Afternoon Briefs: $3.5B Eco Dev Bill | FERC Nominees | Abigail Adams in Senate

Gov. Maura Healey on Friday filed her long-promised economic development bill, a $3.5 billion plan that is expected to demand the attention of House and Senate Democrats in the five months left for formal sessions this year.


The legislation incorporates $2.8 billion in bond authorizations, including $1.75 million for existing programs and $1 billion for new capital initiatives. It also recommends $750 million in tax-related programs, including incentives for the life sciences and climate tech sectors.


Healey visited Somerville for a press conference Thursday to hype aspects of her vision, including plans to reauthorize the state’s life sciences initiative at $1 billion for another decade, and launch a new $1 billion, 10-year climate tech initiative.


Healey is also proposing $100 million to fund an Applied AI Hub, $75 million for a Mass. TechHub, $25 million for a robotics investment program, and $25 million for a Business Build Capital Program to support improvements like energy efficiency.

The bill proposes $400 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, $100 million for the Rural Development Fund, $100 million for the Seaport Economic Council, $99 million for flexible grants to support advanced manufacturing, $50 million for the Cultural Facilities Fund and $40 million for Destination Development Grants.


The governor also proposes an inspection and testing system for public electric vehicle charging stations in the bill, as well as changes to the home improvement contractor law to improve consumer protections and access to funds, and a pilot program geared toward diversifying the businesses that compete for public construction contracts.

The bill also includes “important policy updates,” Healey wrote in her filing letter, to increase diversity on non-profit boards, extend state and local permits to allow more time for approved projects to obtain financing, and to “reform the expedited permitting statute and the way that local priority development sites are approved.”


The legislation also calls for a new career pathway for foreign-trained physicians, and would create a statewide internship tax credit program to benefit companies that recruit interns from Massachusetts-based colleges. A pilot program, funded at $10 million per year, would offer $5,000 or 50 percent of wages paid — whichever is less — per intern, according to a policy brief.

Healey also signed executive orders to create a Cultural Policy Development Advisory Council to support and grow the arts and culture sector. She’s also established a Public Construction Projects Advisory Council, tasked with making recommendations to alleviate barriers for “small, emerging, and diverse Massachusetts businesses in public construction projects.”



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