BOSTON, Mass. (SHNS)–The first-ever state budget season for Gov. Maura Healey will feature a pair of addresses before audiences eager for her and the Legislature to enact long-sought tax reform.
Healey will be the headlining guest at two regional business group events early next month, starting with her first speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on March 2 and followed by a visit to the Springfield Regional Chamber on March 10.
The Greater Boston Chamber event announced Tuesday will take place the morning after the March 1 due date for Healey’s fiscal year 2024 state budget proposal, a key deadline that will kick off months of deliberations on Beacon Hill and provide an early indication of what kind of policy approach the Democrat will take.
And it’s not just the state spending bill that will be fresh in business leaders’ minds: Healey has also said she plans to file a “tax package” alongside the budget. While she has not yet detailed what will be in that proposal, Healey described it as “a tax package directed at making life more affordable for folks” and touted the topic as “really important for our competitiveness.”
A bit more than a week after her Boston Chamber speech, Healey will deliver the keynote address at the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Outlook 2023 event, which organizers say will convene local, state and federal policymakers and industry leaders to forecast lawmaking action and the state’s economic trajectory.
The Springfield Chamber will roll out its 2023 legislative agenda at the Outlook event, which is the first held in-person since 2020.
“This agenda outlines the Chamber’s advocacy priorities to strengthen business competitiveness, lower business costs, and build a prosperous future for Greater Springfield,” Springfield Regional Chamber President Diana Szynal said in a statement. “We want to thank Governor Healey for her participation in this event, along with our generous sponsors who are committed to seeing our community flourish and grow.”
Last year, the western Massachusetts business group largely endorsed Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed tax reforms, particularly his push to reform the estate tax. Healey on the campaign trail also said she supported most of Baker’s ideas, but she has not made clear if she will revive them in her own package.
Business leaders have been ramping up their warnings about long-term threats to the state’s competitiveness, calling for action from Beacon Hill to address rampant housing prices, make child care more accessible and lower tax burdens.
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President and CEO James Rooney said last month that other cities and states are “working harder and with greater focus than we are” to attract and retain workers and support business growth.
He said tax issues are top of mind for his group, particularly with a new surtax now in place on personal income above $1 million, and called for excess state tax revenues to be redeployed toward fixing the Bay State’s “outlier” status on some tax policies and to stimulate new economic activity.
The buildup to Healey’s budget-and-business agenda next week will likely be quiet: with Beacon Hill mostly dark for school vacation week, Healey went to Florida on Sunday for a family trip and plans to return Thursday night.