State House Report: Around Midnight Legislature's Final Formal Session Delivers "Huge" Gains for CDCs!

On Sunday July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature held its last formal meeting of the 2015 – 16 legislative session, and the House and Senate completed action on several major initiatives.  The most important legislation for MACDC and its members was the comprehensive economic development bill, which passed at around midnight.  MACDC has been working with our partners and allied representatives and senators to advance many important policy priorities in this bill, and we are pleased to report that nearly all of our requests and recommendations were included in the final Conference Agreement that was sent to Governor Baker’s desk.  We have been in regular contact with Administration officials at each stage of the legislation’s development and eagerly await Governor Baker’s final signature, so that we can pursue the next objectives, which will be to help design and implement several of these important new initiatives.  We are very pleased with the legislative outcome for MACDC’s priority interests in the 2015 – 2016 legislative session and grateful to all of our CDC members who have helped us to advance our two-year advocacy and policy agenda.

Highlights:  An Act Relative to Job Creation, Workforce Development and Infrastructure Investment (H4569) includes definitive language to advance three core MACDC priorities: (1) to improve the administration of the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program, (2) to provide a $45 million capital authorization for the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, and (3) to provide $6 million of capital for the Massachusetts Food Trust. 

The Conferees retained a House adopted amendment, sponsored by Speaker Pro-Tempore Patricia Haddad, to authorize $1 million in new capital funding for the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) to support a matching grant program for CDFIs and CDCs.

The Conferees adopted a Senate-backed amendment to create a Donation Tax Credit (DTC) to allow existing State Low Income Housing Credits to support more housing preservation (prime sponsors include:  Senator Chandler, Senator Dorcena Forry, Representative Honan, Representative Rushing, and Representative Kaufman), and Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) provisions (sponsored by Senator Wolf), which will enable collaborative public-private-nonprofit partnerships to implement local initiatives and to enhance community revitalization.  In addition to the legislators referenced above, MACDC is thankful and grateful to Representative Peake, Representative Kulik, Representative Wagner, Representative Dempsey, Representative Madaro, Representative Walsh, Representative Holmes, Representative Madden, Representative Carvalho, Representative Donahue, Representative Smola, Senator Donoghue, Senator O’Connor Ives, Senator DiDomenico, Senator Rodrigues, Senator L’Italien, Speaker DeLeo, and Senate President Rosenberg for their commitment to CDCs, our shared goals, and the opportunity to work collaboratively throughout the 189th General Court.

Here is a brief comparison of key economic development priorities contained in the House and Senate bills and the final Conference Agreement (H.4569) approved by the Legislature Sunday night and sent to Governor Baker this morning.

An Act Relative to Job Creation, Workforce Development and Infrastructure Investment (H.4483) (S.2423)

Priority issue house bill (h.4483) senate bill (s.2423) macdc recommendations to conference committee
citc - revised "95% rule" 3 yrs prior allocation of credits Technical correction adopted Technical correction adopted Retained in final Conference Agreement
massachusetts food trust program $6 Million capital authorization $6 Million capital authorization Retained in final Conference Agreement
brownfields redevelopment fund $45 Million capital authorization $45 Million capital authorization Retained in final Conference Agreement
transformative development initiative $45 Million capital authorization $45 Million capital authorization Retained in final Conference Agreement
massworks infrastructure program $500 Million capital authorization $330 Million capital authorization Support House provision  Retained $500 Million capital authorization
smart growth trust fund (chapter 40r) $15 Million capital authorization $7.5 Million capital authorization Support House Provision Retained $15 Million capital authorization
cdfi / cdc small business lending grant program $1 Million   Support House provision Retained $1 Million capital authorization
earned income tax credit (eitc)   Increased State EITC from 23% to 28% Support Senate provision Proposal not included in Conference Agreement
donation tax credit   Amendment adopted Support Senate provision  Retained in final Conference Agreement
community benefit districts (cbds)   Amendment adopted Support Senate provision Retained in final Conference Agreement