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Date: 8/12/2016 8:37 AM EDT

Economic Development

Governor Baker has signed economic development legislation passed in the waning hours of the legislative session.  It's a sweeping bill that covers a lot of ground.  We'll see important investments and changes in Community Development, Workforce Development, the Massachusetts Innovation Initiative, and Economic Competitiveness.  Here are some of the major provisions:

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.

Posted by Neponset Strategies, LLP

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