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AIM Urges Governor to Sign Energy Bill, Parts of Economic Development Bill

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Aug 6, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Associated Industries of Massachusetts on Friday urged Governor Charlie Baker to sign a clean-energy bill and approve portions of a $1.2 billion economic-development bill passed by the Legislature earlier in the week.

State_House_and_One_BeaconIn a letter to the governor, AIM expressed support for key portions of the economic-development bill ranging from an apprenticeship tax credit to imposition of reasonable limits on the use of non-compete agreements. But the largest employer association in the commonwealth urged the governor to strike other elements of the bill, including a “patent-trolling” provision that could prevent companies from protecting their intellectual property.

“The patent trolling language contained in the bill pending before you is materially different from the compromise language approved by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee (S.2432),” AIM President and CEO Richard C. Lord wrote to Baker.

“The changed language appeared within the final days of the legislative session and has raised significant concerns from employers who believe it may limit the ability of companies to protect intellectual property.”

The economic-development and energy measures were part of a flurry of activity as the Legislature ended the formal portion of its 2017-2018 session early Wednesday morning. Governor Baker has 10 days to sign the bills, veto them or send back amended language.

The language in the economic-development bill governing use of non-competes mirrors a compromise that AIM and other business groups reached two years ago with House Speaker Robert DeLeo. The measure limits non-competes to one year and gives employees the opportunity to consult a lawyer when signing a non-compete but does not require companies that compensate employees at the time they sign non-competes to pay them again during the restricted period.

AIM fought relentlessly for more than 11 years on behalf the vast majority of Massachusetts employers who wish to preserve the use of non-competes to protect intellectual property. The new bill accomplishes that goal.

The new energy bill authorizes an additional procurement of offshore wind power, increases the renewable portfolio standard that governs the amount of clean energy utilities must purchase, and establishes an energy storage target. The renewable portfolio standard will increase by one percent until the end of 2019, then by two percent each year until the end of 2029. It would then set the state on a track of one-percent increases each year thereafter.

The bill “is a measured approach to public policy. It changes only those programs that need changing without disrupting newly established programs before they have had a chance to work. It will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in Massachusetts while being considerate of our high electric prices,” Lord wrote in a separate letter to the governor.

Topics: Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Legislature, Energy, Economic Development

Economic Development Chief Staying Busy

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Mar 23, 2018 12:22:16 PM

Jay Ash acknowledges that it’s a great time to be Secretary of Housing and Economic Development in Massachusetts.

Ash.jpg“I am getting a call a week from a company talking to me, not about bringing 100 or 200 or 500 jobs, but 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 jobs,” Ash told 300 business leaders during a presentation to the AIM Executive Forum this morning.

Ash has recently played a key role in the recruitment or expansion in Massachusetts of major employers ranging from Amazon, General Electric and MassMutual to IBM Watson Health, Kronos and Siemens. These expansions promise thousands of high-quality new jobs for Massachusetts residents while cementing the state’s reputation as a global center of innovation and growth.

“What an unbelievable time to be involved in economic development, and what an unbelievable time to be involved in a great state like Massachusetts,” he said.

Ash, an avuncular Democrat who has overseen economic development for the Baker Administration during its first three years, said Massachusetts benefits from a uniquely bipartisan approach to issues affecting the economy. He noted that the economic development bill announced by the Republican governor just two weeks ago has already been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday by the Democratically controlled Legislature.

The bill would commit $100 million to regionally significant economic development projects throughout the commonwealth, establish an apprenticeship tax credit, double grants to community colleges and vocations high schools to purchase equipment and establish a permanent sales-tax holiday.

Ash said the administration is pursuing its economic agenda in tandem with efforts to expand the availability of housing and to address persistent educational achievement and funding gaps. He thanked Associated Industries of Massachusetts for efforts to streamline the process used by communities to permit both low-income and market-rate housing.

 “There’s reason to be optimistic. Let’s roll up our sleeves because the best jobs done are the one we do ourselves.

