The alarm has been sounded.
“Massachusetts,” says a recent report from Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, “is facing a perfect storm of circumstances which, if not addressed, threaten to undermine the state’s historic advantage in attracting and retaining both businesses and talent, and could ultimately jeopardize our economic edge over other states.”
HEEDING THE WARNING SIGNS: What Massachusetts must do to remain competitive, urges the state’s next Governor and Legislature to “heed the warnings” and take action to improve childcare and other worker- and business-friendly initiatives.
What’s changing? Cost of living expenses, the cost of doing business, and remote work
Massachusetts is still an attractive place to live, but rent and home prices are high, as are business expenses.
Many businesses and workers can also now function remotely, leading to a “mass migration”: in 2021, 46, 178 residents moved out of the state while the five other New England states gained 39,694 people.
"People are moving in droves to lower cost jurisdictions." Eileen McAnneny, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told WBUR.org. "We may have to do more to proactively recruit and retain talent than we've had to in the recent past."
State and local business leaders call for affordable childcare and other business- and worker-friendly policies
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and Worcester-area businesses want the state to reduce childcare costs.
“Increased childcare funding would have a twofold benefit to the Commonwealth,” says Timothy Murray, President and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest Chamber in New England with approximately 2,300 members representing nearly 40 communities in Central Mass. “First, quality childcare programming has positive long-term outcomes for participating children, which is beneficial to the state’s economy and competitiveness. Secondly, it gives parents, predominantly women, the option to reenter the workforce at a time where Massachusetts employers are in desperate need of employees.”
HEEDING THE WARNING SIGNS: What Massachusetts must do to remain competitive notes that Massachusetts has the highest average annual cost for infant care in the country, at more than $20,000 – about the price of tuition at a state college. For 4-year-olds, childcare is priced at more than $15,000.
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation wants state leaders to lower childcare and housing costs as well as business expenses such as electricity and unemployment insurance.
“Accessible and affordable child care is essential to the size and composition of the state’s workforce,” the report states. “It enables parents to work and businesses to thrive, creating financial security and economic opportunity for families and children. However, the U.S. child care system has long struggled to meet these needs, leaving many families without the care they need to participate fully in the nation’s economy.”
You can help! Vote for early education and care this November
Our community is counting on you! Make sure to vote on November 8th. When you do, cast your ballot in favor of early education and care.
Find out how. Check out Edward Street’s 2022 Election Guide.
Edward Street is proud to support high-quality early learning and care. Donate today so children, families, and businesses can thrive, and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.