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Massachusetts Makes $1B Investment in Community Development, Workforce Training, Innovation

August 11, 2016

On August 10, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an extensive economic development bill (HB 4569) into law. The new economic development law, An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development, will provide up to $1 billion with the intent of “building a skilled workforce, connecting residents to economic opportunities, strengthening community and housing development efforts, and investing in the emerging technologies that will drive Massachusetts’ economic prosperity in the future.” Among the items included in the bill are $71 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative, $15 million for the Scientific and Technology Research Development Matching Grant Fund, $15 million for the Community Innovation Infrastructure Fund, and an angel investor tax credit.

While the bill took until after midnight on the last day of the state’s legislative session to receive approval from state lawmakers, the final version of the bill received almost unanimous support with a 156-0 vote in the Massachusetts House and a 38-1 vote in the state’s Senate, according to Masslive.

Among the $1 billion in proposed funding, the state will make several large capital commitments to advance community development, workforce training, and innovation including:

  • MassWorks $500 million for the reauthorization of the capital grant program over the next five years that provides municipalities and other public entities with public infrastructure grants to support economic development and job creation;
  • Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) – $71 million to provide matching grants to establish public-private applied research institutes around emerging manufacturing technologies;
  • Workforce Skills Capital Grants – $45 million to establish a new grant program for workforce development training equipment, to strengthen workforce skills, and create strong employment pipelines at career and technical schools;
  • Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund – $15 million to reauthorize a capital grant program that funds nonprofit, university-led research collaboratives working to commercialize emerging technologies, thereby supporting the development of emerging industry clusters; and,
  • Community Innovation Infrastructure Fund – $15 million to create a new fund that will make grants to support community-based innovation efforts including co-working spaces, venture centers, maker spaces and artist spaces.

In addition to these capital commitments, the new law also includes several other efforts to spur economic development by redefining the role of several state state-supported nonprofits. Under the new law, Massachusetts eHealth Institute’s (MeHI) statutory charge will be broadened to include digital health cluster development. The Massachusetts Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) program will be modified to better serve the needs of regions across the state. The modifications will shift the focus of the state-supported 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.

The state also will establish an angel tax credit of between 20 percent and 30 percent to promote startup activity and job creation by early stage life sciences and digital health firms. To be eligible for the 20 percent tax credit, the investor must invest in a "qualifying business" that has 20 or fewer full-time employees and annual gross revenues of equal to or less than $500,000. For the 30 percent tax credit, the investment must be made in a gateway municipality. Investors can invest up to $125,000 per qualifying business per year, with a $250,000 maximum for each qualifying business, according to the bill. The maximum tax credit cannot exceed $50,000 in a year. Read the governor’s office press release…

 

Massachusettsworkforce, state tbed, clusters, angel capital, tax credits, regions, manufacturing