On June 26th, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a virtual hearing on Governor Baker’s 2020 economic development bill, H.4529. This legislation was originally filed in March before the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view a summary and the text of the original legislation here.
At the hearing, Secretary Kennealy previewed a series of proposed changes the administration is seeking to make to the bill including: proposing a $275 million COVID-19 recovery package as an update to the original $240 million bill offered before the pandemic with targeted investments in three buckets: housing, community development, and business competitiveness. Note, funding included in the proposed legislation is only for bonding authority.
The updated proposal from the Baker administration would shift funding included in the initial bill to promote more equity in economic development including:
- An additional $15 million for neighborhood stabilization investments in blighted and distressed homes ($40 million total)
- An additional $10 million for Community Development Financial Institutions ($35 million total)
- An additional $10 million for grants to support micro businesses through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation ($15 million total).
- Reduces the authorization for transit-oriented housing from $50 million to $35 million.
In addition to hearing from Secretary Kennealy, the Committee heard testimony from the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, and the Urban League of Massachusetts, among others. You can view a recording of the live-steamed hearing here.
MWA submitted testimony which can be viewed here. In addition, MWA joined its colleagues in the Workforce Solutions Group in submitting additional testimony which can be found here.
With the end of formal sessions approaching on July 31st, the Legislature will need to act quickly or agree to take up additional legislation after the end of formal sessions. On Monday, July 13th, the Committee reported out an economic development bill with a few changes. MWA is in the process of analyzing the updated legislation. Check back soon for updates!