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Public Policy & Legislative Advocacy

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.

Legislative Advocacy

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 2022 legislative session, our work will focus in four key priority areas:

Budget & Tax Policy

Spending: Advocate for new spending initiatives which support an equitable and effective regional recovery, position our region for long-term economic prosperity and invest in a way that is deliberate, sustainable, evidence-based, expands upon existing programs with a track record of success, and balances our immediate needs with those that jumpstart the economy while providing for transformational change.

Revenues: Support fiscally sound legislation and policy which maintains a level in the Stabilization Fund to support 10% of the state’s total spending; develops new revenue sources which catalyze job creation such as sports wagering; seeks to enhance current revenues and provides fair and equitable for local aid.

Taxation: Support proposed changes to tax policy which enhance the region’s competitiveness such as estate tax reform and re-implementation of the charitable tax deduction, promote job creation and catalyze economic development, and oppose new broad-based taxes which would hinder recovery.

Fair Share Amendment: Oppose the ballot initiative to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to add an additional tax on incomes as it would irreparably harm small businesses, significantly thwart the competitiveness of the region and sets a bad precedent for tax-making policy through constitutional amendment.

 

HealthCare

Health Equity: The Chamber will support legislation and policies which work to close the racial, ethnic and socio-economic health disparities in our region.

Health Care Reform. The Chamber supports the concepts of health care reform including means to address workforce challenges such as licensing compacts and regulatory changes; access to care both medical and behavioral; telehealth; pharmaceutical transparency, and health care cost control measures. The Chamber will monitor all legislative proposals that may run counter to these concepts.

Health Care Costs. The Chamber will 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. The Chamber will 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 Oversight. The Chamber will continue to follow legislative, regulatory and fiscal changes to health care, including the Affordable Care 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.

 

Workplace and Workforce

Workforce Talent. The Chamber will 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 and pathways, such as dual enrollment and early college and those which target first generation college students and communities of color.

Early Childhood Education and Care: The Chamber will 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.

COVID-19 Pandemic: The Chamber will monitor pandemic-related legislation and state and federal stimulus funding and advocate as appropriate to support our business community and ensure fair and equitable access to resources.

Unemployment Insurance: The Chamber will advocate for a transformation and modernization of the system which does not over burden the employer community.

Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship: The Chamber will support laws and regulations that allow flexibility for individuals and employers to create opportunity in the new economy and which support maintaining the competitiveness of our region and the state as a whole.

 

Energy, Infrastructure and Environment

Energy: Advocate for a comprehensive energy strategy which maintains sufficient, equitable and affordable capacity 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.

The Springfield Regional Chamber is one of the founding members of Western Mass. Businesses Against Human Trafficking, an organization committed to training and awareness of the risks of human trafficking to businesses. Other members include:

MGM Springfield

ERC 5 – Five Town Chamber of Commerce

Sheraton Springfield

Hampton Inn

Red Roof Inn

Springfield Redevelopment Authority

United Way

Hilton Garden Inn

Peter Pan Bus Lines

Baystate Health

Square One

Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

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
Baystate Health

Allison Ebner, 
Vice Chair
Employers Association of the NorthEast
Workplace & Workforce Subcommittee Chair

Thomas Creed
TD Bank
Energy, Infrastructure & the
Environment Subcommittee Chair

Dominick Ianno
MassMutual
Budget & Tax Policy Subcommittee Chair

Daniel Keenan
Mercy Medical Center
Healthcare Subcommittee Chair

Jennifer Connolly
Junior Achievement of Western Mass., Inc.

Taryn Duffy
MGM-Springfield

Joseph Lawler
USI-Springfield

Eileen Leahy
Comcast

Frances Marthone
Shriners Children’s New England

Nancy Mirkin
Polish National Credit Union

Joseph Mitchell
Eversource

Jennifer Murphy
Appleton Corporation

Roberto Nieves
Common Capital

John O’Brien
J.M. O’Brien & Company, P.C.

Susan O’Connor
Health New England

Steve Parastatidis
PeoplesBank

Aaron Saunders
Benchmark Strategies

Brooke Thomson
Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Tom Tubman
American Energy Coalition

Robert Ziomek
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Questions About Specific Legislation?

Is there a bill being considered that may affect your business? Are you looking for information on a particular issue?

Email us (membership@springfieldregionalchamber.com) or call 413.455.1310 to see what we can do for you.