The Weekly Political Report is prepared by a political consulting group, Rasky/Baerlein, and shared with me by John Nunnari.
Economic Development Planning Council offers Five-Step Plan
The Economic Development Planning Council, chaired by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki, submitted a plan to the Legislature on Wednesday, to support innovation and entrepreneurship and address the state’s cost competitiveness issues. The plan was developed over eight months and was submitted to meet a mandate included in an economic development law approved last year. Initiatives in the plan include advancing education and workforce development for middle-skill jobs through coordination of programs and supporting regional development through infrastructure investments and local empowerment. Also included in the plan are steps to simplify the tax structure making it more competitive and predictable while establishing standards for of existing tax credit programs that are more effective.
Loans Approved for Three Life Sciences Companies
Life sciences companies based in Cambridge, Waltham, and Wellesley were approved for state loans under the Accelerator Program, an investment program that matches other capital sources for life science companies looking to advance and create jobs. The Massachusetts Life Science Center Board voted to authorize loans of $710,000 to Paragonix Technologies of Cambridge. Paragonix is working to commercialize a single-use, portable organ preservation and transport device. The board authorized a loan of $750,000 to Intelligent Bio-Systems Inc. of Waltham, a DNA sequencing company. A loan of $750,000 was authorized to Allurion Technologies of Wellesley. Allurion is developing and testing a weight loss method that accomplishes results by displacing volume in the stomach.
Cape Wind Encouraged in Power Purchase Case
Cape Wind president, Jim Gordon, is hopeful that the awaited offshore wind facility will be up and running and producing energy within a year. The Supreme Judicial Court rejected an effort to reopen a decision by state regulators to permit National Grid to purchase half of Cape Wind’s power. The Supreme Judicial Court also rejected claims that the Department of Public Utilities decision approving the National Grid contract violated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by restricting out-of-state bidders from the Project. The remainder of the Cape Wind project’s power is yet to be bought. The Associated Industries for Massachusetts and some lawmakers have argued that Cape Wind could create billions of dollars in new energy costs for Massachusetts ratepayers. The Cape Wind project to build 130-turbines in Nantucket Sound has been under development for over 10 years. It is estimated to create 1,000 jobs and generate 420 megawatts of electricity, enough to power three-quarters of Cape Cod.
Corporate Tax Cut Schedules, Business Prevent Unemployment Insurance Increase
Business owners will receive a tax relief on January 1, 2012. However, these savings could be offset by a spike in the unemployment insurance tax. The corporate tax rate will decrease to 8% from 8.25%. This is the last of a three-step process of lowering the rate from 9.5% as part of a law in 2008 that Governor Deval Patrick signed aimed to bring additional revenue to the state from Massachusetts companies. Business would collectively save about $15 million in 2012 as a result of the corporate tax reduction. Gregory Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, stated that the reduction to an 8% corporate tax rate could improve Massachusetts’ status as a business-friendly state.
John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
290 Congress Street, Suite 200, Boston MA 02110