On Job Growth and the Economy: Comparing the Candidates for Governor

Share, with attribution, and amplify progressives' voices, questions and priorities during the 2014 campaigns. 
SOURCE CITE: progressivemass.com/2014statewide
Feb. 2014. 


JOB GROWTH & THE ECONOMY

[from Section A of our questionnaire] The Massachusetts economy has continued to grow and recover from the Great Recession, but the gains have not been shared equally. Poverty levels continue to increase, while the minimum wage loses value every year. Massachusetts now ranks 8th in the nation for income inequality. 

* STATEMENT OF VALUES AND RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

* POLICIES AND PROPOSALS

* PDF VERSION: JOB GROWTH AND THE ECONOMY EXCERPT

Candidates' original responses are here: progressivemass.com/2014govmain. 


BROWSE MORE OF THE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES' QUESTIONNAIRE: 


STATEMENT AND EXPERIENCE

[Question A1/A2] Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy. POSSIBLE TOPICS: How can we improve the economy and economic security for all people? How do we grow the number of good paying jobs in the Commonwealth? How do you view wealth and income inequality, and what would you do about it, if anything?

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DON BERWICK

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy. .

Any candidate who claims to have a single fix for our economy isn’t being honest. There is no simple solution. We need a systemic approach toward job creation, including an education system that prepares graduates for the jobs of the 21st century, a robust transportation system, and a health care system that is sustainable. I believe that the best way to create jobs is to develop and nurture communities where people want to be, where they want to live, work, and grow a business.

I understand that for many Massachusetts families, economic security is simply not attainable in current conditions. I will work with the Legislature to ensure Massachusetts workers have the right to a livable wage and access to paid sick time.

Those steps will help address economic security, but will do very little to address the underlying problem of economic inequality. That’s why I will work with the Legislature toward an income tax system in which people with higher incomes pay higher rates, and people with lower incomes pay lower rates. We also need to hit the reset button on loopholes and exemptions. I will order a comprehensive and transparent review of all tax breaks – if an exemption helps to create jobs or strengthen the safety net, I will support it; if not, I will work to end it. There is no place for tax breaks that benefit only the wealthy and well connected.

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Berwick: Related experience/record on job creation

As a pediatrician with the Harvard Community Health Plan, I spent years serving kids and families from some of Boston’s most underserved communities. That experience and the belief that strong, healthy communities are key to social and economic success helped shape the trajectory of my career. To that end, I led projects in all 50 states and around the world to strengthen communities. I have also led by example, initiating and growing over two decades a non-profit organization with a global mission, employing over 125 individuals and engaging hundreds of experts on improvement throughout the world.

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MARTHA COAKLEY

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

Rising income inequality is one of the greatest challenges facing our Commonwealth today. Inequality robs people of hope, for themselves and their children, and deprives too many of the opportunity to build a better life. And it’s not just the gap that exists today, it’s that it has been getting progressively worse; in the last 30 years, those at the top in Massachusetts have seen their incomes grow more than 100%, while those at the bottom have seen no growth whatsoever.

Addressing the growing problem of inequality begins with raising the minimum wage for every worker in Massachusetts. Currently, we are asking full-time, minimum wage workers to survive on less than $17,000 per year; that is wrong. We need to raise the minimum wage, on its own, and we need to do it now. It also means providing earned sick time so that workers don’t lose their jobs or critical wages because they are ill or have to take care of a sick family member.

In the longer term, ensuring broad-based economic prosperity in Massachusetts means creating good jobs and giving workers and young people the skills to fill not only new jobs, but also the thousands of jobs currently going unfilled in Massachusetts. This starts with making our business environment more competitive, including reducing high health care and energy costs, in order to attract and retain good jobs in the Commonwealth. It also means doing a better job aligning curricula our K-12 system, voc. tech. schools, community colleges, and colleges and universities with workforce needs to give workers a clear path into the middle class.

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Coakley: Related experience/record on job creation

As Attorney General, I have worked to ensure every worker gets a fair wage for a day’s work by enforcing our wage and hour laws. Overall, our office has recovered more than $30 million back for workers in wages they were rightfully owed.

I also worked to level the playing field for businesses by creating the first division in the Attorney General’s Office specifically designated to support the needs of the business community and help them navigate the regulatory landscape, an effort that has empowered businesses to grow and create thousands of good jobs.

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STEVE GROSSMAN

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

I believe rampant income and economic inequality is the most serious challenge we face as a Commonwealth. Unless we deal decisively with this inequality, the American Dream will remain out of reach for too many citizens who feel left out and left behind. The gap between our educational attainment and our economic growth is tangible, and it’s hurting our people and our economy. Families continue to struggle in search of economic opportunity and economic mobility.

