The Springfield Regional Chamber supports businesses by diving deep into key issues and advocates on behalf of its members, so you can focus on doing business. As the only Chamber in the region with a history and commitment to legislative action and a registered lobbyist on staff, we serve as the voice for business and provide our members with a seat at the table and unparalleled leadership on issues that matter to you.
The Chamber’s Legislative Agenda is focused on ensuring that local, state, and federal legislation support a strong regional business climate and economic growth. We work to create legislation and policies that will support job creation, catalyze economic development, bolster our economic health, capitalize on the diversity of our workforce and our industries, protect the competitiveness of our region and the Commonwealth as a whole, and build a more prosperous future.
For the 2021 legislative session, our work will focus in four key priority areas:
Budget and Tax Policy
- Federal Stimulus: Advocate for the inclusion of fair and equitable stimulus funding to support our region’s cities and towns to supplement budgetary shortfalls resulting from the pandemic.
- State Budget: Support fiscally sound legislation and policy which rebuilds the Stabilization Fund, develops new revenue through sports wagering, identifies opportunities for revenue-enhancing measures, while opposing new broad-based taxes which would hinder the region’s economic recovery.
- Taxation: Monitor all proposed changes to tax policy and advocate for those that would enhance the region’s competitiveness, promote job creation and catalyze economic development.
- Local Aid: Advocate for fair and equitable funding for local aid.
- Fair Share Amendment: Oppose the proposal to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to add a surcharge on income over $1 million as it would significantly thwart the competitiveness of the region and the Commonwealth, irreparably harm small businesses and sets a bad precedent for tax-making policy through Constitutional amendment.
Workplace and Workforce
- COVID-19 Pandemic: Monitor pandemic-related legislation and advocate as appropriate to support our business community and ensure fair and equitable access to resources.
- Unemployment Insurance: Continue to advocate for a freeze in the unemployment insurance rates so as not to over burden the employer community and will encourage reforms to modernize the system.
- Paid Family Medical Leave: Monitor this issue and advocate as appropriate to ensure reasonable implementation for the business community.
- Workforce Talent. Support legislation and policy recommendations that promote inclusive skills development including career-technical initiatives and the expansion of apprenticeship programs and those will support innovative and labor-market aligned educational models such as dual enrollment and early college and those which target first generation college students and communities of color.
- Early Childhood Education: Advocate for legislation and policies which support and strengthen our regional economy, workforce, communities, and future with affordable, universally-accessible, stable, high-quality early childhood education for all families in our region.
- Independent Contractors: Encourage reforms to better reflect the current economy, encourage entrepreneurialism and incent business growth while promoting regional equity.
- Health Equity: Support legislation and policies which work to close the racial, ethnic and socio-economic health disparities in our region.
- Health Care Reform. Support the concepts of health care reform including: access to care, telehealth and the nurse licensing compact; pharmaceutical transparency, and health care cost control measures for all, and monitor all legislative proposals that may run counter to these concepts.
- Mandated Benefits. Continue to review areas for cost containment and oppose mandated and/or expanded benefits that are not evidence based and whose costs exceed their value.
- Provider Reimbursements. Advocate for appropriate commercial Medicare, Medicaid and Disproportionate Services Hospital payments so as not to penalize our regional health care providers or drive up costs to the commercial markets.
- Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Continue to follow legislative, regulatory and fiscal changes to the Act, as well as other proposals, and advocate at the state and/or federal level in order to avoid negative impacts to the health care system in Massachusetts.
Energy, Infrastructure and the Environment
- Energy: Advocate for a comprehensive energy strategy which maintains sufficient and equitable capacity and affordability for continued growth of the region’s business community, including maintaining a balanced energy portfolio, development of alternative renewal energy sources, ensuring a safe, reliable and adequate supply of natural gas, and continued conservation and energy efficiency measures.
- Infrastructure: Support legislation and policies that provide fair, equitable and responsible investments in the maintenance and development of infrastructure, such as energy, road and rail, real estate and housing, telecommunications and broadband, that preserve and strengthen the regional economy and its communities and catalyze economic development, with a focus on the unique challenges of the region’s Gateway Cities.
- Environment: Support responsible policies to protect our environment without adding unreasonable or inequitable cost burdens on the region's business community. Environmental protection and a sound business environment do not need to be mutually exclusive, with both resulting in new technological advances, manufacturing opportunities, job creation and efficiency, all the while preserving and protecting the environment.
Our Strategic Partners
We recognize that we are stronger together and have developed strategic partnerships across the Commonwealth and represent the region at all levels to bridge the gap between the west and the east.
Massachusetts Senate Revenue Working Group
Grand Bargain Negotiating Team
Legislative Steering Committee
Our Legislative Steering Committee is made up of Chamber members and is divided into four subcommittees that perform in-depth research and analysis to identify our priority areas and develop our annual plan of action.
Michael Knapik, Chair
Junior Achievement of Western Mass., Inc.
Springfield Regional Chamber
Employers Association of the Northeast
Michael Kane, Chair
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
Shriners Hospitals for Children
Comcast Cable Communications, LLC
J.M O'Brien & Company, P.C.
Health New England
Robinson Donovan, P.C.
American Energy Coalition
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts