BOSTON – The Senate yesterday, in its latest effort to stimulate job growth and economic advancement in Massachusetts, passed legislation that will assist small businesses and the manufacturing industry, invest in research and development projects and strengthen and reform workforce development efforts, Sen. Richard T. Moore, DUxbridge,
“Supporting small businesses, promoting manufacturing, and working to grow jobs in our area and across the Commonwealth have been amongst my number one priority to improve our state economy this session,” said Sen. Moore, a member of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “In order to regain our footing from the past couple of economically tumultuous years, the Commonwealth must do whatever it can to help businesses regain what they have lost and boost consumer confidence. I am quite confident that this bill will assist in achieve both of
these objectives,” he continued.
Amongst its several other provisions, the “Jobs Bill” establishes a sales tax holiday for
August 11 and 12, making it the seventh year the Commonwealth provides a sales tax exemption for two days and the eighth year with at least one sales-tax-free day.
Sen. Moore was particularly pleased that the bill includes a new infrastructure financing option for economic development based on legislation that he has sponsored along with Douglas Selectman Hal Davis for the past several years. It is a concept utilized in a number of states that allows construction of roads and utilities for a residential, commercial, industrial or mixed use development that would not require any public funding, and would have strong local controls. “This concept will allow projects that will not burden local taxpayers, but will allow for construction of new taxable property and creation of both short-term and long-term jobs,” said the Senator.
According to the National Skills Coalition, middle skills jobs, which require more than
high school but less than a four-year degree, make up the largest part of the Massachusetts’ labor market. To address this need, the bill includes $5 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund and allows the Fund to spend some of its money on grants that address the gap between skills held by workers and the skills needed by
To provide businesses with some additional breathing room as they work to overcome this challenging economic environment, the bill establishes a tax credit equal to the minimum corporate excise tax of $456 for corporations for the corporation’s first three tax years. In January, the Legislature reduced the corporate excise tax to 8 percent from
The bill also extends the Brownfields Tax Credit for two additional years and increases the cap on the cap on the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit to $55 million per year from $50 million.
To promote economic development, the bill establishes and includes $1 million for a community investment grant program that will support community development corporations and community support organizations. Grants will be based on community
investment plans and range from $50,000 to $150,000.
The bill also allows local residents and businesses to work with Community Development Corporations to develop high quality, multi-year business plans. The plans that are identified as most effective in meeting local and state-wide goals for community
economic development will be awarded up to $150,000 in state tax credits per year for three years, with the purpose of securing up to $300,000 in private investment each year.
A percentage of the tax credits will be allocated for rural areas and Gateway Cities.
In addition, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development will be required to create a website to provide information on public and private resources available to small businesses and to promote small businesses in Massachusetts. The bill also includes $250,000 in grant funding to the Small Business Association of New England’s layoff
aversion program to prevent business closure and employee displacement at manufacturing companies.
Recognizing the importance of the manufacturing industry, the bill establishes a Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Futures Program that will provide grants for technical assistance for small and mid-sized manufacturers.
The legislation creates the Energy Conservation Loan Program that will enable MassDevelopment to issue up to $1 billion in triple-A rated bonds to provide low-cost funding for commercial, industrial, retail and mixed-use property owners to make energy efficiency improvements.
The bill also does the following:
Requires that the director of workforce development examine and make ongoing assessments of the effectiveness of the grants issued through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, and requires that each grant recipient submit an
Includes $2 million in funding for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to provide paid internships to technology startups and innovative companies and to establish an entrepreneur and startup venture capital mentoring program;
Creates timelines and publication requirements for the four small business loan review boards, which are required to review small business loan denials that applicants believe were unreasonably denied;
Equalizes quarterly tax payments for corporations and authorizes a transfer of $200 million to the General Fund from the Stabilization Fund, with a reimbursement requirement by December 31, 2014, to account for cash flow
shortfalls as a result of the equalized corporate tax payments;
Requires the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development to establish an Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, which would be responsible for developing and implementing the commonwealth’s manufacturing agenda;
Includes $50 million in funding for the Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund to support matching grants for research and development projects sponsored by universities and research institutions;
Requires the transfer of $4 million from one-time tax settlements to the Smart Growth Housing Trust fund to support projects developed through chapter 40R; and
Authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt regulations and issue authorizations for emergency response related to widespread storm damage.
The Senate bill and the House bill, which passed May 23, will go to a conference committee to produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.
For more information on Sen. Moore’s efforts to support economic development and spur job growth, visit www.senatormoore.com, or follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/senatormoore.