Governor Charlie Baker signed comprehensive economic development legislation into law August 10th, providing up to $1 billion in new investments in communities, workforce training, and innovation across Massachusetts, and deepening the state’s economic competitiveness.
“This legislation unleashes valuable opportunities for investments in the development of revolutionary new technologies and community-based innovation, connecting every region of the Commonwealth to the innovation economy,” said Gov. Baker of An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H. 4569). “By pairing those investments with a growing commitment to workforce development in high-demand fields like advanced manufacturing, computer science and robotics, we will deepen our efforts to build the nation’s most competitive workforce.”
Highlights of the legislation include:
- MassWorks ($500 million capital authorization): Reauthorizes a capital grant program that provides municipalities and other public entities with public infrastructure grants to support economic development and job creation.
- Brownfields Redevelopment Fund ($45 million capital authorization): Moves funding for the state’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund to the capital program, providing a reliable long-term funding stream for a fund that is the Commonwealth’s primary tool for facilitating the redevelopment of contaminated properties.
- Site Readiness Fund ($15 million capital authorization): Advances regional job creation by creating a new fund for site assembly and pre-development activities that support regionally significant commercial or industrial development opportunities.
- Workforce Skills Capital Grants ($45 million): Establishes a new grant program for workforce development training equipment, to strengthen workforce skills, and create strong employment pipelines.
- Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) ($71 million): Provides matching grants to establish public-private applied research institutes around emerging manufacturing technologies.
- Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund ($15 million): Reauthorizes a capital grant program that funds nonprofit, university-led research collaboratives working to commercialize emerging technologies, thereby supporting the development of emerging industry clusters.
- Community Innovation Infrastructure Fund ($15 million): Creates a new fund for making capital grants that support community-based innovation efforts, including co-working spaces, venture centers, maker spaces and artist spaces.
- Digital Health Care Cluster Development: Broadens the statutory charge of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) to include digital health cluster development.
- Angel Investor Tax Credit: Promotes startup activity and job creation in the Gateway Cities, by incentivizing investment in early-stage life sciences and digital health firms.
- Conley Terminal Rehabilitation ($109.5 million): Permits the Massachusetts Port Authority to pursue the reconstruction of South Boston’s Conley Terminal.
- College Savings Tax Deduction: Provides Massachusetts residents with tax deductions for making deposits into prepaid tuition or college savings accounts.
- Economic Development Incentive Program Reforms: Builds accountability in the state’s primary job-creation incentive program by strengthening the link between the issuance of tax credits, and job creation that would not otherwise occur; adds flexibility to the incentive program by eliminating obsolete, formula-driven incentive categories.
- Regional Economic Development Organization Modifications: Shifts the focus of nonprofit regional economic development nonprofits toward systems-based efforts to stimulate economic growth, including strengthening the regional skills pipeline, and executing regional industry cluster development strategies.