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Keller @ Large: Why Did Fidelity Move Jobs To NH, RI?

BOSTON (CBS) - Governor Patrick is busy posing for publicity photos overseas these days, so it was left to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray yesterday to give the official reaction to the terrible news that Fidelity Investments, a flagship employer of the crucial Massachusetts service sector, is pulling 1100 jobs out of here and sending them to New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Said Murray: "We are disappointed." No argument there, Tim, but the loss of 1100 plum jobs isn't the only thing to be disappointed about.

Keep in mind, these service jobs aren't being outsourced to some ultra-low-cost haven like Bangalore, or even a low-cost state like Texas or North Carolina where many other Massachusetts jobs have fled over the years. They're going just a few miles away over the border to Merrimack, NH and Smithfield, RI.

Listen to Jon's commentary:


Why? Explains State Rep. Steve Levy of Marlboro, where the Fidelity jobs were located: "Massachusetts lacks the competitiveness to compete for jobs. It's the overall business climate: utility costs, workforce costs, unemployment insurance and workers comp."

If all that sounds familiar, it's because that is the same litany of private-sector complaints we've been hearing around here for the past 40 years.

The simple truth is that it's more expensive to do business here than it is in other states, and guess what? In this day and age, many jobs, certainly those created by a financial services company like Fidelity, are highly mobile. The work can be done anywhere.

What's that? Others can't match the natural beauty, culture, and intellectual environment of Massachusetts? Once true, perhaps, but not anymore, and even if it were true, Smithfield and Merrimack are an easy drive to anything Massachusetts has to offer.

So yes, Lieutenant Governor Murray, we're disappointed too. But we're not surprised that a business chose to leave for greener pastures because Massachusetts politicians for decades have failed to fix our crippling competitive disadvantages. Fidelity would probably have done this long ago if the family that founded it wasn't rooted here. Time for Beacon Hill to drop the baby talk and get serious about repairing our job-repellent business climate.

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