Rep. Josh Cutler joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass an economic development bill that will enhance the state’s position as a global economic competitor and support residents through education programs.
For the first time, this legislation creates an education tax incentive program (529 plan) which will allow single filers to take a $1,000 tax deduction on contributions to college savings accounts.
“This is a smart piece of legislation that lays the groundwork for a new era of growth in Massachusetts,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “The diverse programs included in this bill are designed to complement one another and, in doing so, support residents from all backgrounds and businesses of many different industries. I’m particularly excited about the college savings plan and believe it will be a boon to our students and families.”
“This legislation will provide an economic boost to Massachusetts,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Haverhill). “The bill provides $500 million to support the Mass Works grant program which will produce new jobs and help to unlock the economic development potential in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. The bill also, smartly, focuses on targeted investments and programs that support our economic strengths and will ensure that we continue to keep our state moving in the right direction.”
Recognizing the unique role that early-growth companies and emerging sectors have in revitalizing the economy, this bill includes numerous provisions to support the innovation ecosystem including:
- Creates the Angel Investor Tax Credit to incentivize investment and foster growth in newly formed start-ups in Massachusetts. Investors are eligible for a 20 percent credit of the qualifying angel investment and 30 percent if the recipient business is located in a Gateway City.
- Expands the Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) program and lifts the cap on the number of projects allowed per municipality. This program helped spur the dynamic growth of Boston’s Innovation District.
- Massachusetts is uniquely positioned for a leadership in the burgeoning e-health cluster because of the state’s preeminence in the technology and health care sectors. Therefore, this bill establishes the Digital eHealth Institute which will be run by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in coordination with the Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
- Adds fantasy sports to the list of allowed gaming activities under Massachusetts law and establishes a commission to conduct a study on the regulation of fantasy contests.
- Authorizes funding to launch the Cybersecurity and Data Analytics Technology Department & Training Center. This organization will bring together universities, government and private industry participants to bolster the Commonwealth’s data analytics and cybersecurity sectors.
The legislation takes multiple steps to further develop talent, support students and keep graduates in Massachusetts. It authorizes:
- $45 million for Workforce Skills Capital Grants;
- $71 million the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Funding;
- $15 million for the Scientific and Technology R&D Matching Grant Fund;
- $30 million for the Advanced Manufacturing, Technology and Hospitality Training Trust Fund;
- $2.4 million for the Early College High School Initiative, a program that encourages partnerships between regional school districts and institutions of public higher education.
This bill includes numerous provisions to spur community growth and infrastructure improvements, including a $500 million authorization for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. It also authorizes:
- $15 million for the Innovation Infrastructure Fund, a new grant and loan program aimed at spurring entrepreneurship across the state, particularly through the use of co-working spaces and innovation centers;
- $45 million for the Brownsfields Redevelopment Fund;
- $45 million for the Transformative Development Fund, a program that makes equity investments in major development programs in Gateway Cities.
The bill also authorizes funds for the Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund, creates a new local option so a community can develop “starter home zoning districts”, and reforms the Housing Development Incentive Program.