Topics: AIM Executive Forum, Economic Development, Economy

Lawmakers OK Energy, Economic Bills; Non-Competes Remain Unchanged

Posted by John Regan on Aug 1, 2016 8:40:56 AM

A frenzied conclusion to the 2015-2016 Beacon Hill legislative session produced far-reaching measures on energy and economic-development, but no agreement on restricting the use of non-compete agreements.

statehousedome.jpgA consensus pay-equity bill supported by the business community passed a week earlier and is due to be signed by Governor Charlie Baker today.

Richard C. Lord, President and CEO of AIM, said employers should take encouragement from the fact that the final bills that passed around midnight Sunday largely reflected the moderate approach to business issues taken by the House of Representatives.

“The House and the Baker Administration again showed an understanding of the factors that contribute to business growth and job creation,” Lord said. “We give particular credit to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who forged meaningful compromises on pay-equity, non-compete agreements and other key issues.”

He also noted that lawmakers and Governor Baker worked responsibly to balance a difficult budget with no tax increases.

The energy bill commits Massachusetts utilities to purchasing up to 30 percent of the state’s electricity from offshore wind generation and hydropower imported from Canada or upstate New York. The final version rejects a troublesome proposal to double the state's minimum requirements for renewable energy and also maintains funding mechanisms for development of natural gas pipelines.

“The bill will raise electricity rates as the commonwealth transitions to non-carbon fuel sources. That said, lawmakers approached the issue in a careful and thoughtful manner that recognizes the need to include a variety of generation sources for electricity,” said Robert Rio, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

Average electric rates in Massachusetts are the third highest in the nation for industrial ratepayers, and more than twice as high as companies pay in the competitor state of North Carolina. Those costs place employers at a significant disadvantage when competing with businesses located in other areas of the country.

The breakdown of negotiations on non-compete agreements brought a stunning, if temporary, end to a contentious effort by venture capitalists to do away with current law governing non-competes. AIM has waged a protracted battle to defend the vast majority of Massachusetts employers who wish to preserve the use of non-competes, but the association nevertheless negotiated a reasonable compromise measure that passed the House of Representatives.

The House bill would have limited the duration of non-competes to one year and required employers who did not compensate workers at the time they signed a non-compete to pay 50 percent of the worker’s salary during the non-compete period. A separate Senate bill would have limited the term of non-competes to three months and required employers to pay 100 percent of a worker’s salary regardless of existing financial compensation.

The deadlock means that opponents of non-competes will have to return to square one and refile their proposals when the 2017-2018 legislative session begins in January.

“The outcome of negotiations on the use of non-competes is disappointing to the business community, which worked in good faith with the House on a reasonable compromise. AIM continues to believe that non-compete agreements with common-sense limitation protect intellectual property and stimulate investment and innovation in Massachusetts,” said Brad MacDougall, Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.

The economic development bill includes $500 million in authorized borrowing for the MassWorks infrastructure program, $45 million in capital dollars for brownfields environmental projects and $45 million for equipment for career and technical education, among other measures. The bill also features a new tax deduction intended encourage families to save for college tuition costs.

The pay-equity bill is intended to promote salary transparency, limit upfront questions to job candidates about salary history, and encourage companies to conduct reviews to detect pay disparities. It explicitly recognizes legitimate market forces such as performance and the competitive landscape for certain skills that cause pay differences among employees. 

 Register for AIM Brown Bag Webinar:   Legislative Wrap-Up

 

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Non-Compete Agreements, Energy, Economic Development

Speaker Pushes Statewide Economic Growth

Posted by Christopher Geehern on May 13, 2016 2:59:38 PM

The Massachusetts House of Representatives shares with Associated Industries of Massachusetts a commitment to ensure that the economic growth buoying the Boston area spreads through the commonwealth, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo told the AIM annual meeting today.

DeLeogood.jpg“For the past two years, extending the circle of economic prosperity from Boston to each corner of the commonwealth has been a chief priority of the House. I’m proud to say that through economic development bills, trips around the state, and a recently launched initiative called the Bay State Business Link, we are making gains,” DeLeo told more than 750 executives gathered at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

DeLeo noted that he last keynoted the AIM annual meeting during the height of the recession in 2009.

