Friday, April 30, 2010

PBLN Members Support Market-Driven Model to Build Affordable Housing

PBLN has adopted a position in support of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing law known as "Chapter 40B" which is currently under attack. A well funded grassroots campaign has succeeded in placing a referendum to repeal 40B on the November ballot. What is at stake is its total repeal and the collapse of the entire market driven model for building affordable housing in Massachusetts. This is far more than an issue for a single state. In many ways the NIMBY phenomenon behind the attack poses a risk to affordable housing in any community. 

CEOs and other business leaders who support the position statement below are welcome to sign on or to send others our way if they want in. Email your name to PBLN Executive Director Andy Tarsy at with the exact spelling and title/affiliation that should appear with your name.  Inclusion of your individual names and affiliations strengthens the impact of our statementPBLN President Tom Dretler (President/CEO of Eduventures, Inc.) will offer the statement below and related comments in testimony at a Statehouse hearing on Monday, May 3rd. The rich evidence in support of our decision is cogently laid out on the website of the Coalition to Protect Affordable Housing which we have joined and we urge you to support it also. You can find it at

Here is the PBLN position statement:
PBLN supports market driven models that lead to the development of affordable housing. We believe such models, including the Massachusetts Chapter 40B Affordable Housing law advance the public interest, are vital to our economy and reflect our values as a society. PBLN opposes the current effort to repeal the Massachusetts Affordable Housing law by ballot initiative petition.
Special thanks to Tom O'Brien (Managing Director, HYM Investments and Chair of the PBLN Housing/Economic Development Working Group) and Sean Sacks (Assistant Vice President of the New Boston Fund Boston and Coordinator of PBLN's Housing/Economic Development Working Group) for your leadership on this issue.
More on this issue Monday from the hearing at the Statehouse...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

U.S. Approval of Cape Wind Project Marks New Era in Renewable Energy

The Progressive Business Leaders Network (PBLN) offered the following statement today on the Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to grant federal approval to the Cape Wind project:

The era of putting Renewable Energy at the center of our economy has begun. Cape Wind offers significant benefits for the region including job creation, stable pricing, long-term economic development and of course public health and the environment. Moreover, as the site of the first major off-shore wind project in the nation, Massachusetts will be well-positioned to become an important hub for the nascent off-shore wind industry. The project is of national significance as experts say the U.S. lags 20 years behind Europe in off-shore wind power development. We applaud the statement today by U.S. Interior Secretary Salazar who said 
"This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast which I expect will come on-line in the years ahead as we build a new energy future for our country." 

We believe any objections on pricing to be shortsighted. Increased supply will have a stabilizing and downward impact on overall prices in the energy market. In addition, when Washington adopts federal legislation to price carbon emissions, the entire American economy will make a giant leap forward. Because of Cape Wind and other serious market-based policy reforms, renewable energy will emerge as a bargain. In addition we hope the long review process and the serious rule-making that were part of Cape Wind’s journey have made it easier for other entrepreneurs and investors to pursue renewable energy opportunities for the public benefit.

We offer congratulations to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Policy Ian Bowles, as well as the many stakeholders, public, private and non-profit who have brought this project to this point. We also offer our congratulations to the resilient, determined, visionary entrepreneur (and PBLN member!) Jim Gordon, CEO of Cape Wind

Note: PBLN Energy/Environment Coordinator Roger Freeman (CEO of renewables developer Solventerra) was quoted in today's Boston Globe coverage of the impact of the Cape Wind ruling on business in Massachusetts.
The Progressive Business Leaders Network is a non-profit education and advocacy organization in which CEOs and other top business leaders advance the idea of inventing a more sustainable economy via socially and environmentally responsible business practices and public policies. PBLN supports pricing carbon and broad and aggressive measures to move the economy, society and environment forward. Read the PBLN position statement here. For more information about our May 11th Summit in Washington DC see or call 617 515-9004.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Made in Massachusetts - The Lessons of Health Reform Make the New York Times Editorial Page

