A Step-By-Step Solution to Massachusetts’ Persistent Jobs Crisis

Mike Hruby, New Jobs for Massachusetts, Boxborough, MA

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Since 1990 Massachusetts’ population has grown by 10.5%, but during the same period the number of jobs in the Commonwealth has grown by only 6.9%. Though this disparity is not necessarily reflected in the state’s unemployment rate, which remains below the national one, it does mean that nearly one million people are underemployed, working part-time, or in full-time jobs one or more degrees below their education achievement levels.

New Jobs for Massachusetts spent three years asking the Commonwealth’s business owners and sole proprietors what they needed to create new jobs and, among the numerous responses it received, two barriers stood out as impeding creation of the most new jobs, being fairly simple to fix, and having little to no impact on state revenue. The first is Massachusetts’ Independent Contractor Law (MICL), an opaque piece of legislation that requires service entrepreneurs meet three tests before they can be legally considered an independent contractor. The second is the state’s tax on business inventories, which significantly impacts job creation in sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. The MICL can be eliminated by amending Massachusetts’ current Wage Act and the business inventory tax eliminated by amending the chapter of state law that provides for exclusions from the personal property tax. New Jobs for Massachusetts calculates that doing so would help create up to 100,000 new jobs.

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