Government Affair Update

Government Affairs Update

While the legislative session has wound down, election season is in full swing, and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber continues to remain engaged on both fronts. Earlier this Summer, the Chamber partnered with a number of community partners and local media outlets as part of the Elect North Central Coalition for a series of forums with the state’s gubernatorial candidates. The forums with the candidates that chose to participate can be viewed online. The Chamber also continues to interview candidates running for statewide seats as part of the Inside North Central Massachusetts Podcast: Election Series which can be streamed on the Chamber’s website as well as Apple and Spotify.

The Chamber is in the process of reaching out to our elected officials as well as candidates that will appear on the ballot in our local and statewide races for our Annual Legislative and Candidates Reception. The Legislative and Candidates Reception is one of the most exciting events of the year, providing members of the business community the opportunity to engage the region’s elected officials and those looking to hold office. This year’s event, sponsored by Mount Wachusett Community College, will be held at the Chocksett Inn in Sterling on Thursday September 22 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

At the end of July, Governor Charlie Baker signed his eighth and final budget as Governor to the tune of $52.7 billion, a 10.7 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. The State’s budget for the new fiscal year saw crucial funding to a number of priority areas including local aid, K-12 education, career pathway programs and other workforce development programs as well as economic development initiatives which will benefit the region.

Although formal sessions have wrapped up, the Chamber continues to monitor Beacon Hill as they continue their final push on a number of pieces of legislation. In the middle of August, Governor Charlie Baker signed off on a new climate bill that will boost offshore wind and solar despite his voiced concerns over a provision allowing a group of ten cities and towns to ban the use of fossil fuels in new construction and major renovations. The Chamber will continue to monitor this development and its potential impact on the North Central Massachusetts business community. Earlier in the same week, Governor Baker signed off on a bill legalizing sports betting, setting Massachusetts up to better compete with neighboring states who have already been capitalizing on the industry. We are also closely monitoring the proposed economic development bill which, as of this writing, has yet to make it across the finish line. We continued to advocate for the region as the House and Senate put together their priorities for that bill. At the end of July, state budget officials announced a preliminary surplus of $1.9 billion following the approximately $3 billion in tax refunds to Commonwealth taxpayers. Despite ongoing talks of tax relief for Commonwealth residents, nothing has been set in stone yet.

Down in Washington D.C. the House came together to approve what has been come to be known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, sending the bill to the President’s desk. Major components of the bill fit the President’s build back better pledges that he campaigned on during the 2020 election. The bill includes $370 billion in climate investment, proposes changes aimed at saving consumers money on prescription drugs, and according to the administrations, it also upholds President Biden’s commitment to ensure families earning less than $400,000 per year do not see any tax increase. The bill contains a major provision imposing a 15% Corporate Minimum Tax, additionally it would impose a 15% domestic tax on the approximately 200 largest corporations that currently pay less than that corporate tax rate.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Travis Condon, the Chamber’s public affairs manager, at 978.353.7600, ext. 224; or via email at

Pictured is Senate Clerk Michael Hurley carrying the clean energy bill and its amendments during the final hours of the legislature’s formal 2022 session. Photo courtesy of the State House News Service.