The Baker-Polito Administration released a new economic development framework and legislation, An Act Enhancing Opportunities for All, to build on the administration’s efforts to promote economic vitality in our communities and spur economic growth across the state.
This bill serves as the next step forward to bolster Massachusetts’ success, building on the achievements and framework created by Governor Baker’s first economic development bill that was passed by the Legislature in July 2016.
Governor Charlie Baker said the bill “seeks to grow the economy for all regions of the Commonwealth by providing support for small businesses, continuing the successful MassWorks program for Massachusetts’ downtowns and main streets and purchasing more equipment to expand and improve workforce skills training. We look forward to working with the Legislature to create a permanent sales tax holiday, to develop a stronger pipeline of trained employees in manufacturing and technology fields and incentivizing business through tax credits.”
This legislation provides over $610 million in capital authorizations, including $300 million in capital reauthorization for the MassWorks program. Additional capital authorizations include:
- • $100 million for a new regional development program to partner with communities on projects with the potential to create large numbers of jobs and make a significant regional impact
- • $75 million in skills capital grants to fund equipment to expand and improve career technical education programs and programs focused on training and retraining adults in high-demand skills in manufacturing, information technology, and other high growth sectors
- • $50 million to partner with coastal communities to address saltwater dredging needs
- • $50 million to build on the successes of the Seaport Economic Council in stimulating economic development, creating jobs in the maritime economy sector and protecting coastal assets that are vital to achieving these aims
- • $25 million to fund our Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) and provide matching grants to institutions of higher education across the Commonwealth to collaborate with private industry around emerging manufacturing technologies
- • $12.5 million to provide matching grants to the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs for accepted Massachusetts businesses that are seeking to commercialize their innovations
- • $1.25 million to enable community development financial institutions to leverage significant federal funding to support lending for small businesses in need of capital development financial institutions to leverage significant federal funding to support lending for small businesses in need of capital
Lieutenant Governor Polito said the proposal helps the Commonwealth “to better partner with cities and towns. Greater flexibility for communities, housing boards and state agencies will maximize potential economic opportunities, and funding in this legislation will support dredging for our coastal communities and continued support through the Seaport Economic Council for the maritime economy.”
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash called the initiative “an extension of our partnership with many stakeholders, most notably legislators and municipal officials. These leaders have joined our efforts to support broad economic development, from public housing investment and downtown revitalization, to cutting edge research & development that leads to the commercialization of the innovations that result, to building upon our incredibly talented workforce—one of the best in the country.”
Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta the legislation “will help close skills gaps and ensure that the next generation of workers in the Commonwealth has the training and resources they need to access next generation jobs. By focusing on investing in high demand job categories, employers across Massachusetts will continue to benefit from a pool of highly trained workers to meet their growth needs.”
Secretary of Education James Peyser said, “The investments in technology and equipment made through the Skills Capital Grants are already having an impact on our students’ future successes in college and careers, and we are very happy to be able to make these additional investments. The grants enabled schools to support an additional 7,000 students to learn skills in high-demand, growing industries in the Commonwealth.”
Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan said, “By increasing authorizations for successful programs like MassWorks and Skills Capital Grants, this legislation will ensure we can continue to build on the progress the administration has made to unlock economic potential for our communities and in our workforce. A permanent sales tax holiday will also foster economic growth for our local businesses in each community across the Commonwealth.”