“I’m proud to say that in the past seven years we have overcome adversity and set a foundation for sustainable recovery,” he said.

 “In the House, we embrace our legacy of creating workable, practical solutions. Our goal is to create sustainable legislation that will result in positive long-term consequences. From workforce training; to economic development bills that focus on diverse regions and industries; to education; to our nationally-heralded gun safety legislation: we are known for pairing bold ideas with commitment to collaboration.”

DeLeo’s remarks followed the presentation of the inaugural AIM Vision Awards for contributions to the Massachusetts economy to General Electric Company of Boston, Nuance Communications of Burlington and noted brain researcher Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University. AIM also presented the John Gould Education and Work Force Development Award to Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries of Massachusetts.

AIM Board Chairman Daniel Kenary announced in his annual remarks that the AIM Board of Directors has approved a restructuring that will allow AIM’s human resources operation to accelerate its growth, while the larger organization recommits itself to being the best public policy advocacy group in the nation.

AIM HR Solutions, formerly known as the Employers Resource Group, will become its own business center with the goal of building on annual revenues of $2.1 million. AIM HR Solutions will help employers wrestle with the complexity of managing a work force and comply with an ever- growing maze of employment laws.

“The change is intended to allow our managers to push full throttle on two business units that are already remarkably successful.  There isn’t an association anywhere in the world that would not give its right arm to have these two businesses. Your Board of Directors is excited about the possibilities this change will create,” said Kenary, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Harpoon Brewery.

Kenary also suggested that AIM is at a crossroads born of an increasingly volatile political environment that is challenging employers to articulate a positive and compelling vision for the role they play in the larger society. He called for employers to adopt an “entrepreneurial populism” under which they engage with the political process in their home communities.

“The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s maxim that ‘all politics is local’ has never been truer that it is today. And if all politics is local, the employer community represents a sleeping giant with enormous potential to drive sound public policy from the bottom up,” Kenary said.

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Economic Development, Massachusetts House of Representatives

It's Time for Massachusetts to Buy Local

Posted by Bob Rio on Apr 20, 2016 7:30:00 AM

It seems everyone these days wants to buy from local sources.

Farmers_Market.jpg“Buy local” has become a familiar battle cry in restaurants, retail stores and roadside stands among consumers who prefer to know where their favorite products are made. These consumers want to be confident that the items they buy are made sustainably and that their purchases support local jobs.

But why does the concern for locally made products in Massachusetts seem to stop at the farmers market? Why have scores of Bay State companies, some household names, and the thousands of local jobs they provided, disappeared with virtually no notice or outcry from state officials? And why has our commonwealth not resolved the problems that drove these companies away?   

Do you own a Polartec jacket for hiking (or to make it look like you hike)? The company, formerly known as Malden Mills, was started in 1906 and was miraculously able to recover after a devastating fire in 1995 nearly bankrupted the business. Polartec recently announced the closing of its Lawrence manufacturing facility, putting 350 unionized employees out of work and moving production to New Hampshire and Tennessee.

Use salad dressing on that locally sourced lettuce? Cain’s products, started in Boston 1914, is closing its Ayer plant, putting another 100 people out of work. The company is moving production to Pennsylvania, Georgia and Kentucky.

The list goes on. General Mills in Methuen, makers of Yoplait yogurt since 1993 closed, sending 144 jobs to other states. Kraft foods, located in Woburn for some 95 years, is putting another 200 people out of work. Sunny Delight is cutting 50 jobs in Littleton. Notini and Sons in Lowell, 100 jobs lost after 125 years. Courier Corp, a printer founded in 1824 and recently sold to an out-of-state firm, is shutting down its Westford plant putting 200 people out of work.

And those 1,144 jobs lost are just the ones that have been publicly announced in 2015 and 2016.

The reason for these closings are varied and complex. Some companies were sold to out-of-staters, while others cited high costs in Massachusetts for labor, housing, health insurance or energy. Some just used the euphemism “competitive realignments,” which probably includes a little bit of everything.

