A more affordable Massachusetts
There’s a lot going right for our state, but the massive increase in the cost of everything from gasoline and housing to electricity makes life harder for too many Massachusetts families and seniors. We now have one of the highest costs of living in the nation with no end in sight. The Doughty-Campanale administration will be dedicated to making our state more affordable for you, because we understand that the state government should work for you – not against you.
Gas Tax Holiday
During this time of tremendous energy insecurity, the state should enact a longer term gas tax holiday that provides relief to our citizens. With one of the highest gas taxes in the entire country, Massachusetts families are being penalized with high costs on top of the already escalating price of gas. On day one, we will enact a gas tax holiday to immediately deliver results to the people.
Reduce Utility Costs
One of the key elements to increasing costs is escalating utility rates. Unfortunately our state has made decisions that have reduced the supply of electricity, resulting in some of the highest electric costs in the nation. We need to immediately begin broad based efforts to bring new energy generation sources online as well as transmission. The reopening of discussions with our northern neighbors to get hydroelectric down to Massachusetts would be one of those efforts. Our goal is to have our electric rates to be outside of the top ten within our first term.
We are not currently building enough housing stock for our working families and young families to remain in our area. Too many businesses are suffering from labor shortages. On day one, we will set an ambitious goal for housing stock creation for our state and subgoals for each town and municipality. We will provide increased incentives for each town and municipality to build more housing and to streamline the building and redevelopment process. We will develop predictable time requirements on all approvals and reviews. In addition, we will seek to repeal and stop any legislation that penalizes property owners who we rely on as partners to maintain and increase housing.
Disbanding Tax Expenditure Commission
Our administration will work to disband the Tax Expenditure Commission and replace it with a Tax Reduction Commission. The existing Tax Expenditure Commission was created in 2018 to evaluate the intent, goal and effectiveness of “tax expenditures.” The Commission seeks ways to collect more revenue through taxes. Our newly formed Tax Reduction Committee will seek opportunities to reduce taxes on our citizens and our job creators. This change will make our state more affordable, help spur economic growth and reverse the trend of citizens leaving our state for lower cost areas.
More jobs and better wages
The last decade has seen a tremendous development of our state’s economic futures but too often they have been concentrated in the upper income and highly educated fields of finance, technology, and medicine. While these are great jobs, the Doughty-Campanale team will work to create jobs for all. This means promoting the trades, construction, manufacturing, restaurants, retail, and other key industries.
Simplify Doing Business
Our state is a labyrinth for businesses, and we will work to streamline efforts to start a company and to stay in compliance. We will pursue a total revamp of our corporate laws to encourage simple and fair approaches that can immediately help small businesses start and grow. We will consider the impact on our job creators in every decision we make.
Lower Tax and Regulatory Burden
Massachusetts has one of the highest tax and regulatory burdens for small businesses and this has to end. We will introduce comprehensive reforms to be a national leader in reforming the tax code and regulatory burdens to be simple, fair, and job creating. We will pursue a goal to move our state towards the national average of state imposed tax and regulatory burdens on our job creators.
Today’s economy has a major shortage of skilled craftsmen from plumbers, carpenters, and welders to school teachers, nurses and everything in between. We will implement a comprehensive program to help provide more job training resources for all of our families. These programs would be integrated into our high schools and community colleges providing the well rounded education that equips them for the future. We will also revamp the licensing process to simplify the transition from education to the workforce.
The best education for all our kids
Education is the heart of our commonwealth and we will be accountable to provide the best educational opportunities for the next generation. Our state is a national leader in education at all levels but it is often uneven in its availability. We’ll work to ensure everyone can access the very best. The equation is simple: a strong curriculum, excellent teachers, and empowered parents.
Our schools need to be teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. We need a strong foundation for our future that relies on equipping the next generation with the real skills they need to succeed.
In order to ensure this, we will take steps to ensure our teachers are well recognized for their work and encouraged to be in the classroom as much as possible each school year. We believe that every child should have a school facility that is well maintained and adequate for learning. We also believe that all children should have available and be encouraged to participate in extracurricular after school activities.
We also believe that parents are the key to our children’s success and should be given the tools to advocate for their child’s best interest. To this end, we will implement a multilingual “Call Line” for parents and educators to help us identify opportunities for improvement in our educational system.
Higher Expectations and more local control
Our administration will seek to establish higher expectations and higher funding for our educational system. We also believe that most educational opportunities should be identified and implemented by experienced and skilled local educators. Our administration will strive to share best practices in educational improvements across our state.
