Economic Development Conference Report approved.

The conference report on the economic development bill has been filed and approved by both branches. It includes a number of mostly small dollar measures to stimulate business and innovation and to connect people with jobs.

It does include a sales tax holiday, but does not include the bottle bill.

Click here for the full text of the economic development conference report.  Click here for the highlights prepared by the Senate Economic Development Committee. Click here for my previous post about the Senate version of the bill.

See below for the official prss release from the Senate President’s office.

Senate, House Approve Final Economic Development and Jobs Legislation
Strengthens Innovation Economy, Invests in Workforce and Infrastructure

BOSTON – The Legislature today sent final legislation to the Governor that implements strategically-focused economic development policies to make Massachusetts more competitive by improving the Commonwealth’s innovation economy, promoting economic prosperity through infrastructure investments and streamlined permitting, facilitating the expansion of new and existing businesses, and training our workforce for the future.


“This legislation will help us support and invest in our fast-growing core industries to ensure our continued growth,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “This effort focuses on some of our top priorities, addressing the needs of our workforce and providing critical support to our small businesses and the manufacturing industry. Massachusetts is already home to a competitive economic climate and this bill marks another step forward toward promoting economic development in the Commonwealth.”


“I commend Chairman Joseph Wagner, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, the conferees, and all of my colleagues in the Legislature for delivering this much-needed jobs legislation to Governor Patrick,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Creating jobs and improving innovation and technology in the Commonwealth have been atop the House’s to-do list since the beginning of my speakership and I’m so proud to say that this bill lays the framework for economic growth by establishing a friendly environment in the Commonwealth for small businesses, start-ups, future entrepreneurs, manufacturers and others.”


“The legislature has once again committed to making job growth a priority for Massachusetts,” Senator Gale D. Candaras (D-Wilbraham) said. “The policies and funding in the Jobs Bill will assist businesses, cut red tape, and encourage entrepreneurs to make Massachusetts home.”


“This legislation enhances the economic climate and fosters job creation through targeted investments and important reforms,” said House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Joseph F. Wagner (D-Chicopee). “By investing in our workforce, improving public infrastructure, and strengthening the innovation economy, this bill positions Massachusetts well for continued economic growth.”


“We have worked meticulously on this bill and have come up with a lot of very good, very important targeted investments,” said Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre). “As our economy starts to turn around, we need to continue to make smart decisions about the future of this Commonwealth.  This bill supports plans for economic development and future job creation, while also focusing on the immediate needs of our existing workforce and small businesses.”


“This legislation is a great example of our commitment to sustaining the Commonwealth’s position as a leader with respect to job creation,” said House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill). “It is critical that we continue to provide innovative and thoughtful investments to retain and encourage employment here in the Commonwealth and further spur economic development.”


“I am so pleased with the work this committee has done to create a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to provide much needed economic growth in the Commonwealth,” said Minority Whip Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham). “As hard-working families and individuals throughout Massachusetts continue to struggle financially, we as a legislature need to promote Massachusetts business, stimulate job growth and provide economic opportunities that will bring the Commonwealth’s economy back to a position of strength and prosperity.”


“As I speak with people around my district, jobs continue to be the focus of my constituents,” said State Representative Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge). “As a small business owner, I have a great appreciation for how jobs are created, and I am grateful and honored to have been selected to serve on this conference committee.”


This legislation makes investments in infrastructure through the creation of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, which will serve as a one-stop-shop for infrastructure funding, thus simplifying the process for municipalities and enabling the state to allocate the funds in the most efficient manner. Additionally, given the recent success of Boston’s Innovation District, this bill makes more funding available for project financing via the I-cubed program.


In an effort to further strengthen the innovation economy in Massachusetts, this bill aims to prime the workers of tomorrow through the Innovation Investment Fund and the Talent Pipeline Program.


The Innovation Investment Fund, which will offer matching grants to research and development projects sponsored by the state’s world-class universities and research institutions, will put Massachusetts ahead of others on the front of innovation and economic development.


The Talent Pipeline Program allows students and young innovators to get a head start on their future by matching stipends for interns at technology and innovation start-ups. These early connections will make for a strong innovation economy in the long term.


Additionally, the legislation provides for a recapitalization of the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund with a focus on “middle skill” jobs through collaboration between public educational institutions, workforce investment boards, and local employers.


This legislation also encourages economic growth by expanding expedited local permitting, which will enable communities to use the Chapter 43D local option program to promote residential development in addition to commercial and mixed-use development that are currently allowed by law.


Realizing that small businesses are the lifeblood of our Commonwealth, this bill provides financial support and a new online resource for owners. The bill first builds on the state’s already-strong commitment to small businesses by authorizing PRIM to invest at least $100 million in institutions that make capital available to small businesses and early-stage companies. And this bill also creates the Small Business Online Portal, which is a one-stop-shop for small-business owners looking for help or information.


Other provisions of the bill include:


  • Establishes a sales tax holiday for August 11th and 12th, making it the seventh year the Commonwealth provides a sales tax exemption for two days and the eighth year with at least one sales-tax-free day;
  •  Creates a new Local Infrastructure Development Program that gives municipalities a new tool for leveraging private funding to finance infrastructure improvements needed to support economic development projects;
  •  Establishes a Massachusetts Creative Economy Network tasked with creating a mentoring network, developing certification for creative economy businesses and attracting private investment to creative economy businesses;
  • Changes District Improvement Financing making it easier for cities and towns to use;
  • Extends Brownfield tax credits for two additional years (until 2015);
  • Extends for another two years state and local permits held by any developer who has been unable to proceed with their project because of tight credit markets;
  • Increases the annual cap on the state Historic Rehabilitation tax credit from $50 million to $60 million;
  • Transfers $4 million from one-time settlements to the Rainy Day Fund to go to the Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund;
  • Provides $250,000 for a competitive grant program through the Small Business Association of New England that averts layoffs at manufacturing companies;
  • Creates a Manufacturing Grant Program that will support small and mid-sized enterprises;
  • Creates a Community Investment Grant Program that seeks to promote long-term public/private partnerships at the community level by providing a special donation tax credit for contributions made to selected community improvement efforts. This program will be run as a $1.5M grant program in 2013 and a community investment tax credit program through 2019; and
  • ·         Creates a new minimum corporate tax credit in the amount of the corporate minimum payment of $456, available to companies in their first three years of filing.



Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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