5.3 Manage the impact on business of long-term cost pressures within state and local government (two action items)

5.3.1 Conduct an assessment of the competitiveness and sustainability of the unemployment insurance system

Contact: Lauren Jones

CY2012 Progress:

  • Governor Patrick filed legislation in January 2013 that will lower business costs and encourage job growth by freezing unemployment insurance rates for employers and reducing or eliminating the contributions they make to fund health care programs for low-income residents.  Freezing the employer Unemployment Insurance (UI) contribution for 2013 at “E” will save employers an estimated $500 million.  This marks the fourth year in a row that Governor Patrick has advocated for freezing the UI rate in order to provide economic relief to employers.  If passed, the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Legislature will have saved employers approximately $1.7 billion over the last four years alone.  Even with the freeze, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance will end 2013 with approximately $600 million dollars.

5.3.2 Continue to develop additional reforms as needed to further improve the sustainability of the pension system and to accelerate the attainment of a “well-funded” pension system as defined by industry and federal government standards

Contact: Anne Struthers

CY2013 Progress:

  • Pension reforms will save Massachusetts $5 billion over 30 years, including an estimated $2 billion for cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

CY2012 Progress:

  • The OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) Commission has met several times during 2012 and issued the Final Report in January 2013.  Recommendations outline potential savings for the Commonwealth and municipalities of $20 billion over 30 years. 
  • The scope for the study of the pension system that will provide a public benefit while ensuring the ability to attract and retain public employees, as required by Section 62 of the Pension Reform Act (Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011: An Act Providing for Pension Reform and Benefit Modernization) that was signed into law on November 18, 2011.