Section 7H1/2. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
''Actual economic growth benchmark,'' the actual annual percentage change in the per capita state's gross state product, as established by the secretary of administration and finance under subsection (c).
''Growth rate of potential gross state product'', the long-run average growth rate of the commonwealth's economy, excluding fluctuations due to the business cycle.
(b) On or before January 15, the secretary of administration and finance shall meet with the house and senate committees on ways and means and shall jointly develop a growth rate of potential gross state product for the ensuing calendar year which shall be agreed to by the secretary and the committees. In developing a growth rate of potential gross state product the secretary and the committees, or subcommittees of the committees, may hold joint hearings on the economy of the commonwealth; provided, however, that in the first year of the term of office of a governor who has not served in the preceding year, the parties shall agree to the growth rate of potential gross state product k not later than January 31 of that year. The secretary and the committees may agree to incorporate this hearing into any consensus tax revenue forecast hearing held under section 5B. The growth rate of potential gross state product shall be included with the consensus tax revenue forecast joint resolution under said section 5B and placed before the members of the general court for their consideration. The joint resolution, if passed by both branches of the general court, shall establish the growth rate of potential gross state product to be used by the health policy commission to establish the health care cost growth benchmark under section 9 of chapter 6D.
(c) Not later than September 15 of each year, the secretary shall report the actual economic growth benchmark for the previous calendar year, based on the best information available at the time. The information shall be provided to the health policy commission established under chapter 6D.