A scaled-down economic development bill is gaining momentum

The latest proposal would cost $593.9-million-dollars

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — State lawmakers are working on a bill to spur economic development in Massachusetts.

A scaled-down version of Governor Charlie Baker’s economic development bill is making its way through the legislature this week. Governor Baker told 22News, “I never expected it to get through the legislature and back to our desk without changes and modifications.”

The economic development bill is loaded with tax credits and grants to help attract businesses to Massachusetts, and in turn create jobs. The latest version calls for $594-million dollars in spending over three years. It’s a significant change from the Governor’s five-year, $900-million dollar plan.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash argues that a five-year plan would give cities and towns more financial security when planning large-scale projects.

He said, “It is far better to have a longer authorization so that as we’re telling a community, if you get planning board approval, if you get the developer on board, your application would be a stronger application for a future round.”

The $594-million-dollars would come from the sale of bonds, money borrowed to pay for large infrastructure projects. Worthington state Representative Stephen Kulik told 22News that it might sound like a lot of money, but he believes it’ll pay off in the long run.

“It stimulates the economy; it generates more economic activity which results in higher revenue numbers through sales or employment taxes and so forth,” said Rep. Kulik.

The economic development bill also includes several programs to help connect the unemployed with job training.

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