But all of the announcements have one thing in common – these companies and brands are not coming back and their employees and suppliers who depend on them are looking for jobs.

Massachusetts takes a back seat to no one in its ability to brag about the reason companies locate here – our universities, our educated work force, our innovation industries. General Electric’s announcement in January that it will move its corporate headquarters to Boston unleashed a euphoric wave of valedictories about the innovation ecosystem that GE hopes will help it to create the industrial Internet.

But the state seems strangely unconcerned with the reasons that companies leave. It’s disheartening, especially for the hard-working people who lose their jobs and their livelihoods. How can we make the Massachusetts economy successful for everyone if we don’t know why companies come or go?

The 4,500 member employers of Associated Industries of Massachusetts believe that the acceleration in business closings has much to do with the persistently high cost of health care and energy in Massachusetts.

Health-care costs in Massachusetts remain 36 percent more than the national average. Between 2005 and 2014, increases in health insurance premiums have outpaced income gains, consuming more than 40 percent of family income growth over the past nine years.

The relentless acceleration of health-care spending and health-insurance premiums threatens both the continued growth of the Massachusetts economy and the ability of citizens to access the commonwealth’s world-renowned medical system. It also threatens the commonwealth itself - MassHealth, the government insurance program for low-income residents, now accounts for 40 percent of the state budget at $14.7 billion annually.

Energy costs are likewise among the highest in the country – nearly double most places these companies are moving production to.

To those that care about the price of electricity – and that includes many companies outside the Boston area – our high prices are a never-ending drag on local profits. At a 5 percent profit margin – probably about right for food businesses – every dollar increase in electricity, health care, taxes or other costs that don’t contribute to increased production means another $20 in revenue is required just to break even. At some point, even the strongest fighter gives up.

The future promises little change. Despite an outcry from the business community about high electric rates, the legislature recently passed – and the governor was happy to sign - a new solar bill that will continue our highest-in- the nation subsidies. The justification - to protect solar jobs.  

While it is comforting to know that the Legislature is willing to tax some industries to support favored ones, it is also time to realize that Massachusetts is made up of several economies. The economies in the eastern part of the state have different issues than those in the central, western and southeastern areas, particularly around the bottom-line cost areas such as electricity and health care.  

Sure, companies will always realign their businesses. In some cases that may spell job losses for Massachusetts, in other cases, like GE’s, it may signal gains. But the state should not be complicit in a company’s demise by failing to respond to economic issues.

You’ll still be able to buy Polartec jackets, eat Yoplait yogurt and slather your sandwich with Cain’s mayo at the time next year. But the good jobs at good companies providing good wages we’ve depended on for decades won’t be locally sourced any more.

Topics: Health Care Costs, Economic Development, Energy

Pioneer Valley Employers Offer Vision for the Future

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Sep 5, 2014 4:17:00 PM

The shortage of qualified employees, punitive regulations and an overly complex state workforce training system were among the issues raised Thursday as more than two dozen AIM-member employers provided feedback for the association’s Blueprint for the Next Century.

Regan.BlueprintThe first of eight regional Blueprint listening sessions brought together companies from throughout the Pioneer Valley for an often animated discussion at the Eastern States Exposition’s Storrowton Tavern. The comments will become part of a long-term plan for growth and prosperity that AIM will develop in conjunction with its 100th anniversary in 2015.

Eugene Cassidy, Executive Director of the Eastern States, an AIM member, set the tone for the discussion in his welcoming remarks:

“I see the Eastern States Exposition as a job generator, providing horsepower to the local economy,” Cassidy told the group.

The most pressing issue facing employers around the table appeared to be finding the qualified people companies need to compete in the global economy. Employers said they struggle to hire workers in a variety of roles, from skilled machinists and assemblers to middle managers to engineers.

The issue is compounded, participants said, by the commonwealth’s byzantine maze of workforce training and funding programs. Many of these programs are helpful, but employers said they involve levels of paperwork that smaller companies do not have the time or resources to navigate.

“It’s really pretty painful to work the process,” one employer said.

