Policy & Advocacy
Advocating on Your Behalf
The Chamber has a pulse on what’s happening at City Hall, Beacon Hill, and Capitol Hill on behalf of your business. Advocacy efforts are ongoing at the Chamber as we work for business friendly policies that encourage economic development, provide a stellar workforce, and create a climate conducive to growth. We support businesses of all sizes, across all industries. And we recognize that the needs of these businesses vary. Whether it’s workforce development, tax competiveness, healthcare reform, or economic development, the Chamber is engaged at every step of the legislative process to ensure that your voice is heard.
We have our sights set on your bottom line and the Chamber of Commerce regularly takes on public policy initiatives that have an impact on businesses and the cost of doing business.
Some of the issues that the Chamber has worked on includes:
The City of Worcester’s Dual Tax Classification
Worcester’s dual tax rate results in businesses paying a disproportionate amount of the tax burden in the city. The Chamber has worked to decrease the disparity in property tax rates to create a business friendly climate that will lead to an increase in the number of businesses in the city and spread out the tax burden and decrease the liability for everyone.
Increased Water and Sewer Rates in the Worcester
The Chamber has advocated for lower water and sewer rates to reduce the financial hardship to both businesses and residents. The rate increase is largely due to federal EPA mandated upgrades required at the Upper Blackstone Water Treatment Facility. The Chamber helped to establish conversations between the City officials and the EPA with the goal of mitigating some of these increases.
Economic Development Incentives
The Chamber advocated for incentives that allowed two hotels to begin development in the city. A new hotel in CitySquare will bring an additional 250 hotels rooms into the City and another on Grove Street will add needed beds resulting in economic spin-off to restaurants and other retail establishments.
The Chamber worked with the city administration and state delegation to obtain funding in the form of a $5 million general bond bill and an additional $30 million. These dollars will be used for updates, renovations and expansion of the DCU Center and will help to attract more conventions to the City.
Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP)
The Chamber asked the Worcester City Council to adopt the state’s Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) to encourage private investment and rehabilitation of aged buildings. The HDIP offers tax incentives to developers who revitalize properties into market rate housing and a local-option tax credit, similar to a TIF, further encourages market rate development. Legislation was passed in July 2014 that allows developers to consider larger structures. DOWNLOAD HDIP ZONE MAP
Transformative Development Fund (TDF)
The Chamber pushed for the creation of the new Transformative Development Fund (TDF) to provide target, equity investment for transformative development projects. A list of redevelopment projects within Gateway Municipalities will include those sites with the greatest potential to provide economic and job growth and will be prioritized with regard to funding.
For more information on these issues or to bring an issue to the attention of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, contact: W. Stuart Loosemore, Esq., General Counsel and Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, 508.753.2924, ext. 222 firstname.lastname@example.org