Mass. Democrats Push Forward Gov. HEALEY’s $3.5 Billion ‘Climate Change’ ‘Development’ Bill

Committee Advances $3.5 Billion Eco-Dev Bill

New $1 Billion Climate Tech Program Left Intact In Economic Development Committee Redraft


Sen. Finegold, Rep. Parisella
Sen. Barry Finegold and Rep. Jerald Parisella, co-chairs of the Joint Economic Development Committee, listen to testimony from Gov. Maura Healey on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JUNE 5, 2024…..Gov. Maura Healey’s $3.5 billion economic development bill that provides major investments in life sciences, climate technology, artificial intelligence and other critical sectors has cleared a legislative committee.

The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies on Tuesday reported out favorably a $3.51 billion redraft (H 4722) of Healey’s bill (H 4459), a spokesperson for co-chair Sen. Barry Finegold told the News Service.

The committee held a public hearing on the “Mass Leads Act” on May 7, when Healey spoke about her strategy to keep half a million new graduates in Massachusetts and staunch the exodus of young adults who are leaving the Bay State due to rising costs of living. Healey says her bill is “essential to building an economy that is equitable, affordable and competitive.”

Finegold said the 150-page bill is largely the same as the one that Healey filed on March 1, but said revisions are likely as the bill makes its way to the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets and then to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“It’s the beginning of this bill, and I’m sure some things will stay in, some things may not,” Finegold told the News Service Wednesday. “But I think it’s important that now the members also have an opportunity to weigh in because this is a massive bill that will have widespread implications on the commonwealth, so we definitely want as much input on the bill as possible.”

The bill features a $1 billion, 10-year investment in the climate technology, including $300 million in tax incentives, and Healey delivered her climate tech pitch Tuesday at a conference that brought clean energy experts, researchers and investors together this week in Boston.

Healey has also proposed a $1 billion investment to reauthorize the life sciences initiative, which includes $350 million in tax incentives.

The committee maintained those major initiatives, while adding two $5 million bond authorizations for alternative protein investments to keep up with an increasing global demand for meat consumption, Finegold’s spokesperson said. That includes authorizations for an equipment grant program for alternative protein companies, as well as bonding for early-stage businesses, the spokesperson said.

“Climate change is real, and obviously one of the biggest reasons for that is methane, and we have to understand there’s also potentially in the future a need for alternative meats, alternative ways people can get proteins. And I think this is something that is really early on and we can be a real leader in this industry,” Finegold said, as he invoked the plant-based Impossible Burger as an example. “I think Massachusetts could be a leader, and we’re going to need to really start to invest in and help these companies.”

Co-chair Rep. Jerry Parisella said the panel, which had until Friday to take action on Healey’s proposal, made a “few tweaks” to the legislation and added a “few provisions,” including modernizing the oversight of combat sports. Parisella did not return calls for an interview Wednesday.

Finegold’s spokesperson said the committee made some “technical” changes to Healey’s proposal, including adjusting the structure of live theater tax credit and clarifying provisions for electric vehicle station inspections. The panel also added a provision that looks to regulate the oversight of combat sports for young adults under age 18, Finegold said.

“When you look at other states like New York and North Carolina, similar states that share our values, they’re putting a lot more money per capita in economic development than we are, and I don’t think we can be complacent,” Finegold said, echoing the governor’s familiar talking point. “I think it’s super important that the bonding committee really make sure they feel comfortable with the authorizations because we have incredible bond ratings in the commonwealth, and we want to make sure we continue that.”


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