One of the fundamental rights of all our citizens is the ability to live and work in safe communities. The last few years have seen a change in how we talk about our police and approach safety. The results nationally have not been good. We need to invest in the necessary resources to fight crime, get criminals off the street, and build safe communities.
One of the major things that can be done to reduce crime is the hiring of more police, especially street patrols in the local communities. Studies have consistently shown these have a major impact on safe streets. Our administration would work through two ways to help increase the number of police. The first is simply increasing funding to local communities for the hiring and retaining of more officers. This will ease the burden on our local communities. The second would be a hiring bonus to new officers to help encourage the best and the brightest joining our efforts. Lastly, our administration will make steps to support our police and promote the good works, prestige, and recognition of the police within our communities.
Better Trained Police
We believe in training and will invest in police training and create incentives for adequate and “best in class” training and educational attainment for all of our police.
A State Government that works for you
The state government has grown too convoluted, burdensome, and confusing while at the same time struggling to provide the highest caliber services. We will work to re-envision state government to focus on high caliber service in the simplest ways.
More local funding
The town and city governments are closer to the people and are in many ways better prepared to provide crucial services to their citizens and yet too often they are underfunded by the state government. We would work to increase direct funding to help communities keep property taxes low while supporting critical services as education and law enforcement.
Efficiency Goals and Zero Based Budgets
Coming from the manufacturing industry, Chris Doughty has seen the long term value of yearly improvements in efficiency to drive innovation, creativity, better service, and lower costs. In the Doughty-Campanale administration we’d work with the state governmental agencies to set a goal of annual three percent customer satisfaction improvements. Combined with this effort would be a change to zero based budgeting for state governmental agencies.
Sharpen State Government
To reduce fraud, I will require the Department of Transitional Assistance (welfare) to institute a new verification process that will compare the person’s welfare benefits application through multiple, searchable databases including:
1) Immigration status information maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
2) Social security number verification
3) Death register information maintained by the
4) Social Security Administration
5) Earned income information maintained by the Social Security Administration and other verified databases.
Small Business Bill of Rights
Small businesses are the heart of the Massachusetts economy. Over 95% of the businesses in Massachusetts are small businesses and they employ more than 46% of our workforce. As the next Governor, Chris Doughty will use his firsthand experience to create a pro-business culture within our state government that supports and encourages small businesses and entrepreneurs.
State government should be advocates, not adversaries, for small businesses. Working with Mayor Shaunna O’Connell and reviewing what other states do, we have developed a Small Business Bill of Rights for the Commonwealth. On day one the Doughty/Campanale administration will work to implement it.
- The right to expect accurate and timely response to all information requests to our state government and a commitment to work together to assist businesses in their relationship with the state government.
- The right to a stable and predictable regulatory and record keeping environment with easily accessible information in a clear, simple and concise language.
- The right to favorable and fair tax and fee requirements to encourage business growth and investment.
- The right to email notices of any pending rule changes and adequate time to comply with all new changes.
- The right to receive email nudges of upcoming compliance requirements.
- The right to a one-stop permitting process and user-friendly website.
- The right to a timely response to all permitting, approvals, licenses, registrations and the steady reduction in the filing of forms and levy of fees affecting business.
- When there is a contested hearing provided by law, in the event a regulatory agency takes action against a business, the small business will have the right to expect a timely hearing. The small business will be provided a full explanation of any alleged violations. In any hearing, there will be a presumption that the small business did not commit an alleged wrongdoing until the agency proves by a preponderance of evidence. In the event of an unfavorable decision, the business should have the right to a timely review.
- The right to submit complaints regarding violations of these rights or any other unfair administrative acts by the state government. The right to have complaints responded to accurately, within a timely manner and to resolution.
- The right to have adequate small business representation on boards and commissions that deal with economic and taxation policies.
Cape Cod Initiative
Cape Cod is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the United States. Its natural beauty and proximity to fresh and saltwater resources make it unique. For the Cape’s future, we need to balance a vibrant economy with preserving its natural resources.
To find the proper long term balance, the Doughty Administration will begin building a future blueprint for the entire cape. The blueprint will seek to envision and document the “ideal future” of the cape in the year 2040. The blueprint will address and document an ideal state for roads and traffic to reduce congestion, sewer systems, workforce housing and zoning, broadband, economic development and tourism.