First, increasing the minimum wage for the working poor, who haven’t seen a pay increase since 2008, will invest in our people, boost family spending, and spur job creation. Second, we need to create 50,000 new precision and advanced manufacturing jobs over the next five years, mostly in our older, industrial cities by investing in our vocational-technical schools, surveying employer needs, and training our workers. Third, we need to invest in our children by launching a universal pre-kindergarten program for every four-year-old in Massachusetts, providing all students, no matter where they live and how much money they have, a fair shot at reading by the third grade. Fourth, we need to thoroughly explore the option of facilitating public-private partnerships by incentivizing developers to sell or lease public land virtually for free, provided they guarantee to build affordable housing for low and middle-income families.

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Grossman: Related experience/record on job creation

I have a proven track record as a progressive job creator. I spent more than 35 years as CEO of Grossman Marketing Group, a union shop for 62 years, creating jobs and economic opportunity for my colleagues. We paid our workers 30 percent higher than competing companies and provided earned sick time for more than 25 years, while simultaneously growing the business eight-fold. I was also proud to be the first business owner in Massachusetts to testify in favor of earned sick time in 2006. Treating your colleagues with dignity and respect is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good business.

To increase access to capital for small businesses, I also launched the Small Business Banking Partnership, which has moved more than $350 million of our reserve deposits back from banks in Europe, Australia, and Asia and into 53 Massachusetts community banks. Those banks have in turn made nearly 7,000 loans, many in our gateway communities, with a value of more than $1 billion. To level the playing field, a principal focus of the program is to generate loans to businesses owned by women, minorities, immigrants, and veterans to create jobs in every region of Massachusetts.

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JULIETTE KAYYEM

Share your personal values and principles on job growth and the economy.

We must expand opportunity through job growth today and in the future. We need to focus on jobs that stay and grow here, as well as jobs that we can lure here. We have the capacity to bring sustainable and vibrant jobs to this state and to prepare our workforce for them. We can see this in examples through jobs in the clean tech industry, which is on an upward trend, which are jobs that employ skilled labor, such as solar panel installers. We must invest in this and other industries in innovative ways, such as motivating private investment through Green Banks.

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Policy Proposals

Minimum Wage

[Question A3] Do you support:

Raising the minimum wage to at least $10.50/hour:
  • SUPPORTS: Berwick, Coakley, Grossman, Kayyem
Indexing automatic yearly increases to inflation:
  • SUPPORTS: Berwick, Coakley, Grossman, Kayyem
Increasing tipped wages to 60% of the minimum wage:             
  • SUPPORTS: Berwick, Coakley, Grossman, Kayyem

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Unemployment Insurance and Minimum Wage

[Question A4.] As of January 2014, the legislature is negotiating a bill that would pair an increase in the minimum wage with cuts to unemployment insurance. Do you oppose this effort?

  • OPPOSES LINKING: Berwick, Coakley, Grossman, Kayyem

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Earned sick time

[Question A5.] Do you support requiring businesses with more than 11 employees to provide earned, paid sick time to their employees?

  • SUPPORTS: Berwick, Coakley, Grossman, Kayyem

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Job Creation and Standards for Living Wage

[Question A6.] A “Job Creation and Quality Standards Act” would require corporations that receive any kind of public benefits (grants, tax expenditures procurement contracts) to, in turn, pay a living wage ($15 per hour plus benefits) to full-time employees. Do you support such legislation?

  • OPPOSES: Grossman
  • BERWICK: I am generally favorable toward this legislation, and would welcome further study.  Over time, I believe we should continue to increase income security toward a living wage, but that is not a one-step process.
  • COAKLEY: I support businesses paying their employees a living wage; at this point, our focus should be on raising the minimum wage for everyone in Massachusetts. Going forward, I will consider support for any proposal that will help us eliminate income inequality.
  • No Response: Kayyem

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Employee-owned businesses

[Question A7] Do you support legislation to foster and develop employee ownership of businesses in Massachusetts?

  • SUPPORTS: Berwick, Grossman, Kayyem
  • COAKLEY: I am supportive of this concept, and will review any proposed legislation when I am Governor.

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Co-ops, benefit corporations, community banks

[Question A8] Do you support legislation that would encourage the formation of cooperatives and/or benefit corporations and the development of community banks?

  • SUPPORTS: Berwick, Grossman, Kayyem
  • COAKLEY: I am supportive of this concept, and will review any proposed legislation when I am Governor.

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PDF VERSION: JOB GROWTH AND THE ECONOMY EXCERPT

Candidates' original responses are here: progressivemass.com/2014govmain. 


BROWSE MORE OF THE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES' QUESTIONNAIRE: 

Browse other questionnaires from other statewide races: progressivemass.com/2014statewide


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commented 2015-02-18 19:27:11 -0500 · Flag
On Job Growth and the Economy: Comparing the Candidates for Governor http://bit.ly/1AHC89E via @progressivemass
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