House pitches economic development bill

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Moments before releasing a major economic development bill to the House, Representative Joe Wagner sat down with 22NEWS for a one-on-one preview of his legislation.

The Chicopee Democrat said the bill aims to create jobs and stimulate business in Massachusetts.  “We target the state’s innovation economy and industries, we do targeted infrastructure investments, we do investments in workforce training,” said Wagner.

Wagner’s bill invests $50 million in infrastructure improvement and another $10 million in workforce development.  It targets western Massachusetts by creating a robust manufacturing program.

“Dollars would be available to promote partnerships between workforce groups and private employers and the community college[s],” said Wagner.

The Legislature’s economic development chairman released his bill with House Speaker Robert DeLeo.  They didn’t give an estimate on how many jobs the bill would generate, but focused instead on how the bill would create an attractive business climate in Massachusetts and give homegrown talent incentive to stay.

“We cannot allow companies such as Facebook to start in Massachusetts and then to move elsewhere,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop).

The bill proposes to match dollar-for-dollar stipends for interns at tech start-ups and commits to raising state money for universities and research projects.

Representative Wagner said he hopes to have the economic development bill debated on the House floor as early as next week.

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