Here is Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale’s launch point for the Cape Cod blueprint for the future:
How long did it take you to get over the bridge is the common question about Cape Cod. Building reliable new bridges is long overdue. Chris will be a proactive Governor in facilitating this critical infrastructure which must be tackled before 2025 when major renovations are due on the Sagamore Bridge.
Governor Charlie Baker has dedicated $350 million in state funds to pay for traffic and roadway improvements for the approaches to the bridges while our federal delegation has been working to direct $1.5 billion in federal funds to building new bridges.
Our next Governor will have an important role to play in the successful completion of this project. History teaches us that the reconstruction of the Cape Cod Canal bridges is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have to get it right.
As our Governor and Lt. Governor, Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale will work with the federal delegation to expedite the necessary funds and push the state’s portion of the project in a timely fashion. Chris supports transferring ownership of the bridges to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for maintenance. He is also committed to prohibiting tolls on the bridges.
While the most prominent congestion issue for the Cape is the bridges, it is not enough to just fix them. As Governor, Doughty will address the issue of widening route 6 especially through the section called “suicide alley.” Chris and Kate will also invest in new smart light technology and traffic mitigation systems to help reduce traffic and congestion.
Grow Cape Cod’s emerging Blue Economy.
Cape Cod is well positioned to be a leader in the “Blue Economy” – the emerging marine science and technology sector connected to the ocean and our coastal resources.
Falmouth is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a world leader in marine science research, with more than 1,000 staff and students. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy, with 1,600 students, is in Buzzards Bay. And, Cape Cod Community College and Bridgewater State University offer vital programs that prepare students for high-paying jobs in the Blue Economy.
As our next Governor, Chris Doughty will provide leadership to encourage marine science and technology educational and research institutions – and Blue Economy businesses – to Cape Cod. He will bring together stakeholders– university officials, Blue Economy business leaders, elected officials and scientists, and charge them with developing an action plan that contains achievable goals and timetables for the mission to make Cape Cod the Blue Economy epicenter.
With our state’s miles and miles of coastline, Massachusetts should be a leader in aquaculture. Half of the seafood imported into the United States comes from aqua farms and that number continues to grow.
In neighboring Rhode Island, where aquaculture has been embraced, aquaculture has increased production about 18% per year since 1995. In Maryland, another leader in aquaculture development, production increased by 24% annually, on average.
The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation partners with the Department of Natural Resources to help make affordable, subsidized loan financing available to commercial watermen seeking to initiate or grow shellfish aquaculture operations. The University of Maryland makes an important contribution to this effort by providing training and business planning assistance available to current and prospective shellfish growers.
Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale believe that sustainable seafood and freshwater fish production and shell fishing, oystering and clamming should be encouraged and enhanced on Cape Cod.
In the Corner Office, they will direct their economic development team to prioritize the effort to recruit and grow aquaculture businesses on Cape Cod by reforming the permitting and regulatory processes and amplifying financing opportunities similar to effective partnerships developed in Maryland.
Enhance water quality
Every Cape Codder needs quality water. Unfortunately, a big part of Cape Cod’s drinking water problem comes from 80% of the properties in Barnstable County using on-site septic systems. These private septic systems release nitrogen into the groundwater which leaches into the drinking water.
Barnstable County needs wastewater infrastructure in the more populated areas. Making real progress on the water quality issue on Cape Cod, with new wastewater infrastructure, will benefit these worthy goals:
- Improving environmental outcomes by curbing nitrogen releases into groundwater and drinking water
- Providing Title 5 relief to Cape Cod homeowners by moving them away from septic systems to newly constructed sewers and wastewater treatment
The federal infrastructure legislation provides $9.5 billion to Massachusetts for projects over the next five years. As our next Governor, Chris Doughty will seek to use federal money to pay for wastewater infrastructure projects on Cape Cod.
Improve Cape Cod Connectivity
Connectivity is vital to education and the economy and the quality of life for all residents and businesses. Open Cape is doing great work in delivering a 100% fiber optic network and broadband “middle-mile” Internet access to every corner of Barnstable County, but they need a partner in the Governor’s office.
Massachusetts is one of only 16 states without a central broadband office. Chris will change that on his first day in the Governor’s Office. As our next Governor, Chris Doughty will make connecting every home and business on Cape Cod with the information highway a priority. In 2020, a bond bill included $1.7 million for Outer Cape broadband “last-mile” connection. Those funds have never been released.
As Governor, Chris will release those funds. Moreover, he will hunt for every possible funding opportunity to find the $125 million experts believe is needed to bring fiber optic connection to every home and business on Cape Cod. This is the Doughty/Campanale Cape Cod Connectivity initiative.
