Governor Baker Signs $1 Billion Economic Development Legislation

Boston, August 10, 2016, — Gov. Charlie Baker today signed comprehensive economic development legislation into law, providing up to $1 billion in new investments in communities, workforce training, and innovation across Massachusetts, and deepening the state’s economic competitiveness.

The new economic development law, An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H. 4569), advances job creation by expanding the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to building a skilled workforce and connecting residents to economic opportunities, strengthening community and housing development efforts, and investing in the emerging technologies that will underpin the Commonwealth’s economic future.

“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 Governor Charlie Baker. “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. I am proud this bipartisan legislation will support the growth of our state’s nationally-leading innovation economy, and help develop the jobs of tomorrow.”

“Strong communities are the cornerstone of our Commonwealth, and this economic development legislation provides a robust set of tools that will allow state government to partner with communities, and advance our common goals,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “By providing critical funds for public infrastructure, site cleanup, and Gateway City redevelopment, this legislation will unlock local and regional economic development priorities, and connect citizens across Massachusetts to economic opportunity.”

“This bill will help our communities and businesses work together to build our economy,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “More and better jobs are on the way.”

“The 2016 economic development law will help Massachusetts remain a national leader and position us for growth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “The programs in this bill complement one another and, in doing so, support residents from all backgrounds, encourage growth in every region of the Commonwealth, and provide opportunities for businesses in diverse industries. Additionally, I believe the college savings plan will provide vital support to our students and families as they prepare for a bright future.”

An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development provides new capital funding for local infrastructure, Brownfields site cleanup, Gateway Cities development, site assembly and site readiness, workforce development, emerging technologies, and community-based innovation. The legislation also reforms the state’s smart growth housing toolbox, streamlines the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program, and allows for the expansion of Boston’s Conley cargo terminal. And it updates obsolete liquor laws, ensuring that Massachusetts farmer-wineries will continue to be able to sell their products on their own premises.

“This legislation reflects the collaborative spirit that drives our economic development efforts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “It is the result of more than a year of conversations with scores of legislators and administration officials, as well as thousands of conversations with business leaders, municipal officials, educators, community advocates and other stakeholders. And it reflects our shared vision of creating economic opportunities, economic prosperity, and economic mobility throughout the Commonwealth.”

“The Workforce Skills Capital grants established in this legislation will make a vital difference to many of our educational institutions across the state, which are training and educating tomorrow’s workforce,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald L. Walker, II. “These grants will enable vocational schools, career and technical schools, community colleges and other organizations focused on skill-building to purchase the most up-to-date equipment. These investments will lead to more skilled workers who are able to get good-paying jobs, and help businesses meet their increasing needs for a pipeline of trained workers.”

“This new Workforce Skills Capital Grant program will help give schools and community colleges the equipment and infrastructure they need to train students and current workers in high need occupations on the latest technology,” said Education Secretary Jim Peyser. “We’ve already seen the impact this year’s capital investments have had on our ability to increase institutional collaboration and industry partnerships and we are thrilled to be able to expand this critical program thanks to this important piece of legislation.”

“Smart growth housing helps build stronger communities, and stronger families,” said Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay. “This legislation contains several powerful new levers for supporting the creation of workforce housing in all types of communities, from Gateway Cities, to town centers and urban neighborhoods, to suburban communities. I’m proud that this legislation will help working families across Massachusetts access more moderately-priced housing.”

An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development is organized around four main themes: community development, workforce development, innovation, and economic competitiveness. Highlights of the legislation include:

Community Development

  • 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.
  • Transformative Development Initiative ($45 million capital authorization): Supports the revitalization of Gateway Cities, by enabling MassDevelopment to make long-term patient equity investments in key properties in Transformative Development Initiative districts, with the goal of accelerating the maturation of private real estate markets.
  • 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.
  • Massachusetts Food Trust Program ($6.4 million capital authorization): Capitalizes a financing program to support rural agriculture and increase food security in low- and moderate-income communities.
  • Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund ($15 million capital authorization): Moves funding for the state’s Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund to the capital program, providing a reliable long-term funding stream for a fund that is the Commonwealth’s primary tool for facilitating smart growth housing development.
  • Starter Home Zoning: Incentivizes the creation of smaller, denser, and more affordable single-family homes by creating a new starter home option under the Chapter 40R smart growth housing program.
  • Housing-Related Tax Increment Financing: Supports housing production in town centers and urban neighborhoods by reforming a seldom-used local-only smart growth tax incentive program, removing onerous regulations, and allowing communities to set their own affordability requirements.
  • Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) Reform:Supports the development of market-rate housing in Gateway Cities by allowing credits to support new construction, and by raising the formula that sets housing development incentives.

Workforce Development

  • Workforce Skills Capital Grants ($45 million capital authorization): Establishes a new grant program for workforce development training equipment, to strengthen workforce skills, and create strong employment pipelines.

The Massachusetts Innovation Initiative

  • Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) ($71 million capital authorization): Provides matching grants to establish public-private applied research institutes around emerging manufacturing technologies. The state’s capital funds will be matched with federal and private industry funds.
  • Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund ($15 million capital authorization): 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 capital authorization): 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.

Economic Competitiveness

  • Conley Terminal Rehabilitation ($109.5 million capital authorization): Permits the Massachusetts Port Authority to pursue the reconstruction of South Boston’s Conley Terminal, including berth construction and crane procurement, to accommodate new, larger cargo ships.
  • College Savings Tax Deduction: Provides Massachusetts residents with tax deductions for making deposits into prepaid tuition or college savings accounts.
  • Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) 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.
  • Liquor Law Reforms: Protects the ability of farmer-wineries, farmer-breweries, and farmer-distilleries to serve their products on their own premises; supports consumer choice and access to markets by allowing retailers who sell alcohol to also serve alcohol in in-house cafés; liberalizes restrictions on the sale of alcohol around certain holidays.
  • Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) 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.
  • Fantasy Sports: Legalizes daily fantasy sports contests operated in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Attorney General.