Governor Deval L. Patrick
Opening Remarks for Economic Summit
Federal Reserve, Boston, MA
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
On Wednesday, October 15, 2009, Governor Patrick convened nearly 150 corporate, education, and non-profit leaders along with state officials for a day-long Economic Summit at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank to discuss how Massachusetts can best define its recovery, and collaborate on solutions to the state's challenges.
Governor Deval Patrick
Good morning. I want to welcome you to this economic summit and thank you all for taking the time to join us here today. Special thanks to Eric Rosengren and the Boston Fed for making the facilities available to us this morning, and Eric to you for your partnership in rebuilding the region's economy. I also want to thank Secretary Bialecki, Cathy Minnehan, Professor Barry Bluestone and the whole Planning Committee who helped to develop today's agenda, to get the invitations out and right, and help us organize our thinking about how we collaborate, which is really what today's conversation is about - how we collaborate to rebuild our Commonwealth's economy. Special, special thanks to the Speaker and the Senate President for being here this morning in solidarity, and for their individual, invaluable partnership on so much of the economic agenda that we have been driving in this Commonwealth over the last three years, and what we will be talk about today.
I want to offer a word or two about the context of today's meeting and what I am hoping to get out of it.
We all know that our nation and our Commonwealth are in the midst of the worst economic downturn in 80-plus years. Many have only the barest appreciation how close we were just a year ago this time to a full blown depression, with the potential of the banking industry to collapse and drag the whole economy into the hole with it. Kudos to the Obama administration, to the actions of Chairman Bernanke and the Fed, to officials in the current and former Administration, and to the many, many others for pulling us back from the brink. That's no joke. I want you to notice that a lot more people are talking about what kind of recovery and how fast we will recover today, when just a year ago many wise observers were wondering whether there was a future for our economic model.
Meanwhile, the crisis continues in many homes, in many workplaces, and in many lives. Until we get people back to work, we have a lot more work to do. Having said that, government does not create jobs; you do. The private sector does. Our role in government is to create the conditions in which business wants to invest. I want today to be about how we collaborate - public and private - to create the strongest economy we can and the most jobs we can coming out of this recession.
We have a 4-pronged growth strategy in the Commonwealth today, based on innovation, education, infrastructure and regional clusters. You'll hear more about this strategy in the second session this morning, but let me just make a couple of points now about that strategy.
We have invested time, focus and a little money in the innovation industries -- IT, life sciences, clean energy, clean tech, and health care. These are the very sectors that are leading Massachusetts out of the recession faster and stronger than the rest of the United States. In the life sciences, for example, there was a 7 percent increase in employment last year, while unemployment across the Commonwealth was going in the wrong direction. We won, just yesterday more clean tech grants from the Department of Energy than any other state, further recognition of the strength of that growing sector. And by the way, many, if not most of these companies are small and medium-sized companies. Much more focus needs to be placed on that part of our economy, and we'll have some conversation about that today as well.
In education, our students have scored first in the Nation on the NAPES achievement tests in each of the last three years and in the top ten in the world on the TIMMS math and science measure, and we have invested more money in public education than ever before in history. We have placed a new emphasis on STEM education and have filed legislation to address the achievement gap, important on its own merits, but also to better position us to compete for the Race to the Top funds in the federal recovery act, and we want to talk today about how we can collaborate on that.
Thanks to the combination of state bonding and federal stimulus funds, for which tools I thank the Legislature and the Congress, we are investing more money in roads, rails and bridges, broadband expansion, housing and other infrastructure than ever before in the history of the Commonwealth - some $5.5 billion committed in the last 3 years alone. Those are real projects getting done, real jobs being created, and real investment in our long-term economy.
And finally, knowing that the cost of living (especially housing) is lower outside the Greater Boston area, something Eric referred to in his opening remarks, but that the reservoir of workforce talent is just as great elsewhere in the Commonwealth and in the Greater Boston area, we have worked to incentivize investors to grow all around the Commonwealth. Growth districts are just one of the specific means to advance that strategy. I want to talk about how we can do more of that together.
So, today, we will focus on how to work together to help Massachusetts recover. The first panel will discuss our current economic and commercial realities and the steps we are taking to invest for long-term strength and growth. The second will go a little deeper into our current strategy. With that as a platform, we will talk about some current examples of public-private partnerships. And that will lead us into three areas of discussion and focus for the bulk of today: 1) how to compete effectively for competitive federal recovery dollars (from Race to the Top to Broadband support) to support investment here to build that economic foundation; 2) how to improve access to capital and coaching for small and medium-sized companies, which is where most of our job growth has and is likely to come from in the short-term, if not over the long term ; and 3) how to make it easier for business expansion, especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses but not exclusively, including in tax and regulatory policy. You all bring unique perspectives and backgrounds to this conversation, and I am looking forward to your input.
Like the nation, this Commonwealth is in a tough spot, but we are all in a tough spot, and we are in it together. And we will recover together. The question today is how do we rebuild together. So, I want to seize the moment to work with you to make sure that every region of our Commonwealth, every segment of our population and every neighborhood in every community has the best possible chance at recovery.
Thank you again for coming. And now I am pleased to invite to the podium an indispensable partner in this work and so much else on Beacon Hill, the Senate President Therese Murray.