Employee Ownership can Save Jobs, Build the State's Economy

The following op-ed was published by the Boston Business Journal on April 2, 2019. You can read it online here. Also pasted in full below.

Employee ownership can save jobs, build the state's economy

I grew up like most Cape Codders, in a family inextricably tied to the tourism industry. My parents, Adrian and Annette, came to Provincetown in the 1970s, leaving behind the confines of suburban Connecticut for the free spirit of the Outer Cape. As so many do, they made a life working in restaurants. 

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SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION PROMOTING CHILDREN, FAMILIES, HEALTH CARE ACCESS AND INVESTMENT IN THE COMMONWEALTH

Today, the Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation that reaffirms the Commonwealth's commitment to providing support for women, members of the LGBTQ community and children and families in need. The Senate also gave final approval to a $135.9 million supplemental budget for the Fiscal Year 2019.


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The Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund

Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket face a significant environmental crisis in degraded water quality caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus. The culprit? A lack of wastewater management and limited sewer infrastructure. Simply put, we haven’t done a good job managing our waste. Cape Cod’s 15 towns are all under agreement with U.S. EPA, MassDEP, and CLF to reduce nitrogen levels in watersheds, most of which cross town boundaries, at a cost of $4 billion. Although not under the agreement, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket also face elevated nitrogen levels in their waters and the expensive price tag to keep island waters clean.

I worked hard with Rep. Sarah Peake to establish the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund, which was signed into law last year with the unanimous support of my colleagues in the Cape & Islands Delegation. This fund will help realize the state’s commitment to helping Cape Cod address its multi-billion dollar wastewater problem – and if island towns decide to opt into the Fund, it will provide significant resources for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket too.

Want to learn more about this newly created revenue stream to help the Cape & Islands ensure pristine water for future generations? Check out this video segment from Lower Cape TV that explains what this Fund is and answers many common questions. Watch it above. And if you’d like to learn even more, read the below extensive FAQ page.

- Julian Cyr

VIDEO CREDIT: Lower Cape TV

 

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Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Budget

The Senate proposal eliminates the ‘Cap on Kids’ and includes $30M for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program

The Massachusetts State Senate passed a supplemental budget on March 7th for Fiscal Year 2019 of $143.9 million in spending to address deficiencies, as well as policy and spending items that are time sensitive in nature. The proposal is $21.4 million less than what Governor Baker originally proposed in January.

Furthering the Senate’s continued commitment to support working families and those in need, the Senate’s proposed supplemental budget eliminates the so-called ‘Cap on Kids’ and includes $30 million for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), among other considerations.

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Senator Cyr appointed to Senate President’s leadership team and receives committee assignments

State Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) announced committee assignments and appointments to her leadership team today and, in great news for the residents of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, state Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) was named Assistant Majority Whip. Cyr is the only sophomore legislator in Senate leadership and is currently the youngest member of the Senate.

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Commission On studying Ocean Acidification is now Law

Senator Julian Cyr and Representative Dylan Fernandes Outlined this new Commission, which will form in the coming weeks.

(Barnstable, MA) — Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth) held a press conference on Tuesday October 16 to discuss the formation of legislation, which is now law, that calls for a special commission to determine the extent to which coastal and ocean acidification impacts commercially valuable marine species along the Massachusetts coastline. The establishment of this commission aims to address critical scientific and general knowledge “gaps” that may hinder the Commonwealth’s ability to craft policy and other responses to coastal and ocean acidification.

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Update and Critical Deadline for the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) Hardship Waiver

I was proud to have led the Senate’s mandate of a hardship waiver in the FY19 State Budget for businesses and non-profits that have struggled to meet the expansion of the EMAC assessment by the Baker/Polito Administration. The amendment I filed required the Department of Unemployment Assistance to establish, for certain Massachusetts employers, including seasonal employers, small businesses, non-profits, and employers providing services that serve the public interest, an exemption/hardship waiver from the new Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) health contribution assessment established in 2017. The amendment was adopted and prevailed in the final FY19 budget.

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Senator Cyr 2017/2018 Session in Review: Funding Secured and Legislation Passed

Now that we’ve been able to catch our breath form the marathon legislative session we’ve compiled what we were able to get done for the C&I district and in state wide policy in my first Term in the senate. Highlights include 1.2 mil in direct appropriations and $75m in bond authorizations directed to the Cape and Islands district. On the policy front we enacted laws to help stem the opioid epidemic, train municipal police officers, prepare for our change climate, support small businesses, do more to meet our obligations to educate every child, and much more.

Please see this document for a review of our successes securing funding and bond authorizations for the Cape and Islands District.

And click here for a review of legislation we have passed in the 2017/2018 legislative session. 


Massachusetts Economic Development Bill Supporting Small Businesses, Workers and Infrastructure Projects is now Law

Bill authorizes $75 million in competitive grants for technical education and training programs and $200 million for MassWorks infrastructure projects, Governor Baker Signed the Legislation in early August

Cyr Secures $12 million in Local Funding Priorities for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

(Boston, MA) — A sweeping economic development bill (H.4732), passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in July, was signed by Governor Baker earlier this month.  The Legislation boosts support for Massachusetts startup businesses and entrepreneurs, and authorizes targeted investments in infrastructure and worker retraining.

The bill authorizes $75 million in competitive grants for technical education and workforce training programs and $200 million in bonds for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program that will support thousands of jobs in economic development and community revitalization projects.

The technical education grants will provide funding for new lab equipment in classrooms across the state, allowing for new programs in robotics and other high-tech vocational fields. The bill also invests in the state’s cultural economy, promoting the arts and tourism industries.

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Legislature Establishes Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund

Within the Short-Term Rental Legislation, Representative Sarah Peake and Senator Julian Cyr Spearheaded Amendments to Create Fund Dedicated to Protect Regional Water Quality

(Boston, Mass.) – Today, the Massachusetts Legislature passed H. 4841 An Act Regulating and Insuring Short Term Rentals, which is the conference committee report that reconciled the House and Senate versions on this issue.  H.4841 expands the scope of the state’s room occupancy excise tax and local option excise tax to include short-term transient accommodations. This legislation will level the playing field, preserve local control, and support the emerging short-term rental industry. The legislation will generate an estimated $34.5 million and $25.5 million in state and local revenues, respectively, based on the most recent Senate Ways and Means Fiscal Impact Report. The expanded tax base will automatically apply to all 175-plus cities and towns in Massachusetts that have already adopted the local room occupancy excise to date.  The bill will now head to Governor Baker for his signature.

Included in the legislation for short-term rentals is a landmark amendment establishing the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund (CIWPF).  State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) led the successful effort to establish the CIWPF in the Senate and State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) spearheaded the CIWPF in the House.  Both Cyr and Peake had the full support of the Cape and Islands Delegation, along with business leaders, environmentalists, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, municipal officials and numerous community stakeholders who worked together to envision and support the establishment of the fund.

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