Today's (4/21/2010)  New York Times Editorial lays out the strength of Massachusetts first-in-the-nation health reform program and its greatest accomplishment: near universal coverage. In many ways, the Massachusetts approach was a model for the national reform package that became law recently. Where the national reform went beyond Massachusetts in part, was in the creation of a series of pilot programs for testing new models of cost containment. Several years after reform in Massachusetts there is no sign despite the warnings of many that reform was a budget buster for the state. But it is clear that healthcare costs are a complete budget buster for small business and frankly all business, as well as for small groups and individuals in a variety of circumstances. The solution? A short-term legal battle is taking place over whether or not the state can refuse to authorize insurer rate increases it deems "unreasonable." The genesis of this battle is clear--rates are high, and the increases being contemplated or proposed, high as well. But insurers say the rates reflect provider costs. And providers say their costs reflect doctor and patient practices pursued in the name of trying to give and get the best healthcare--and that transparency along with payment reform are a must. So where do we go? As the Times editorial says: it is indeed fundamental payment reform - via dramatic changes in how we pay for our healthcare. PBLN has endorsed the findings of a Special Commission that laid out a 5 year framework for getting this done. The devil is, as they say, in the details. But there is no doubt as the Times lays out: People like their healthcare, they like the idea that pretty much everyone has it and likes it, and cost containment is the next frontier.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Progressive Business Leaders Network’s 3rd Annual Washington, DC Summit

Business Leadership and Public Policy:

Inventing a More Sustainable Economy

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Washington, D.C.

Together we have begun to move this timely idea of a progressive business leaders network to the next level of action; but we are just beginning. Recently, at the incomparable, energizing and third annual PBLN Washington Summit, we gathered on Capitol Hill for a day unlike any other in Washington. 100 CEOs and other top business leaders came together for dynamic, interactive sessions with top Congressional and Obama Administration leaders and senior White House staff.

Highly Interactive Sessions
  • Pricing Carbon for Competitiveness, Growth and Jobs
  • The Role of Business in Healthcare Reform and Innovation
  • How School Reform Can Help Drive Growth and Opportunity
  • Financial Market Regulation After the Financial Crisis – Protecting Access to Capital and the Future of Innovation
  • Calibrating the Role of Government to Support Job Growth

Featured Speakers
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Chair, House Financial Services Committee

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH)

Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Chair, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

Trent Bauserman, Legislative Aide to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

David Belluck, Managing Partner, Riverside Partners

Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden

Joshua Boger, Ph.D., Founder & former CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Peter Cunningham, Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education

Paul Egerman, co-founder & former CEO, eScription, and Member, US Department of Health & Human Services Health IT Policy Committee
Maria Ghazal, Director of Public Policy & Counsel, Business Roundtable

Diane Hessan, President & CEO, Communispace

Lindsay Hunsicker, Senior Education Policy Advisor for Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)

Gloria Larson, President, Bentley University

Will Marshall, President, Progressive Policy Institute

Terrell McSweeny, Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden

Shailagh Murray, National Politics Reporter, Washington Post

Melanie Nakagawa, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Barry O'Callaghan, CEO, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

James Roosevelt, Jr., President & CEO, Tufts Health Plan

Paul Sagan,  President & CEO, Akamai Technologies

Neera Tanden, COO, Center for American Progress

Mitch Tyson, CEO, Advanced Electron Beams


Friday, April 2, 2010

Is HIRING "the new black?"

Is HIRING "the new black"? You know the expression from the fashion world right? Let the debates begin about what the latest US Department of Labor statistics mean about trends in our economic recovery. CNN Money  does a nice job of breaking them down. On the one hand 162,000 jobs were created in March; and on the other, over 184,000 were forecast and X million Americans remain trapped in long-term unemployment. Short term fixes are everywhere and it is clear that we have still not created a systemic formula for sustainable 21st century growth and competitiveness--even though the stimulus and jobs bills are fundamental and important short term solutions.

Even if these monthly numbers keep getting better, a long term "sustainable economy" solution would have to include comprehensive approaches to energy (where we seem to be stuck), health (we are clearly moving on this one), financial markets and access to capital (is new regulation going to happen?) workforce development (so many issues here from education to immigration to green jobs to healthcare/IT and manufacturing too). In other words, we need transformational innovation. And the entrepreneurs of the 21st century will solve these problems with new ideas just like they did in the dawn and evolution of the industrial era. But only if today's and tomorrow's innovators are drawn to the big challenges of creating value that creates jobs and wealth/prosperity while also addressing the huge changes we require. So - is HIRING the new black? Maybe but to sustain job growth and tackle chronic unemployment we appear to need big ideas more than ever.

These big questions and data-driven discussions will be the agenda for PBLN's 3rd Annual CEO Summit in Washington on "Business Leadership and Public Policy: Inventing a More Sustainable Economy." You can get more information about the agenda and logistics on the PBLN website.

We are an emerging non-profit network of CEOs and other top executives from companies of varying sizes and sectors--united by a commitment to innovation around progressive business and policy ideas about the future--ideas that require deeper engagement by business leaders. Let us know what you think.

(Andrew Tarsy, Executive Director, Progressive Business Leaders Network)