Enhance Travel and Tourism
Let’s roll out the welcome mat for tourists.
For years the Cape Cod Visitor Center and the route 6 rest area have been neglected. It sends the wrong message to our visitors. The Doughty/Campanale Administration will rebuild the center and rest stop to transform the state’s tourism image for tourists.
The Cape has worked hard to promote a three season tourism economy. Let’s go for four seasons! To help transition from a seasonal economy to a year-round economy, Chris and Kate will advocate creating a hotel and meals tax holiday on Cape Cod during the winter months to encourage people to visit during the formerly called “off-season.”
The Doughty/Campanale Administration will also encourage tourism by supporting events that feature the Cape’s assets. For example, the Scallop Festival used to take place in Buzzards Bay. It not only helped a struggling area, but it highlighted our wonderful scallops. Unfortunately, the festival was moved to Falmouth and it withered. Chris and Kate would work with Buzzards Bay businesses and the Chamber to reinstate this festival. These events and other happenings create opportunities to bring people and economic activity.
With a little creativity, the state can create annual events on Cape Cod that develop into major economic drivers. As Governor, Chris would like to institute “The Chowder Cup Festival” – a weeklong celebration of the seafood of Cape Cod.
Any effective economic development plan for Cape Cod must include assistance for struggling small businesses along the Route 28 corridor. Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale support creation of new special economic development zones for downtown areas such as Buzzards Bay that will allow local businesses to access grants, loans and infrastructure improvements. The pandemic devastated many of the small businesses along Route 28. These businesses and communities must be revitalized.
Cape Cod businesses cannot prosper and provide essential services to residents and visitors without housing for workers. Working with local leaders, business leaders, builders, financial institutions and state regulators, Chris and Kate will explore several options to increase workforce housing.
The Community Investment Tax Credit is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. In 2022, the Commonwealth has $10 million in tax credit allocations to make for projects throughout the state. Typically these tax credits help finance regular housing development, not the massive need for workforce housing on Cape Cod. Under current regulations, only the Town of Barnstable meets the qualifications to participate in the CITC program. Moreover, there is no provision in the guidelines for the CITC program for the kind of hotel and motel conversions being done on Cape Cod. Cape Cod’s housing problems are unique. The regulations of the CITC must be amended to include all 15 towns in Barnstable County in the program. Additionally, developers converting hotels and motels into workforce housing should have access to tax credits and grants to build. In addition, Chris and Kate will help local towns improve processes to speed up issuing building permits for workforce housing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 516 program provides grants and low-interest loans for temporary housing construction for farm workers. Importantly, for Cape Cod’s special needs, fish and oyster farms and on-farm processing jobs are included in the definition of farm workers. Additionally, only one family member is required to work on a farm to qualify. Other family members can be employed in non-farm jobs. As Chris and Kate work to grow Cape Cod’s Blue Economy, effective use of this federal housing program can help increase housing opportunities for workers.
Cape Cod in the Corner Office
As a business owner, Chris Doughty knows successful management demands a leader remain close to the mission and the people doing the work on the frontlines. Cape Cod will never feel neglected by the State House when the Doughty/ Campanale Administration is in the Corner Office. In order to stay in touch with the concerns of the people of Barnstable County, Lt. Governor Kate Campanale will be the direct liaison and she will work to spend one day per month on the Cape.
As the next Governor, I will require the Department of Transitional Assistance (welfare) to institute a new verification process that will compare the person’s application through multiple, searchable databases including:
- Immigration status information maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Social security number verification.
- Death register information maintained by the Social Security Administration.
- Earned income information maintained by the Social Security Administration.
- Prisoner information maintained by the Social Security Administration.
- National fleeing felon information maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Beneficiary records and earnings information maintained by the Social Security Administration in its Beneficiary and Earnings Data Exchange (BENDEX) database.
- Earnings and pension information maintained by the Social Security Administration in its Beneficiary Earnings Exchange Record System (BEERS) database.
- Employment information maintained by the Department of Employment Security in its New Hire Directory databases.
- Employment information maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its National Directory of New Hires database.
- Supplemental Security Income information maintained by the Social Security Administration in its SSI State Data Exchange (SDX) database.
Initial MBTA Initiatives
The MBTA is one of the most significant challenges our next Governor will face. The Doughty/Campanale Administration will be proactive in addressing the many issues to improve service, the riding experience, safety and the finances of the oldest public transit system in the country.
