Joint Committee Advances Economic development bill

On Friday July, 15th the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies reported out the Governor’s economic development bill favorably, as amended. You can view the full text of the updated bill here.

The bill has been sent to the House Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets committee, who held a written-testimony only hearing on July 17th. With formal sessions set to end on July 31st, the House and Senate have a little over two weeks to take up this legislation.

The amended legislation is over 80 pages but a few highlights of importance:

Bonding Authority:

  • $5 million (7002-8032): For grants and technical assistance to be made to municipalities and regional applicants to support planning and locally-driven initiative related to community development, housing production, workforce training and economic opportunities, childcare and early education initiatives, and climate resilience initiatives.
  • $15 million (7002-8000): For a Mass Development program relating to site assembly, site assessment, pre-development and marketing activities that enhance a site’s readiness for commercial, industrial or mixed-use development.
  • $35 million (7002-8001): For Mass Growth Capital Corporation to provide grants to small business lenders (CDFIs) to serve entrepreneurs in underserved populations with financial services, technical assistance, and/or credit building opportunities.
  • $5 million (7002-8002): For Massachusetts Broadband Incentive Fund for capital repairs and improvements to broadband infrastructure owned by Mass Tech.
  • $10 million (7002-8003): For Mass Tech for matching grants that support collaboration among manufacturers and institutions of higher education, nonprofits, and other public or quasi-public entities and are inline with the strategic goals and priorities of the advanced manufacturing collaborative.
  • $45 million (7002-8004): For projects receiving assistance form the Technology Research and Development and Innovation Fund.
  • $10 million (7002-8027): For a competitive program of grants and other financial assistance to support economic development, job creation and housing, and climate resilience initiatives in order to promote economic opportunity and prosperity in small towns or rural areas.
  • $15 million (7002-8028): For Mass Growth Capital Corporation to provide matching grants to low-and moderate-income entrepreneurs to acquire, expand, improve or lease a facility, to purchase lease equipment, or to meet other capital needs of a business with not more than 20 employees and annual revenues not exceeding $2,500, 000. Preference will be given to businesses located in low-or-moderate income areas or owned by women, veterans, minorities or immigrants, and not less than $5 million will be reserved for minority-owned businesses.
  • $10 million (7002-8029): For a competitive grant program administered by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism to improve facilities and destinations visited by in-state and out-of-state travelers.
  • $40 million (7002-8031): For a program to provide assistance to projects that will improve, rehabilitate or develop blighted, abandoned, vacant or underutilized properties to achieve the public purposes of eliminating blight, increasing housing production, supporting economic development projects, increasing the number of commercial buildings accessible to persons with disabilities, and conserving national resources through the targeted rehabilitation and reuse of vacant and underutilized property.
  • $35 million (7004-0059): For grants and loans to accelerate and support the creation of low-and moderate-income housing in close proximity to transit nodes.
  • $10 million (7004-0064): For financial assistance to accelerate and support the creation and preservation of sustainable and climate resilient affordable multifamily housing.
  • $40 million (7004-0065): For cities and downs, or agencies, boards, commissions, authorizes, departments or instrumentalities within cities or towns, or to community development corporations or nonprofit organizations, to assist in the revitalization of neighborhoods and communities with properties in lighted or substandard conditions.

Other initiatives include:

  • Businesses changes –
    • Creates a more focused, coordinated, and targeted outreach for EOHED by making changes to various agencies under the Secretariat, including changes to the Massachusetts office of businesses development.
    • Better alignments and coordination of programs.
    • Focus on small businesses, especially those owned by women, minorities, and veterans.
  • Workforce –
    • Better align training providers with employer needs and ensure that students are learning valuable kills.
    • Focus on manufacturing, trades, technology, and life sciences.
    • Amends the apprenticeship tax credit program to include expansion into industries new to apprenticeship that EOLWD identifies as critical to a regional labor market economy.

Note – the committee removed the language on the Governor’s Housing Choice legislation and added in language around Patent Trolls and Bad Faith Patent Infringement.

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