Mass. Republicans Propose Jobs Plan

By Sarah Birnbaum

Feb. 16, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts House and Senate Republicans unveiled a multi-pronged plan Wednesday that they say would create more jobs in the Commonwealth.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr says the plan has well over 25 components intended to boost jobs and improve the business environment.

“We began to work on this several months ago when we first had a jobs tour," said Tarr, "and since then we’ve been listening to folks all across the Commonwealth.  And we were discouraged when we looked at the Legislative agenda for the remainder of the session and we were discouraged when we saw very little about job growth on the agenda.”

The package focuses on business regulations, education, energy costs, health care costs and taxes. It proposes to reduce the number of weeks unemployed workers would be eligible for state unemployment benefits, and it would lift a requirement that employers provide health insurance for out of state residents.

The Republicans also want to give grants to poor college seniors to help cover last year tuition and fees, and they are calling for more collaboration between community colleges and local vocational schools, by putting community college trustees on vocational college boards, and vice versa.

The Republicans dIdn't analyze the costs fo their proposals and it's unclear if any of them will be supported by majority Democrats. But House Republican leader Brad Jones of North Reading says it's an honest attempt to start a conversation about jobs:

“It is our hope that this will provide an ongoing dialogue. We have taken an opportunity to share this packet with the speakers office.  We hope this represents a bipartisan opportunity to focus on what is the most important issue facing the Commonwealth and that’s jobs and the economy," Jones said.

Republican lawmakers expect to file the legislation within the next several weeks.
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