Making Massachusetts more affordable is the foundation of a Doughty/Campanale Administration. A safe, effective and efficient MBTA is a vital part of the Greater Boston and Massachusetts economies. For many years, it’s worked well. Today, the MBTA is seen as an albatross on the region and the state’s finances; but Doughty sees the MBTA as an opportunity, and an important asset for the Commonwealth and its future. In addition, Doughty believes the best days of the T are still ahead of us.
Unlike any of the other candidates for Governor, Chris Doughty has the experience to fix broken complex organizations, turn them around and make them safe, productive and efficient. He has been doing it for more than 30 years, and he is the only candidate for Governor capable of the type of critical thinking and planning necessary to see the problem through.
As the next Governor, the Doughty/Campanale Administration initiatives will start with the following:
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued directives to the MBTA and the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the state agency responsible for safety oversight of the MBTA’s rail transit operations. The FTA’s four special directives identify management issues that must be mended to improve the safety of the system:
— Hire qualified staff members at the Operations Control Center to address significant staffing shortages, certification issues and current employee fatigue problems;
— Create and implement standard operating procedures to address safety problems and repair protocols;
— Prioritize critical maintenance work and complete urgent repair projects quickly; and,
— Eradicate lapses in staff safety certifications.
Beyond immediately implementing these directives, Doughty, along with consultation with leadership, will implement frequent third party safety audits, effective and functioning safety committees, world class preventative maintenance systems, employee training and development, and a checklist culture throughout the organization.
In addition, the Doughty administration will take a proactive role in improving employee satisfaction to reduce employee turnover and improve hiring. Doughty knows from three decades in an industrial setting the importance of longevity and satisfaction of the workforce to ensure safety and reliability.
At first, the focus will be on ensuring that every employee has a highly trained supervisor or manager. Most often, employees leave their manager and not their job. So, much emphasis will be placed on good management skills and training. In addition, the HR systems will be reviewed to ensure we have best in class HR systems to ensure employee longevity, training and performance.
Fix the finances
The system is saddled with $5.3 billion in debt. A whopping 22% of the MBTA’s annual spending is dedicated to debt service – $303.4 million for interest on the debt and $220.1 million in principal payments.
In the last two years, the state government has realized more than $5 billion in surplus revenue. As Governor, Doughty will consider using a portion of that surplus revenue to pay-down the MBTA’s structural debt to begin reducing debt service payments.
In addition, the pension is funded only 65%. The Doughty team will seek to fund the pension to 75% by the end of our second term by directing additional funding to the employee pension program.
Doughty will consider all proposals to increase ridership. Working with all stakeholders, our goal is to return ridership to at least 80% of pre pandemic levels by 2023. The goal is for the system to become revenue neutral with self-sustaining revenue sources by the end of our first term.
Improve employee engagement
As an executive who has worked in manufacturing his entire career – and wasn’t afraid to grab a wrench on the shop floor and fix a broken machine – Chris Doughty knows you can’t succeed unless every one of your employees has a total buy-in to the overall mission and goals of the organization. Improving the MBTA will largely be accomplished in the railyard, not the boardroom.
As Governor, Doughty plans on spending time with the employees who repair the trains and maintain the lines. The initial focus will be on building a world class preventative maintenance system, building a “checklist culture,” and ensuring operating and safety instructions are simple and easy to follow. Every person who works for the MBTA will know they have a Governor who cares about them and their problems and is fully invested in helping them succeed – so the MBTA can succeed.
Reduce Red Tape
Doughty will ensure that all MBTA leaders are trained adequately in lean systems to identify forms of waste and excess and unnecessary process steps. In addition, Doughty will encourage MBTA leaders to engage all employees in continuous improvement activities to identify and reduce wasteful processes. Employees know best where time and resources are being wasted in their jobs. As wasteful process steps are eliminated, systems are more reliable, and both customer and employee satisfaction improves.
In addition, the Doughty administration will set a goal for the MBTA to receive third party recognition as the best run public transit system in America by the end of our second term. We will engage all leaders, employees and stakeholders to achieve this goal.
A Plan for Western Massachusetts
Prioritizing Western Massachusetts concerns
On Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale first day in office as governor and Lt Governor, they will direct all executive departments to provide recommendations for how they can better serve Western Massachusetts.
This directive will be the first step by their administration to create and advance a strategy to catalyze improvements in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire Counties. The executive departments will be given 100 days to complete their recommendations.
