State House Report: Legislature Moving Key Bills and Hurtling to Finish Line!

With little more than two weeks remaining in the 2015 – 16 legislative session, Governor Baker and House and Senate leaders are trying to put the wraps on a half-dozen major initiatives.  The most important legislation for MACDC and its members will be completion of a comprehensive economic development bill.  The House and Senate have passed separate bills and must reconcile the differences that remain before July 31st.  MACDC has been active, working with representatives and senators to advance several important policy priorities in each bill, and we will be working with friends and allies to achieve the best possible outcome from the House/Senate conference committee

Highlights:  Both versions of the economic development bill (H.4483, S.2423) contain definitive language to advance three core MACDC priorities: (1) to improve the administration of the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program, (2) to provide $45 million capital authorization for the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, and (3) precise language to provide $6 Million capital for the Massachusetts Food Trust.  These three items will not be subject to negotiations in the conference committee. 

The House adopted an amendment 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 Senate bill does not include this measure.

The Senate bill includes an increase in the state EITC from 23% to 28%, a Donation Tax Credit (DTC) proposal to allow existing State Low Income Housing Credits to support more housing preservation, and Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) provisions – enabling collaborative public-private-nonprofit partnerships to implement local initiatives and to enhance community revitalization.  The House did not include these provisions.

Here is a brief comparison of key economic development priorities contained in the bills and that MACDC and its allies will work to achieve in the final weeks.

Priority ISSUE hOUSE bILL
(H.4483)

sENATE bILL
(s.2423)

macdc rECOMMEDATIONS TO cONFERENCE COMMITTEE

CITC – revised “95% rule” 3 yrs prior allocation of credits

Technical correction adopted Technical correction adopted  

Massachusetts Food Trust program

$6 Million capital authorization $6 Million capital authorization  

Brownfields Redevelopment Fund

$45 Million capital authorization $45 Million capital authorization  

Transformative Development Initiative

$45 Million capital authorization $45 Million capital authorization  

MassWorks Infrastructure Program

$500 Million capital authorization $330 Million capital authorization Support House provision

Smart Growth Trust Fund (Chapter 40R)

$15 Million capital authorization $7.5 Million capital authorization Support House provision

CDFI / CDC small business lending grant program

$1 Million   Support House provision

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

  Increased State EITC from 23% to 28% Support Senate provision
Donation Tax Credit   Amendment adopted Support Senate provision
Community Benefit Districts (CBDs)   Amendment adopted Support Senate provision