We’re Number One!
You may have heard by now that Massachusetts has been ranked the number one state in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings are based on a number of categories and Massachusetts scored high on many, most notably health care, technology and education. In fact, we also learned yesterday that the state’s high school graduation rate reached an all-time high. Last year 87.5% of high school seniors graduated within 4 years. The good news doesn’t end there of course. We are still basking in the glow of another Super Bowl victory by the Patriots, the Red Sox are favorites to make the World Series this year, the Celtics are in first place and even the Bruins are enjoying a hot streak under their new coach. Life is so good we even have 70 degree days in February! Read more »
What Does the Governor’s $300 Million Employer Health Care Tax Mean to You?
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker filed his $40.5 billion FY18 state budget proposal and included what is described as a return of the former Fair Share Assessment on employers that was part of the old MA Health Care reform law. However, the Governor’s new version of this health care tax on employers is looking to be much worse than the old $295 per employee assessment. Under the original Fair Share regulation established in 2006, the assessment brought in $7.5 million – as it was not designed to be a revenue generator. The Baker proposal is the opposite, as it is clearly crafted to raise a significant amount of money - $300 million in taxes on employers, payable to the MA Department of Revenue. The new tax is said to be needed to help close a $600 million budget gap in the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth. Read more »
The Original Social Network
One of the things I enjoy about college football’s bowl week is that with so many games on, I rarely have to sit through a commercial. Instead, I just switch to the next game. However, one game this week had no other game to switch to, so I was forced to suffer the ads. One that caught my eye was for a website called Thumbtack. Thumbtack promises that “From house painting to personal training, we bring you the right pros for every project on your list.” You can add them to the unending list of websites and social media platforms that all try to do the same thing – connect you to someone with whom you can do business locally. What a novel idea! Read more »
Are You Finding the Right Talent?
Last summer the Chamber, along with several other employer organizations in Massachusetts, asked its members to participate in a survey on public education and workforce readiness that was a follow-up to a similar survey done in 2013. The results are in and have revealed a large majority of Massachusetts employers (75%) are having trouble finding people to fill open positions and new hires are often not prepared for the workplace. The survey was commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) with support from Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. Read more »
Annual Awards Nominations now Being Accepted
The Chamber's Annual Meeting is on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood. Now is the time to nominate a person or business who you feel deserves recognition for their contributions to the community and the Chamber. Awards are given in the following categories, with last year's winners noted: Read more »
Moderna Therapeutics Chooses Norwood for Expansion
Moderna Therapeutics Chooses Norwood for Expansion The Town of Norwood scored an economic development victory last week when its Town Meeting unanimously approved a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for Moderna Therapeutics. Moderna is a biopharma company headquartered in Cambridge that is “pioneering the development of a new class of drugs made of messenger RNA (mRNA). This novel drug platform builds on the discovery that modified mRNA can direct the body’s cellular machinery to produce nearly any protein of interest, from native proteins to antibodies and other entirely novel protein constructs that can have therapeutic activity inside and outside of cells.” Their cutting edge approach to generating transformative new medicines has attracted significant investments from other biotech giants like AstraZeneca, Vertex and Merck. Read more »
Chamber Opposes Question 4
Question #4 on the November, 2016 ballot seeks to allow the use, cultivation, possession and distribution of recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old. It will allow users up to have 10 ounces of pot in their home, or one ounce on their person. Marijuana could be purchased in buds, edibles, drinkables, oils and ointments, and allows six home-grown plants for anyone over the age of 21, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. The Ballot question also sets up a state marijuana control board and advisory committee to regulate the sales and growth of recreational cannabis. Read more »
Make hay while the sun shines… with the Chamber
The Massachusetts economy is the best in the nation, according to Governing magazine, a periodical for local government leaders. The magazine recently ranked Massachusetts’ economy as the strongest in the nation, based on six criteria: 1. State unemployment rate 2. One-year improvement in the state unemployment rate 3. Per capita state GDP in 2015 4. Percent change in real state GDP, 2014 to 2015 5. Percent change in personal income per capita 6. Year-to-date increase in jobs for 2016 Read more »
Running with Scissors