Specifically, Chris and Kate will ask for plans to expand the jobs market and improve access to more affordable housing options, expand broadband access, grow the food economy, grow the creative economy and tourism sector, lower energy costs, improve transportation and revitalize downtown development.
Chris Doughty is a long term business owner with a background in manufacturing and believes Western Massachusetts with the availability of land, access to major interstates, and highly skilled workforce should have a robust manufacturing base. For too long, manufacturing companies have found the area too expensive and not business friendly enough and have left for other states.
They will look to Virginia as an example of a state that has done well retaining and building their jobs base while also retaining the uniqueness of their commonwealth. Chris will use Virginia’s economic development success as a starting point to inform our plans for Western Massachusetts. His plan emphasizes: 1) affordable quality of life for citizens 2) affordable energy 3) competitive tax policy 4) targeted tax incentives for economic zones and 5) creating a pro business / low regulation culture.
In addition, Chris will see himself as the “Top Salesperson” for the state and will begin courting decision makers looking to expand their US footprint or relocating their jobs. His plan is to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term and promote 10,000 new startups across the State. Massachusetts will become “The Easiest State to Start a Business.”
One of the primary impediments to job growth and the quality of life for citizens in western Massachusetts is the high cost of living. On Day One, Chris will look to suspend the gas tax for 12 months.
And by ending runway property taxes by sending greater state funds to the local towns and cities. This will be done by reducing the overspending and over taxing in State Government which will include a move to zero based budgeting, where Chris will look at every state government expense through a critical lens.
Chris will eliminate the Tax Expenditure Commission, which was created to find new ways to tax our citizens and replace the commission with a committee focused on finding opportunities to reduce taxes and spending.
Rebuild the Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse and Revitalize Downtown Springfield
As governor, Chris Doughty will replace, not repair, the Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse in Springfield. For a long time, Hampden County has needed a new courthouse. A results-oriented businessman, Chris will get this long overdue project done.
As a possible approach, Doughty is intrigued by the concept to build a new Hampden County Courthouse on a 14.5-acre parcel along the Connecticut River north of the Memorial Bridge as part of a multi-use $475 million project that includes an 11-story residential apartment building, a space for an outdoor restaurant and a 50-slip marina. This project idea can serve as a continued catalyst for revitalizing downtown springfield.
Maintain Robust Commitment to State Aid to Local Governments
When Charlie Baker ran for governor in 2014, he promised to increase state aid to local governments at the same rate of growth projected in state revenues. As governor, Chris Doughty will keep the promise to fund state aid to local governments.
Chris and Kate understand that a reduction in local aid virtually guarantees property tax increases. Chris is dedicated to making Massachusetts more affordable. In Western Massachusetts, where there are so many small towns, state aid to local governments is a vital and important tool in the effort to reduce local taxes.
Chris and Kate are the only team committed to increasing state aid to local governments. Keeping this promise to the cities and towns in Massachusetts will help lower property taxes throughout the Commonwealth – and even more important in Western Massachusetts where there are so many small, rural towns.
Lower Energy Costs
The high cost of energy is a significant hindrance to economic growth in Western Massachusetts. This has led to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the area and the loss of investment dollars as companies locate good manufacturing jobs to other more affordable states. As a comparison the commonwealth of Virginia average commercial electric rates in 2021 were $7.25 vs $19.00 in Massachusetts. The high cost of energy also impacts our agricultural industries.
As governor, Chris Doughty will reduce costs by expanding the supply of energy through an increase in clean natural gas pipeline infrastructure, hydropower from the North and investments in local roof top and close to use renewables.
Grow the Tourism Industry
Berkshire County was named the second most arts-vibrant medium-sized community in the nation by the National Center for Arts Research in 2018. The creative economy supports approximately 5,500 jobs or roughly 6.4% of all jobs in Berkshire County. Between 2010 and 2017, the creative sector saw a 9.5% increase in jobs.
The growing creative economy has a profound impact on the hospitality and tourism sector, drawing visitors to the Berkshires for performances, art and museum exhibitions and hand-crafted goods of all types.
Kate Campanale, LT. Governor, will be tasked with increasing our state tourism from the 21st in the nation back to the top 10 in our first term. We believe the loss of tourism dollars to other states has had a detrimental impact on the livelihoods of many of our families and small businesses in Western MA.
Remove the Tolls on the Mass Pike in Western Massachusetts
Governor Bill Weld removed the tolls on the Mass Pike from the New York border to Springfield in 1996. This somewhat revolutionary idea provided a transportation benefit to people in Western Massachusetts and was a move in the right direction to remove all tolls from the Mass Pike.
