplace safety," said John Regan, AIM's Executive Vice President for Government Affairs. "We commend the House for attending to and successfully balancing the very real concerns of all stakeholders, including the employer community.  AIM will continue to work with legislators in the House and Senate as the two proposals move towards a conference committee between the two chambers.

In particular, we thank Speaker Robert DeLeo, Representative Charles Murphy, Chairman of the House Ways & Means, Representative Eugene O'Flaherty, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and Minority Leader Bradley Jones for their contributions to reaching a satisfactory resolution to what has been a complex and contentious issue."

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Employment Law, CORI, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Labor, John Regan, Policy

AIM's Government Affairs Offers Opportunity to Engage on Issues

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Apr 28, 2010 11:54:00 AM

Yesterday, John Regan, AIM's Executive Vice President of Government Affairs hosted IssueConnect a monthly live webinar which updates members on economic trends in Massachusetts and provides an opportunity to engage on all the public policy issues that affect your bottom line - taxes, health care costs, and proposals to mandate seven sick days and other benefits.  Should you have any questions or feedback, please contact John Regan, AIM’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs or 617-262-1180.

Register here for the next IssueConnect webinar scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, 2010.  Join us to address the pressing issues of the employer community.

In addition to The Business Insider blog, connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Here are a few of the answers to questions posed by members during April's IssueConnect:

Does AIM support state legislation to allow municipal government to join the state healthcare plan known as the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) to relieve municipal budgets and reduce pressure on state aid?
AIM supports granting Massachusetts municipalities the ability to alter health care plan design, without having to bargain those changes with municipal unions.  Municipal health insurance costs have increased at double-digit rates annually since 2000 – more than five times the rate of inflation – growing from just 6 percent of municipal budgets in 2001 to a projected 20 percent by 2020, according to a Mass. Taxpayers Foundation analysis.

Two straightforward changes would provide large and immediate savings in health costs, dwarfing the savings from all other municipal relief proposals:

  • Give local officials the power to design their health insurance plans outside of collective bargaining.
  • Require by statute that all eligible local retirees enroll in Medicare as their primary source of health insurance coverage.

In both cases, these changes would merely provide municipal leaders with the same tools as the state to manage health insurance costs and bring the extraordinarily generous benefits of municipal employees – the last bastion of the $5 co-pay – in line with state employees.

Allowing municipalities to change their health benefits outside of collective bargaining – as has long been done by the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) – would save cities and towns roughly $100 million in the first year alone and as much as $2 billion annually by 2020.

What do you see as potential growth areas for jobs?
The largest growth in the next few years is likely to be in some of the more cyclical industries.  We’ll see gains in business/technical/professional services, especially at the higher end (most of the gains so far have been temp employment), and leisure/recreation (e.g., restaurants).  These should pick up as the economy begins to expand in earnest.

Among the industries specifically hit, some parts of construction (not office buildings), and also manufacturing, are likely to regain lost jobs.  There’s unlikely to be much growth in government jobs, and there could be further significant losses.

Health services will continue to be strong, education probably less so.

How does the national and state healthcare reform efforts impact job creation?
Healthcare costs are one of the top issues continually raised by employers and business leaders trying survive and grow their companies.  AIM’s board of directors decided that participating in reform and cost containment efforts provides employers the best opportunity to help solve the long-term health cost problem – which currently strains employer’s ability to create jobs.  AIM believes that sustainable job creation in the Commonwealth requires significant commitment by public policy decision makers and all stakeholders to address to cost of healthcare.

In early April, Rick Lord AIM’s President and CEO spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her staff at length about the decision by Massachusetts businesses in 2006 to work with government, health-care providers, insurers and consumer groups to develop a framework of shared responsibility to expand health insurance coverage.  Recently, Sandy Reynolds, AIM’s Executive Vice President commented about the impacts of the federal law on Massachusetts.

AIM offered comments on the ongoing state healthcare cost containment proposals to tackle health-care costs for small businesses; we made clear that any solution must involve both insurers and providers. AIM believes that the time is now for offering some relief and we cannot let the fact that the solutions are hard to implement or disruptive of the status quo be an excuse for not forging ahead to resolve the health care cost conundrum.  AIM recently commented on an initial public policy plan outlined by the Senate President and we are committed to work with the Administration and the members of the General Court as healthcare cost containment measure move through the legislative process.

Our opportunity to address the high cost of healthcare in the Commonwealth has arrived. We invite you to join us in that effort.

Has AIM taken a position on the Sales Tax Ballot question?
Not at this time.

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Employers, Massachusetts economy, Massachusetts employers, Human Resources, Richard Lord, Common Wealth 2010, John Regan, Policy

AIM Comments on Economic Development Plans

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Feb 9, 2010 9:41:00 AM

John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, offered comments yesterday on economic development plans announced by Senate President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick. The Senate proposal would streamline the complex system through which the commonwealth helps employers, while the governor's plan would freeze Unemployment Insurance rates and create a tax credit for small companies that hire and retain workers.

Regan made his comments to NECN Business Reporter Peter Howe.

Topics: AIM, Economic Development, John Regan

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