Mass LGTB Chamber of Commerce scores big in Budget 2023, but does the investment add up for taxpayers? • Greylock glass

Just because a cause deserves public funding doesn’t mean a majority of voters would necessarily support it. Enter budget appropriations — provisions inserted into a budget that direct funds to a designated organization or entity without requiring the recipient to be approved through a merit-based or competitive fund allocation process. Election years seem to bring out the best in bringing home the bacon for voters (or potential voters), regardless of party. In a May 26 press release from State Senator Adam Hinds, after aiding rural schools and funding the Berkshire Flyer, a hefty $250,000 for the Massachusetts LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce appears to be the top job. largest added to the Commonwealth’s fiscal year 2023 budget. .

According to the statement, Hinds noted that “approximately $1.7 trillion is generated annually by LGBTQ+-owned businesses.”

US News and World Report pegs the gross state product of Massachusetts at just under $6 billion, so astute readers would be justified in scratching their heads over this colossal estimate.

This staggering sum appears to be based on a 2016 report by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which has not, as far as can be determined, been verified by the US Treasury, State Bureau of Labor Statistics United or any other number. – crisp government body. If based on facts, however, this report, with its blatant price tag of $1.7 trillion figure, would appear to be Exhibit A in the argument why the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce should receive state funding at such extravagant levels. If LGBTQ-owned businesses are such an economic powerhouse, the taxpayers of Mass. should jump at the chance to promote the fortunes of these wealth generators – to the tune of a quarter of a million smackeroos, right?

Not so fast. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Policy Analysis and Development reported in September 2021 that minority-owned businesses (MBEs), in the last year for which data is available, generated just 1 $.7 trillion in revenue nationwide, when all 9.2 million employer and non-employer (classifiable) MBEs were combined. $1.7 trillion coincidence aside, common sense suggests that all minority-owned businesses combined, from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to the Port of Los Angeles, California, will generate more LGBTQ-owned businesses. .

The NGLCC appears to have arrived at this figure by averaging its members’ incomes and projecting on a running total based on an estimated number of LGBTQ-owned businesses in the United States, which, again, did not not been independently verified, as far as I can tell.

The report, however, acknowledges that its members’ annual income range is from $1,707 (less than $2,000 per year) to $180,000,000. With a range like this, likely containing obviously extreme outliers at the top of the scale, using the mean is not a sound methodology. A median, which would be slightly more useful, is not provided.

In a December 7, 2021 Hampshire Daily Gazette piece, Grace Moreno, head of the Massachusetts LGTB Chamber of Commerce, was quoted as saying that approximately 21,000 LGBT-owned businesses operated in Massachusetts. No source data has been offered to support this figure. The organization has less than 400 member companies. Similarly, the entire National The Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce represents less than 1,000 businesses (according to their most recent published figures).

“Our chamber wants to find those 21,000 companies,” Moreno told the Gazette.

Greylock glass, in a May 27 email, reached out to the organization, which was established in 2018, to ask if they’ve encountered any roadblock preventing them from locating more than 387 LGBT-owned businesses in Massachusetts. We also asked how, specifically, the organization plans to use this $250,000 and how it expects this taxpayer investment will benefit the Commonwealth. Split among the six staff members listed on the organization’s website, that slice of pork would represent a portion of $41,666 per person.

The Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce did not respond to our request for comment.

Nor did Senator Adam Hinds’ office return our request for comment, which was emailed the same day.

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