For many years, one of the more enjoyable services offered by the Chamber is Ribbon Cutting ceremonies. Whether a business has newly opened, completed a renovation or added additional space (or really any made up reason will do), the Chamber can be summoned to help commemorate the occasion with a Ribbon Cutting. We bring our big shiny (and sharp!) scissors and ribbon to the event. We invite Chamber members, board members and our Ambassadors as well as local officials from whatever community we happen to be in. The events are a fun way to celebrate a member’s success and an inexpensive opportunity to gain local exposure. Each business adds their own special touches to their Ribbon Cutting by including an open house, site tours, food and drink or even games and activities for families and children in some instances. The creative folks at Symphony of Light in Dedham even had the Dedham High School marching band last year! Read more »
Health Insurance Cooperative Get New Life
As usual the close of the state’s legislative session brought both good and bad news to local businesses. One very positive item for both small business and local chambers of commerce was the passage of a measure to keep the state’s innovative Small Business Health Insurance Cooperatives operating and serving employers of 50 and under. The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce offers discounted health insurance to its members as part of the statewide cooperative operated by the Massachusetts Association of Chambers of Commerce (MACCE), one of just three co-ops in the state. Read more »
Stay Informed with the HRLC
Paid family leave, minimum wage, independent contractor versus employee, exempt versus non-exempt employees, Affordable Care Act, and on and on. If your head is spinning from all of the employee-related issues your business faces, then you should become familiar with the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Human Resources Leadership Council (HRLC). The HRLC is a group of Chamber members with a wide range of Human Resources expertise that they make available to other members of the Chamber. Let’s face it, most of us simply do not have the time or the inclination to stay current on the ever-changing rules relating to employment issues. However, the penalties that come with being non-compliant on these rules can be stiff and cripple a small business. And ignorance of the regulations is no defense. So it becomes critical for business owners to make sure that they and/or their HR staff are vigilant about remaining up to date on the latest rules and regulations handed to us by state and federal entities. Read more »
NEPONSET VALLEY CHAMBER JOINS CHAMBER SOLAR CHALLENGE
Challenge Helps Massachusetts Businesses Save on Energy and Boost Economic Development More than a dozen Chambers across the Commonwealth, including the Neponset Valley Chamber, are participating in the Chamber Solar Challenge to help local businesses save on energy costs and encourage economic development through solar energy. “The Chamber Solar Challenge provides a great opportunity to help our members cut costs and take advantage of the growing economic opportunities of solar energy,” said Chris Cooney, CCE, President and CEO of Metro South Chamber and Chair of the Chamber Solar Challenge, which was launched in April at the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives meeting. Read more »
Community Service, Not Lip Service
You may have seen an ad in one or more of our local papers recently with the tag line, Community Service, Not Lip Service. It featured four local banks and the Chamber. The Bank of Canton, Blue Hills Bank, Dedham Savings and Norwood Bank are all long-time members of the Chamber. They are also among our largest financial supporters. Their support does not end with the Chamber however. As community banks, their support is enjoyed by many other non-profit community groups involved in the arts, youth sports, culture, historic preservation and much more. Read more »
Going By the Numbers
A few random thoughts while watching the snow melt, because I refuse to shovel snow in April… 6 million steps! That’s how many steps were recorded by those participating in the Chamber’s Health and Wellness Alliance “Steps to Wellness” challenge after just three days. The competition, which kicked off on April 1st is designed to create a fun incentive for people to get up and walk, or run, or do anything to become more active. During the planning of the challenge, our expectation was that we would have between 50 and 100 participants. In fact, we have more than 300. Congratulations to those who have taken the challenge. We will be monitoring the results throughout April. The challenge ends May 1st and winners will be recognized at a Lunch and Learn seminar on May 18th at the Bank of Canton. Read more »
It’s All About the Synergy
Getting to know new and prospective members of the Chamber is always fun for me, and I was particularly pleased to have several at my table at the Feb. 9 Noon Networking. As we got acquainted and told our stories at Bonefish Grill, it became apparent that there was unusual synergy in our group. Read more »
- We’re Number One!
- What Does the Governor’s $300 Million Employer Health Care Tax Mean to You?
- The Original Social Network
- Are You Finding the Right Talent?
- Annual Awards Nominations now Being Accepted
- Moderna Therapeutics Chooses Norwood for Expansion
- Chamber Opposes Question 4
- Make hay while the sun shines… with the Chamber
- Running with Scissors
- Health Insurance Cooperative Get New Life
- Stay Informed with the HRLC
- NEPONSET VALLEY CHAMBER JOINS CHAMBER SOLAR CHALLENGE
- Community Service, Not Lip Service
- Going By the Numbers
- It’s All About the Synergy