July 9, 2018

Mass. legislators to take up Baker's $610M economic development bill

Photo | State House News Service
Gov. Charlie Baker

With just over three weeks left for formal sessions, the Legislature is ready to begin advancing its version of Gov. Charlie Baker's $610 million economic development bill (H 4297), which the governor filed in April.

During a hearing on the bill in March, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash said the legislation reflects priorities of lawmakers, based on the Baker administration's conversations with them, and includes funds for dredging, broadband, small business assistance and public infrastructure projects.

The Legislature in late June approved a bill making an August sales tax holiday a permanent occasion, but in that legislation failed to address a sales tax holiday for this summer. The House is expected to add tax holiday language, including dates of the tax relief weekend, to its economic development bill.

House Ways and Means Committee members have been asked to vote by 11 a.m. on the committee's economic development bill (H 4592). House leaders plan to pass the bill on Tuesday and it will then move to the Senate for a likely committee redraft, amendments, debate and passage there.

The House bill includes a $100 million authorization for mitigation or contributions toward costs asociated with infrastructure improvements designed to increase the competetiveness of the Raymond L. Flynn Cruiseport in South Boston, including changes to accommodate large cruise ships.

A new joint rule this session requires bills that require formal negotiations between the branches to be placed before conference committees by July 17, or next Tuesday. The rule appears intended to help prevent some of the chaos that has characterized the frantic finishes to end-of-July formal sessions

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