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    FEBRUARY 2016
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

Over the next few months we have some tremendous opportunities for Roundtable members and our partners in the business community to collaborate on key policy priorities including energy, education and transportation. Roundtable members are advancing important work in STEM, early education and ways to further strengthen our innovation economy. We hope you will join us at one of these exciting events.

Thank you for your support of the Roundtable! 

Best,
JD

Upcoming Roundtable Meetings and Events

With strong support and engagement from Roundtable members, there are some important opportunities for business leaders to move the policy needle in areas including energy, early childhood education and innovation. Please mark these dates on your calendars.

Friday, February 26, 8:30–10:30 a.m.
MBR Energy Task Force
Foley Hoag, 155 Seaport Boulevard, Boston
The Task Force will meet to update MBR’s Energy Principles and develop a strategy to engage in the coming legislative debate. The format will allow MBR members in the energy field to present to the larger group and lead a robust discussion on energy policy. This meeting is open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

Monday, February 29, 1:00–2:30 p.m.
Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education with ReadyNation
Skadden Arps, 500 Boylston Street, 23rd Floor, Boston
The Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education met recently with the state’s Commissioner of Early Education and Care Tom Weber. The group decided to develop a set of guiding principles, prioritize areas of focus, and make a series of recommendations to MBR’s Board. The meeting will also feature Sara Watson, Global Director of ReadyNation, a national organization based in Washington, DC which focuses on “strengthening business through effective investments in children and youth” and has engaged in early childhood efforts in states throughout the country. Sara will lead a discussion on how business leaders in other states are engaging in early childhood advocacy, the issues they are prioritizing, and the impact they are having. 
This meeting is open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

Friday, March 25, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
“Behind the Scenes at iRobot”
8 Crosby Drive, Bedford
MBR Member and iRobot CEO Colin Angle will host a conversation about technology, innovation, and STEM best practices. This behind-the-scenes look at one of the state’s most innovative companies will include a tour and opportunity to discuss a variety of issues of importance to MBR. This meeting is open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

Wednesday, April 6, 8:00–10:00 a.m.
“A Conversation with Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus”
Bank of America, 100 Federal Street, Boston
Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus pioneered the concept of social business, utilizing micro-finance to help develop self-sustaining business solutions, and has been recognized with more than 100 awards from 26 countries including the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. Dr. Yunus will be the keynote speaker at Becker College’s Presidential Speaker Series April 5. In May 2014, Becker College was designated as the first officially sanctioned Yunus Social Business Centre in the United States (15th in the world). This event will be presented in collaboration with our friends from the New England Council, and will be open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

Roundtable Launches Biz-Education Partnerships Project Highlighting Member Companies
The Roundtable launched a project to highlight the vast ecosystem of partnerships between employers and educational institutions (e.g. four-year higher education institutions, community colleges, vocational schools, etc). Many Roundtable members are engaging in innovative and exciting partnerships that benefit both businesses and students. At the same time, public policy initiatives are focusing on the alignment between employers and the workforce. This project will compile examples and experiences of these partnerships into a single report that will spotlight success, determine best practices and identify consistent themes. MBR will share the findings with policy makers and Baker Administration as we advance our education and workforce development agenda. 

To participate in this project, Roundtable members are asked to submit a one-two page summary of a successful partnership that is organized around three areas:

  1. Description of the partnership, the partners involved, and the purpose for entering into the partnership.   
  2. Impact of the partnership, both from your perspective and that of the partners, which conveys outcome measures or other measures used to determine success; and
  3. Lessons learned from the partnership, those elements that you believe lead to a successful partnership that could serve as best practice recommendations.

Roundtable Annual Report Highlights Policy Impact
The Roundtable recently published its 2015 Annual Report highlighting the significant impact on public policy driven by its CEO and senior business leadership members. The Roundtable’s mission is to strengthen the state’ economic vitality. This year, MBR updated its mission statement to reflect the challenges and opportunities of businesses operating in the global economy. MBR engages with public and private sector leaders to develop public policy solutions that enhance the state’s competitive position in the global economy. Several key policy areas for Roundtable members are transportation, energy, talent, and improving the climate for doing business in Massachusetts.

 

Massachusetts Department of Revenue Develops New Voluntary Disclosure Pilot Program
The Department of Revenue developed a new Voluntary Disclosure Pilot Program and is working with the DOR Advisory Council to finalize it for launch in Q1 2016. The program offers business taxpayers an opportunity to come forward on a voluntary basis to disclose and propose settlement of uncertain tax issues. DOR defines an uncertain tax issue as “one for which there is no clear statutory guidance or controlling case law and has not been addressed by DOR in a regulation, letter ruling or other public written statement.” 

