Chamber News

Stimulus Spending gets Scrutiny from Lawmakers

Eagle Tribune – The state has seen a windfall of pandemic relief funds, with billions of dollars more on the way from Washington, but lawmakers say they’re cut out of decisions on how the money gets spent. On Thursday, members of the House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight grilled Finance Secretary Mike Heffernan over…

Working Mothers Derailed by Pandemic Face a Tough Road

Wall Street Journal – Before the Covid pandemic erupted, Brooks McCoy made $103,000 a year as a regional director for a commercial cleaning franchise in North Carolina. After being laid off last March, the mother of two resorted to selling Pampered Chef cookware to friends of friends. In August, after months of looking, she found a full-time job…

Lawmakers Seek to Boost Post-Pandemic Public Education Funding

MassLive – The Massachusetts Legislature’s top budget writers have reached an agreement on school funding, proposing allocating more money than what Gov. Charlie Baker included in his fiscal 2022 budget plan. The House and Senate Ways and Means committees propose a $219.6 million increase in Chapter 70 funds from fiscal 2021, bringing the total amount to…

Democrats Insist on Keeping Municipal Workers in COVID Leave Program

MassLive – Putting them at odds with Gov. Charlie Baker and a municipal trade group, House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka intend to preserve eligibility for municipal employees in an emergency COVID-19 sick leave program that the Legislature is working to finalize and return to the governor’s desk. Baker has proposed several amendments…

Massachusetts Employers Still Face Unemployment Tax Increases

MassLive – When the state Department of Unemployment first updated its employer contribution rates for 2021, Suzanne Murphy thought she spotted a mistake. The solvency fund assessment, one of several factors used to calculate a business owner’s unemployment insurance contribution rate, jumped from 0.58% to 9.23% for 2021. For Murphy, CEO of Unemployment Tax Control Associates…

FEMA Offers to Reimburse Families for COVID-19 Funeral Costs

WWLP – The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA is now offering reimbursement for funeral costs due to COVID-19. Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is encouraging those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 to visit his official website for information on applying for assistance with funeral costs. “So many people have lost loved ones to this…

Cape Cod Commission introduces COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Toolkits for Cape Cod’s local businesses

Industry-specific strategies for addressing current challenges and planning for business continuity The Cape Cod Commission is pleased to present the second round of its COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Workshop Series, an initiative designed to support business owners who are navigating the economic impacts of the pandemic and planning for future resiliency. This round of virtual…

Baker Advocates Post-Pandemic Housing and Infrastructure Push

WGBH – With an end to the pandemic in sight, Gov. Charlie Baker has his eyes on shoring up the state’s housing stock and infrastructure for the post-pandemic world. Baker said the most recent round of federal funding in the American Rescue Plan Act included about $475 million dollars for rental assistance in Massachusetts, which will…

Health-Care Providers Can Now be Paid More Than $45 per COVID-19 Shot

Boston Globe – After garnering national attention for its decision to pay unusually high rates to health care providers for administering COVID vaccines, Massachusetts is no longer an outlier. Governor Charlie Baker’s administration in January decided to reimburse providers about $90 for each two-dose vaccination they gave to people covered by MassHealth, the state Medicaid program for low-income…

Rescue Act Steers Nearly $400 Million to Massachusetts Counties

State House News – County commissioners in parts of Massachusetts where they still exist are used to managing relatively modest budgets, using funds collected through local taxes and fees to maintain courthouses, support regional schools or to manage pensions for employees. But with $1.3 billion earmarked in the federal stimulus law for counties around the state,…
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