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Massachusetts House of Representatives issues $3.5 billion economic development bond

Budget Committee Chairman Aaron Michlewitz (right) stands next to House Speaker Ron Mariano after a Democratic caucus at the State House in May. Later this week, the full House will consider a $3.5 billion economic development bond bill that was approved by the Budget Committee on Monday. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)

The state House of Representatives on Thursday released its version of an economic development bond, a $3.5 billion investment to preserve jobs and businesses in Massachusetts.

The bill, titled “An Act to Strengthen Massachusetts' Economic Leadership,” is not much different from the bond issue introduced by Governor Maura Healey earlier this year, but it does include some additional tax initiatives and policy proposals that are dear to lawmakers' hearts, including a plan to name the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center after former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

“The bill includes a series of investments and tax relief aimed at strengthening support for workers and businesses, particularly in the life sciences, clean energy technologies and manufacturing sectors, while placing a greater focus on making Massachusetts more affordable and competitive,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano in a joint statement with House Budget Committee Chairman Aaron Michlewitz and Economic Development Co-Chair Rep. Jerald Parisella.

The bill would provide $500 million in bonds for the Mass Life Science Center to promote the life sciences industry in Massachusetts, $400 million for MassWorks to address municipal infrastructure needs, $250 million for the Mass Impact grant program, $200 million for a Clean Energy Center “to support climate technology research and commercialization across the state,” $200 million for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Technology Center, and $150 million in grants for municipal library projects, among other investments.

The bill, which will be brought before the full House for debate on Thursday, received swift support from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Stephanie Swanson, AIM's executive vice president of government affairs, said the trade group, which represents hundreds of Massachusetts companies, was “proud to support the bill.”

“The bill secures the Commonwealth's competitive advantage as other states seek to attract the life sciences industry. It also extends our lead as a go-to destination in the groundbreaking climate technology sector. In addition, AIM commends the House of Representatives for its holistic approach to economic development by spreading benefits across all regions and providing significant support to our foundational industries,” Swanson said in a statement.

Anna Harden

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