Governor Deval L. Patrick
Brandeis Global Trade Summit – As Delivered
Brandeis University, Waltham
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Thank you very much Bruce. Thank you for the warm introduction and for your leadership. Art, thank you for having me back here at IBS and at the IBS Board.
To all the members of the diplomatic corps who are here, my friends and partners in our work overseas in the Administration and in the quasi-publics.
Ladies and gentlemen from around the Commonwealth and around the world, thank you very much for having me today.
I want to thank also all of the organizers of today’s conference. And I hope at some point all the folks in the peanut gallery will explain how you got stuck up there and you can’t…are they feeding you at least? They are feeding you. Alright.
I hope we can spend most of our time today in conversation, but I hope at the outset I can say a word or two about the kind of collaboration and partnership that both Bruce and Art have spoken to and to why I think it is so extraordinarily important for us to seize, to improve on, to expand and to make very much the most of.
You all know that the global economy waits for no one. It’s happening. Ready or not. And it seems to me we have every reason to be ready to participate and to participate successfully. As Governor, I have made it my mission to make Massachusetts a global player in today’s innovation economy. An economy that is all about an explosion of knowledge. And when you think about the concentration of brainpower we have here in the Commonwealth, we have a natural advantage and a natural opportunity that we ought to take advantage of.
This afternoon, I just want to make a few remarks about what our growth strategy is. By the way, the folks who’ve been on our trade missions, Pamela Goldberg and others can recite this verbatim, right? I’m going to test you in just a moment.
Here in Massachusetts, we have pursued a growth strategy based on targeted investments in three things: in education, in innovation and in infrastructure.
We invest in education to assure that our students are prepared for the jobs and the society of tomorrow. We invest in innovation to stay on the cutting edge of growth industries like biotech and life sciences, clean tech, information technology and data management, communications and financial services which is more and more an IT business. And we invest in infrastructure because that’s the foundation on which everything else rests.
Meanwhile, we continue to do the important work of reducing the cost of doing business. We are taking important steps to reduce the cost of health insurance as I think many of you have followed. More companies offer insurance to their employees today than before our health reform went into effect in Massachusetts. We’ve slowed premium rate increases from an average of 17 percent two years ago to less than 2 percent today. Starting last month, thanks to legislation we passed about a year ago now, small businesses will be able to obtain plans in the market for as much as 20 percent less than current rates.
We’ve cut the corporate tax rate from 9.5% when I took office to 8.0% today, a savings to some 35,000 Massachusetts companies. Add to that a host of tax credits and incentive programs and we have a strong set of tools to encourage investment here and enable our companies here to grow.
The time it takes to obtain state permits has been reduced from an average of 2 years when I took office to less than 6 months today, 4 months in the case of new insurance products. And we recently launched the Commonwealth’s first comprehensive effort to review all of our old regulations – anything 12 years or older is on the table. We’re about a quarter of the way through some 2,000 regulations, we’re rescinding many, we’re looking at others.
Our strategy is paying off. Unemployment is well below the national average: in the first two months of 2012 alone, we’ve added more than 23,000 new jobs.
We are home to a booming start-up community. In 2011 alone, Massachusetts captured nearly $3 billion of venture capital around the world. We have the number one life sciences super cluster in the world today and a clean tech sector that grew jobs at a rate of 6.7% last year and is expected to double that growth rate in 2012. Our concentration of iTech firms here in Massachusetts is four times the national average.
We rank first in the Kauffman Foundation’s New Economy Index and first in economic competitiveness in Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute recent report. And we’ve come from the bottom third to the sixth best place in the country for business according to CNBC. I find sixth hard to say. First is easier to say. So that’s where we’re going.
To get there, we’ll continue to look outward to opportunities in the global economy and build upon last year’s $28 billion in exports from Massachusetts out into the world.
Through the work of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment and the Massachusetts Export Center we are bringing Massachusetts to the world. This week, we are launching the Massachusetts Export Resource Center, an online one-stop resource for exporting to help businesses grow and take advantage of international opportunities. And thanks to a grant received through the U.S. Small Business Administration, we are helping small businesses in the state begin or expand their export operations. And we’ll be happy to answer some questions you may have about that.
We have seen tremendous success from our trade missions in 2011 to Israel, the UK, Brazil and Chile. We signed agreements for research and innovation partnerships with educational institutions and government entities abroad. In Brazil, we launched the TOP USA-Massachusetts Program, an initiative to promote an academic exchange of faculty and students between several Brazilian and North American Universities, including the University of Massachusetts system. And in Israel we created a partnership to encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship between our respective life sciences, clean energy and technology sectors.
International companies are now making Massachusetts their ‘home away from home’ more often, building headquarters and growing jobs. Israeli-based EarlySense and UK-based IDBS, TotalMobile and Sagentia are just a few examples of this.
And we continuously host delegations from government and world business leaders from all across the globe interested in a deeper, commercial relationship with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In that vein, I want to mention another result of our innovation mission to Brazil. As the sixth-largest economy in the world, and the fastest growing middle class, Brazil has become an important international partner for Massachusetts. Brazil’s innovation sectors – clean tech, life sciences, IT, education as well – are natural partners, for us, in the global economy and we had a fruitful and informative mission there in December.
President Dilma Rousseff will travel to Washington next week to meet with President Obama and I am pleased to announce that she will make one other trip here while she’s in Massachusetts and that is to visit with us here in Boston. We look very much forward to welcoming her to the State House and to sitting down with her in a small group of Massachusetts business leaders to discuss how to expand opportunity to further our relationship.
There are many other ways we continue to build on the successes of our trade missions as we strengthen our capacity to look outward, as well as inward. That’s why forums like this are so important. The International Business School here gets it. By virtue of your presence here, you all get it. I want you to know that your state government better and better every day, is also getting it. And increasingly we are working together across the public and private lines with the academy, with both small and large companies alike and great thinkers and entrepreneurs around the Commonwealth and around the world. That collaboration is how we will win the future. And I look forward to the conversation.
Thank you for having me today.