In October 2013, Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature reinstated the tolls on the Mass Pike. The Mass Pike remains the only highway in the Commonwealth with tolls.
When the Mass Pike was built, one of the selling points to taxpayers was the pledge that when the bonds were paid off, it would become a freeway. It’s time to keep that promise made to taxpayers and motorists almost 70 years ago.
As governor, Chris Doughty will take the tolls off the Mass Pike from West Stockbridge to Springfield, make Massachusetts more affordable – and restore the fairness for Western Massachusetts residents initiated by Governor Weld and rescinded by Governor Patrick.
Western Massachusetts in the Corner Office
As a business owner, Chris Doughty knows successful management demands a leader remain close to the mission and the people doing the work on the frontlines. Western Massachusetts will never feel neglected by the State House when the Doughty/Campanale Administration is in the Corner Office. As is the current practice, Lt. Governor Kate Campanale, a Worcester County resident, will be the direct liaison to the needs of the Western Massachusetts communities.
Tax Reform Plan
To make Massachusetts more affordable, it’s imperative to make Massachusetts more competitive by reducing tax burdens.
It’s clear that over-burdened taxpayers, struggling to pay for everything because of the worst inflation in more than 40 years, can not count on the legislature or Maura Healey to provide meaningful tax relief at a time when state government produced a record-breaking $3.5 billion budget surplus.
Cutting taxes isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
Last year, according to the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute & Brookings Institution, 29 states and the District of Columbia cut taxes. This year, according to the Tax Policy Center, 27 states and the District of Columbia passed “significant” tax cuts. Massachusetts was not among the majority of states cutting taxes.
In 2021, Americans were on the move – and in overwhelming numbers Americans chose low-tax-states over high-tax-states. According to moving data from U-Haul and United Van Lines, high-tax states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York were the biggest migratory losers; while tax havens like Texas, Florida and Tennessee are among the largest net gainers in population.
Census Population Data (April 2020 – April 2021) Top Six States for Highest Population Loss:
1. New York (-1.8%)
2. Illinois (-1.1%)
3. Hawaii (-0.9%)
4. California (-0.8%)
5. Louisiana (-0.7%)
6. Massachusetts (-0.6%)
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
Census Population Data (April 2020 – April 2021) Top Six States for Highest Population Growth:
1. Idaho (+3.4%)
2. Utah (+2.0%)
3. Montana (+1.8%)
4. Arizona (+1.7%)
5. South Carolina (+1.4%)
6. Delaware (+1.4%)
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
The Doughty/Campanale Administration will cut taxes to grow and attract new businesses – and these tax cuts will catalyze economic growth that will increase tax revenues. Aggressive economic development will create good jobs and expand opportunities for all Massachusetts residents.
The Doughty/Campanale team proudly runs on a bold tax-cut agenda that will position Massachusetts as the best place to live, work, raise a family, retire – and build a successful business and create good paying jobs.
Massachusetts ranks #1 for education and #6 for access to capital for business, according to CNBC, but ranks 49th for the cost of doing business and 47th for the cost of living.
When the Doughty/Campanale Administration improves Massachusetts’ tax structure and business climate, there is no limit to the prosperity the residents of the Bay State will enjoy. As Governor, Chris Doughty will strive to move Massachusetts into the top ten among the states for tax policy, business climate and the cost of living.
o Support keeping the personal income tax flat – at 5%.
All of our neighbors have graduated tax brackets, except New Hampshire – which famously has no state income tax or state sales tax. Massachusetts’ flat income tax rate of 5% gives the Commonwealth a competitive advantage. New York’s highest income tax rate is 9.65%. Vermont’s highest income tax rate is 8.75%. Maine’s highest income tax rate is 7.15%. Connecticut’s highest income tax rate is 6.99%. Rhode Island’s highest income tax rate is 5.99%.
o Undo the sales tax increase of 2009 by reducing the state sales tax from 6.25% back to 5%.
The Commonwealth’s economy is booming. In this fiscal year, our economic engine produced about a $3.5 billion budget surplus. It’s time to give the hard-working taxpayers of Massachusetts a real and enduring sales tax break. A reduction in the sales tax will make Massachusetts more competitive – and more affordable. New Hampshire does not have a state sales tax. The state sales tax remained at 5% for 34 years – from 1975 to 2009. It should be 5% once again.
o Continue Governor Charlie Baker’s promise to fully fund state aid to Massachusetts’ cities and towns so property taxes are not forced to increase.
