BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts House took up Speaker Robert DeLeo’s economic development bill, and the goal is clear.
“Biggest thing we got to do is create jobs, which this bill gets at,” said State Representative Denise Andrews (D-Orange).
The roughly $100 million dollar legislation aims to create thousands of new jobs by boosting precision manufacturing and “big data” in western Massachusetts. $12 million would help Gateway Cities like Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Westfield and Pittsfield bounce back from the Great Recession. Although the bill does help the 26 Gateway Cities and Towns across Massachusetts, lawmakers say cities not on the list need help too.
“It’s a very large spending bill; I’d like to see some of the other cities get some of that money as well. It is our taxpayer dollars, it’d be nice to have other cities and communities that aren’t Gateway Cities get some of that money,” said State Representative Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick).
The bill also dedicates $15 million for vocational-technical schools to help 4,000 workers find jobs in manufacturing or information technology over the next four years.
“This money while it’s not going to be a cure all end all, it’s certainly a good start and I think it’s well within our budgetary means to do that,” said State Representative Angelo Puppolo (D-Springfield).
The state took in more money than was budgeted in fiscal 2014 so programs within the bill would be funded through the state’s surplus. House lawmakers filed 184 amendments to the bill and the debate is still ongoing. 22News will keep you updated on the outcome of the bill.