Winter 1998

Winter 1998

The Boardroom Christ

A curious corollary to the anti-politics of the 1980s and 1990s — to the pervasive desire to throw the bums out — has been the wish to replace them with “businessmen” who will make things right again. First it was Lee Iacocca who would save the nation as he had saved Chrysler, thereby revising the(...)

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A Developers Nightmare

A Developers Nightmare

There are any number of nightmares that disturb the average developer’s sleep: an environmentalist with a lawsuit; an unscrupulous partner with connections to the Cayman Islands; a crash-course familiarity with Chapter 11 bankruptcy law. Less terrifying but still unsettling: an appearance in front of a Massachusetts town meeting. Put 200 people in a room with(...)

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Ultra Empowerment Zones

Little noticed in President Clinton’s 1998 budget is the provision for Urban Ultra Empowerment Zones (UUEZ) — a master plan of tax credits, subsidies, grants, and loan guarantees targeted to the maintenance and creation of selected areas of urban ultra-privilege. To qualify as a UUEZ, an area must show family income, schooling and employment levels(...)

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Cost of Doing Business

Massachusetts has become, in some ways, a more affordable place to do business, according to research by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. In 1993, when MTF released its first report on business costs, the state ranked near the top in six key categories: health care costs, manufacturing wages, workers’ compensation insurance rates, unemployment compensation rates, corporate(...)

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With Michael Porter Professor Scholar Consultant

Massachusetts is a place full of professors, but it’s hard to think of one who has had more influence on state government in recent years than Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter. An internationally sought-after thinker about economic competitiveness, Porter helped guide the early efforts of Governor William Weld’s administration, as it sought to(...)

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Something Ventured

Gina Gonzalez was struggling to raise two children on welfare, food stamps and a loan from her sister when the flier arrived at her Lowell apartment last summer. A new home health care company promised free training and, more surprising, jobs to all graduates. For the first time, the 25-year-old high school dropout, who worked(...)

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Counterpoint

A Giant Step Toward Competition The new Massachusetts Electric Utility Restructuring Act is a national pace-setter in creating a competitive energy market and providing choice to all consumers, while guaranteeing up-front rate decreases, continued energy conservation, and environmental protection. Unfortunately, a handful of critics want to erase the product of a two-year effort that many(...)

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Argument

Bailing out the utilities is no way to bring competition to the electric industry Picture this: a forum in downtown Boston on the major economic development issue of the decade. The panelists include Ralph Nader and the head of the Heritage Foundation; libertarian Barbara Anderson and statist Jim Braude; gubernatorial contenders Joe Malone, Patricia McGovern,(...)

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Regionalization

Every few years, debates about the need for regional government kick up in Massachusetts like a sudden gust of wind, and then quietly die down again. Boston saw a push toward metropolitan government in the latter years of the last century, as the city annexed nearby towns such as Dorchester and Charlestown, and Frederick Law(...)

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Military Metamorphosis

When the federal government decided to close Fort Devens in 1991, it opened a $350 million hole in the Massachusetts economy. The Army base was the state’s second largest employer, supporting 9,000 military, civilian and community jobs. The sprawling 9,300-acre complex west of Route 495 served as the economic backbone for the surrounding towns of(...)

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