Chris Doughty knows local governments depend on robust revenue sharing from the state to reduce pressure on local property taxes. Maura Healey does not support maintaining the existing formula to fund local aid.
Increased property taxes are especially harmful for senior citizens, who often live on fixed incomes. Every homeowner in Massachusetts should appreciate Chris Doughty’s promise to fully fund state aid to local governments. This pledge is an important component of Chris’ commitment to providing tax relief for everyone.
o Reduce the corporate income from 8% to 7% over four years.
Reducing the corporate income tax to 7% would give Massachusetts a more competitive corporate income tax rate to attract jobs and industry to our state. Under the Doughty/Campanale plan, the corporate income tax rate reduction will be phased in over four years:
Corporate income tax rate in year 1: 8%
Corporate income tax rate in year 2: 8%
Corporate income tax rate in year 3: 7.5%
Corporate income tax rate in year 4: 7%
Massachusetts needs structural reform to its corporate tax rate. Massachusetts’ 8% corporate tax rate is too high. It’s anti-competitive. It’s a job-killer and it chases away job creators.
Massachusetts is one of only six states with a corporate minimum tax. Alaska, Florida, Iowa and Maine recently eliminated their corporate minimum taxes. It makes little sense for money-losing Massachusetts businesses or businesses with little to no profit to be hit with a tax obligation. When Chris Doughty eliminates this anti-competitive tax, only five other states will continue to collect minimum corporate taxes.
o Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit – that benefits families earning less than $57,000 – from 30% of the federal credit to 40%.
Governor Charlie Baker increased the state’s earned income tax credit from 15% of the federal credit to 23% in 2015 – and from 23% of the federal credit to 30% in 2018. Out of control inflation is punishing Massachusetts’ working families. The state’s earned income tax credit must be increased so working families and people without children receive the assistance they desperately need.
o Chris Doughty was the first candidate for Governor to propose a temporary, six-month state gasoline tax suspension.
Democrat policies, epitomized by Maura Healey’s war on fossil fuels, have brought Bay State residents the highest gasoline prices – ever.
o Double the threshold at which the state’s estate tax activates from $1 million to $2 million and on estates over $2 million provide a tax exemption on the first $2 million of that estate’s value.
The legislature passed an amendment to the estate tax in early versions of this year’s state budget but cut it out of the final version of the budget passed just days ago. Only 17 states have this type of tax– and eight of those states with a death tax have an exemption level above $2 million. Relief should be enacted immediately – and moving forward, total elimination of the estate tax should be seriously considered.
o Reform Massachusetts’ most-expensive-in-the-nation Unemployment Insurance (UI) system to reduce costs to businesses by at least 15%.
The Bay State’s reputation as a bad place for business is epitomized by its ranking as the state with the highest UI taxes in the country, according to the Tax Foundation. In 2019, UI taxes amounted to 0.47% of wages across the United States, meaning 47-cents for every $100 paid in wages. In Massachusetts it was 86-cents for every $100.
In order to make Massachusetts more affordable and competitive with other states on job creation, as governor, Chris Doughty will submit legislation to reform the UI tax.
Massachusetts, with its great schools and highly skilled workforce, should be able to compete with economic development engines like Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia. As governor, Chris Doughty, a proven private-sector job creator, will bring about substantial reductions in UI taxes to make it clear Massachusetts is open for business.
o Eliminate the 6.25% “rolling stock” tax paid by interstate trucking companies based in Massachusetts on new vehicle purchases.
Massachusetts is currently the only New England state, and one of only 13 nationwide, that provides no sales tax exemption for interstate trucking firms.
The “rolling stock” tax is a job-killer. In 2017, the trucking industry accounted for 300,000 jobs in Massachusetts. Two years later, the number of trucking industry jobs in the Bay State dropped to 129,300.
A Dukakis Center study at Northeastern University determined that eliminating the “rolling stock” tax could result in $15.9 million in new revenue collected from projected growth in the state’s trucking industry.
The Doughty/Campanale Administration will eliminate this anti-competitive, job-killing tax that has driven trucking industry jobs out of Massachusetts.
o Fight all attempts to raise taxes. No carbon taxes. No automatic tax hikes implemented without a vote in the Legislature. No tax increases, period.
Since 1990, Massachusetts voters have relied on fiscally responsible Republican governors to balance the never-ending desire of the Democrat-dominated Legislature to spend money and raise taxes to pay for
Chris Doughty, a commonsense outsider, will be an effective fighter for the taxpayers.