BOSTON– State Senator Brian A. Joyce, Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, announced committee passage of an ambitious jobs bill designed to boost economic development, save energy and protect the environment, and put more Massachusetts residents to work.
“The Senate bonding committee’s version of the Jobs Bill is another positive step toward the commonwealth’s economic turnaround,” said Joyce. “The measure supports innovation, focuses on community and workforce development and uses tax dollars wisely, offering targeted tax relief to spur growth and create jobs. The House of Representatives previously passed a strong bill, and I’m confident that we have strengthened the measure considerably in a manner that could create an additional 10,000 jobs.”
Senator Joyce authored two key initiatives of the bill. The first creates the Energy Conservation Loan Program which will enable MassDevelopment to issue up to $1 billion in triple-A rated bonds that will provide low-cost funding for commercial, industrial and retail property owners to make energy efficient retro-fits to their properties. Experts estimate over 10,000 jobs could be created by this measure, which would provide jobs for the hard-hit building trades, who in turn would support local building suppliers and their employees. The measure would also allow employers to redirect the funds saved on energy expenditures toward creating more jobs.
Joyce’s second measure would allow the formation of Benefit Corporations in Massachusetts. This provision would allow B-Corporations to voluntarily hold themselves to high responsibilities in terms of renewable energy and environmentally-friendly business practices. By balancing their fiduciary obligations with public benefit, Massachusetts businesses will be more competitive and attractive in the global marketplace and, over time, free up energy savings capital for more investment, growth and new jobs.
The bill, H.4119, takes a number of additional steps in key areas to promote economic growth and job creation, including:
• Creating the Innovation Investment Fund which would provide matching grants for research and development projects in the commonwealth and increased the funding to $50 million, double the House recommendation. It will also offer matching grants for research and development projects sponsored by the commonwealth’s world-class universities and research institutions. Eligible projects will have to secure at least $3 for every $1 of state money committed.
• Supporting the Local Infrastructure Development Program which provides our municipalities a new tool to leverage private funding for infrastructure improvements necessary to support economic development projects.
• Preparing our workers for the job market through the creation of the Talent Pipeline Program, which provides paid internships at technology and innovation start-ups, recapitalizes the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, and allows for the creation of Regional Centers of Excellence at community colleges aligned with high-growth sectors and regional strengths.
• Creating a welcoming business environment through tax incentives such as extending the Brownfields Tax Credit for cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated areas, increasing the ceiling on the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, streamlining the Economic Development Incentive Program and establishing the Community Investment Tax Credit that will promote economic recovery across the commonwealth through community-led development and public-private partnerships.
“This bill gives businesses advanced resources to continue to grow, innovate and compete in our worldwide economy,” said Joyce. “The initiatives we have added will spur jobs in the building trades, an area hard hit by job losses, and reduce property owners’ energy expenses, giving them more discretionary income to invest in more jobs.”