”For the past six years, Governor Patrick has demonstrated his commitment to supporting small businesses and creating jobs for our residents,” said Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry of Governor Deval Patrick’s announcement regarding major changes to employer fees. “These initiatives are just one more example of positive changes he has made, in partnership with the legislature, to ensure Massachusetts remains a top place to do business.”

“The overwhelming cost of healthcare, especially the Fair Share Contribution, was the number one issue we learned about on my Committee’s Statewide Small Business Listening Tour,” continued Forry.  “I am thrilled to have worked with our state leaders to ease the burden on employers.”

Last July, the Legislature passed a healthcare reform bill tackling a broad range of issues including physical and mental health as well as the importance of preventative care. Importantly, the legislation incorporated a key amendment for small businesses filed by Rep. Forry.  The language excluded employees who already have healthcare coverage through another means such as a spouse or parent from the calculation determining the Fair Share Contribution (a fine on employers for failing to provide insurance to a significant percentage of their employees).

“The Governor’s new plan will further protect employers from several unnecessary and over-burdensome regulations that are currently choking their growth,” said Rep. Forry.

Victory for small businesses yesterday! Governor Patrick reaches an agreement with Amazon.   This is an important step for our state’s economy and most importantly, our small businesses.

According to a recent report by the Massachusetts Main Streets Fairness Coalition, out of $6B spent by Massachusetts consumers in online purchases, this sales-tax loophole cost 1,970 new jobs, $280 million in sales to local businesses, and $387 million in state tax revenue.

The work is just beginning. Now we must continue our efforts with Congress to enact the Main Streets Fairness act on the federal level, and ensure all small businesses have a fair playing field.

This was a big year for the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business! Key legislative accomplishments included updates to the Community Preservation Act (CPA), adjustments to the “fair-share” health care contribution rate for small businesses, the passage of the Community Development Partnership Act tax credit program, and the creation of an official “one-stop shop” web portal for Massachusetts entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking information on state resources. For more information, check out the Joint Committee’s 2011-2012 End of Session Report at the following link: https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/CDSB%202011-2012%20End%20of%20Session%20Report.pdf?w=483a17bb

BOSTON- Today, State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, congratulated Governor Deval Patrick on signing into law H. 4352, An Act relative to infrastructure investment, enhanced competitiveness and economic growth in the Commonwealth. The legislation, based on an economic development bill approved by the House of Representatives in May of 2012, retains a number of key provisions crafted by Rep. Forry intended to spur local development and provide information on business counseling and technical assistance programs available to Massachusetts entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“I thank Governor Patrick for signing this critical legislation into law,” said Rep. Forry.  “The bill provides tailored solutions to the most pressing development needs of our local communities, while also raising awareness of the tremendous wealth of public resources available to our state’s nearly 580,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners, through the creation of an official state web portal listing this information.”  Rep. Forry continued, “I thank the Governor, Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Wagner, and my co-chair, Senator DiDomenico for their support of these key provisions and look forward to working with them to quickly implement the new law.

The provisions authored by Rep. Forry that were incorporated into the bill signed into law by the Governor today, include:

  • Community Development Partnership Tax Credit Program (CDPA):  The bill establishes a tax credit program to help Community Development Corporations (CDCs) leverage private funds and invest in long-term strategic planning initiatives aimed at improving neighborhoods.  The provisions are drawn from H. 3707, An Act to create the community development partnership program, filed by Rep. Forry along with her Senate Co-Chair, Senator Sal DiDomenico in early 2011.  The establishment of the program was consistently cited as a top priority by the state’s network of CDCs during the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business’s 2011 Statewide Community Development Listening Tour. 
  • One-Stop-Shop Small Business Resource Web Portal: The law also creates a comprehensive web portal to act as an official “one-stop shop” for Massachusetts entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking business counseling services or technical assistance.  Despite the wealth of services available through the government and private sector partners, the state does not maintain a complete listing of these resources.  To address this issue, the bill charges the Massachusetts Office of Business Development with the task of developing such a website in collaboration with the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and other relevant state agencies.
  • Improving Access to and Responsiveness of State Small Business Loan Review Boards: Finally, the law improves the accessibility and responsiveness of the state’s small business loan review boards.  Currently, the state has 4 regional loan review boards overseen by the Division of Banks that are charged with assessing complaints regarding loan denials submitted by small business applicants.  With limited legislative direction, the review boards meet infrequently and have no legal requirement to report their findings either to the small businesses in question, or to state officials.  The law help’s to make the boards a more useful resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses by reforming their reporting procedures.

In addition to these critical components, the law includes a number of other provisions intended to facilitate economic development and improve the state’s business climate.  For example, the legislation creates a Talent Pipeline Program to help match qualified job seekers with industry specific employment opportunities, establishes a Massachusetts Creative Economy Network to facilitate business creation in artistic or non-traditional industries, formally establishes a Regulatory Ombudsman position within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to address regulatory issues affecting small business, and designates August 11-12, 2012 as a state Sales Tax Holiday.