How it works

  • Initially, a taxpayer may come forward on an anonymous basis to identify and explain the uncertain tax issue that it seeks to resolve.
  • DOR will determine whether the issue is one that would be appropriate for resolution under the program.
  • If the matter is accepted into the program, the taxpayer would be required to identify itself and provide additional information or documentation, including a settlement proposal.
  • The parties would then work to negotiate a settlement.
  • If the matter is accepted into the program, DOR will agree to waive all penalties that may be imposed with regard to the uncertain tax issue, regardless of whether the parties reach a settlement, provided that the taxpayer has acted in good faith. 

If you would like to provide feedback or have any questions about this new program, please email Chris Kealey.

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

Unemployment in STEM fields is 3.4% in MA. Those kind of numbers are why our members prioritize STEM education

Roundtable member @DeltaDentalofMA is doing important work to promote oral health #NCDHM #healthequity www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics

January revenues total $2.58 billion, $48 million over recently-revised benchmark; withholding collections $91 million over benchmark #mabiz

Excited to join @UMB_Leadership to honor @LatimerAmy President of @tdgarden on well-deserved Building a Better Boston Award

@CeltiCare employees dressed in red to show their support for #GoRedforWomen and help fight heart disease.

Celebrating our network of MA biz leaders! #FF @bfitinvolved @DeltaDental @newbalance @VertexPharma @HarvardPilgrim

Citizens Bank ‏@CitizensBank 
What are you saving for this year? #MakeItCount Learn more: www.facebook.com/events/165058810534382


The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.

Wes Kremer @KremerWes

MA_CleanElectricity @MACleanElctric 

massventures @massventures 

Berkshire Innovation @BerkInnovation 

Nipmuc CCC @NipmucCCC 

Going Around the Table
News, links and information about members of the Roundtable

Roundtable Member National Grid Announces New Energy Efficiency Plan
Earlier this month, National Grid announced its new energy efficiency plan that will enable gas and electricity customers to save money and lower energy use, which will help improve the environment. In a press release, the company announced that its “three-year plan is expected to generate $3.6 billion in Massachusetts customer benefits over the lifetime of the efficiency investments. To realize these benefits, over the next three years National Grid will work with customers to invest nearly $850 million in electric energy efficiency and more than $382 million in natural gas energy efficiency.”

“The DPU challenged National Grid and the state's other utility companies to find more and better ways to help our customers save on their energy costs, while providing greater opportunities for them to help improve our environment,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. “We believe the programs will further solidify the state's standing as the most energy efficient in the country and will help customers save on their energy bills while making their homes more comfortable and their businesses more profitable.” READ Release

Roundtable Member DONG Energy Expands Offshore Wind Development in U.S.

WIND ENERGY COMMPANY EXPANDING U.S. FOOTPRINT TO WATERS OFF NEW JERSEY

By Matt Murphy

FEB. 9, 2016. The Danish energy company that owns the lease to develop an off-shore wind farm off the coast of Martha's Vineyard has obtained the development rights for a new project in the waters off of New Jersey.

DONG Energy, which lays claim to the largest off-shore wind farm in the world in the Irish Sea, entered the United States market last spring by securing through auction the rights to develop a 1,000 megawatt wind farm 15 miles off the southern coast of the Vineyard.

Now with a beachhead established in Boston for the Bay State Wind project, DONG Energy will announce Tuesday that it is taking over the lease from RES Americas Development for project development rights to 160,480 acres located 10 nautical miles off the coast of New Jersey, a project company officials say will deepen its commitment in the U.S. READ more

Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.

 
 
In this issue
Upcoming Roundtable Meetings and Events
Roundtable Launches Biz-Education Partnerships Project Highlighting Member Companies
Roundtable Annual Report Highlights Policy Impact
Massachusetts Department of Revenue Develops New Voluntary Disclosure Pilot Program
What's News on Twitter
Going Around the Table
 
Upcoming events

FEBRUARY 26, 2016
MBR Energy Task Force
8:30–10:30 a.m.
Foley Hoag, 155 Seaport Boulevard, Boston
Open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

FEBRUARY 29, 2016
Ad Hoc Committee on Early Childhood Education with ReadyNation
1:00–2:30 p.m.
Skadden Arps, 500 Boylston Street, 23rd Floor, Boston
Open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

MARCH 17, 2016
Roundtable Board Meeting
Noon–1:30 p.m.
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
155 Seaport Boulevard, 5th Floor
Members only

MARCH 25, 2016
Behind the Scenes at iRobot
11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
8 Crosby Drive, Bedford
Open to all Roundtable members and representatives from member companies.

JUNE 16, 2016Annual Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD

 
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