The solution? Several employers said they have established successful internships with colleges in western Massachusetts. Others open their doors to public school groups who bring students to tour the opportunities available in manufacturing and other sectors.

Burdensome regulation is also a challenge. Companies acknowledge the need for government to provide oversight of workplace safety, the environment and other issues, but say the aggregation of bureaucratic rules from the state and federal government diverts attention from growing jobs.

“Companies pay 40 percent in taxes and get back all these regulations. It really prevents them from growing,” one employer said.

Participants also talked about establishing a culture of economic success in Massachusetts – among workers, employers and state government. Several cited Midwest states that have made a priority of boosting manufacturing employment.

“Ohio and Texas are more geared to toward celebrating manufacturing and also to creating culture of work in a manufacturing environment,” said a participant.

AIM Executive Vice President of Government Affairs John Regan, who led the discussion, said the Blueprint meetings are intended to provide employers with a means to shape the economic future of the commonwealth.

The association plans to present a preliminary version of the Blueprint for the Next Century to the governor-elect at an AIM Executive Forum on November 14.

Attend a Blueprint for the Next Century Listening Session

 

Topics: AIM General Wage Survey, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Economic Development

Legislative Post-Game

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Aug 18, 2014 1:37:00 PM

The Massachusetts Legislature wound up the formal portion of its 2013-2014 session on August 1. How did the session turn out for employers?

John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, reviews the issues of most importance to the business community.

Please note that the Webinar includes discussion of the economic development bill. Governor Deval Patrick last week signed the bill, but also filed a last-ditch bill to add restrictions on non-compete agreements.

Editor’s note: AIM wishes to clarify the association’s positions relative to the ballot initiative questions that will appear before voters this November.  AIM opposes ballot initiative questions 1, 2, and 4 as described in the ballot initiative discussion (see slide #11).  AIM does not have a position on ballot question #3 relative to casino gambling in the Commonwealth.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Topics: Economic Development, massachsetts legislature

Governor Signs Jobs Bill; Renews Bid for Non-Compete Restrictions

Posted by John Regan on Aug 13, 2014 3:42:00 PM

Governor Deval Patrick today signed an economic development bill supported by employers, but also filed a last-ditch bill to add restrictions on non-compete agreements.

Patrick2014The governor’s bill, which would prohibit employers from using non-compete agreements with hourly employees and limit the length of those agreements to six months, has virtually no chance of passage this year. Beacon Hill lawmakers previously declined to include any non-compete restrictions in the original economic development measure and are unlikely to do so now that informal legislative sessions mean that a single legislator may stop passage of a bill.

The economic development law signed by the governor would expand the research-and-development tax credit and create multiple initiatives to accelerate job growth. Governor Patrick vetoed sections creating an angel investor tax credit and a "live theater tax credit" designed to encourage more productions of pre-Broadway and pre-Off Broadway theater in Massachusetts

“We commend Governor Patrick for signing the economic development bill, but remain puzzled with the effort to push non-compete restrictions opposed by large segments of the business community. Legal protection for intellectual property is a priority for small and large firms alike, and the governor’s proposal on non-competes cuts right at the heart of what drives our national and global competitiveness,” said Brad MacDougall, Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.

“The Legislature had good reason to leave non-compete restrictions out of the economic development bill and they have good reason not to pass this new bill.”

The Legislature’s decision to maintain the current non-compete law came after hundreds of AIM member employers contacted members of the Legislature to underscore the importance of protecting the innovations that drive the Massachusetts economy. AIM members from every sector of the economy, from technology to manufacturing, expressed overwhelming support for keeping the law as is.

The Patrick administration and a coalition of venture capitalists have sought for more than a year to ban non-competes altogether, arguing that they inhibit the growth of new companies in the innovation economy.

The research-and-development tax provision in the economic development bill creates an Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) as an alternative to the traditional tax credit. ASC allows employers the option to claim a credit equal to 10 percent of any research expenses that exceed a base amount calculated over a period of three years.

Current law allows credits only for incremental R&D spending over a set base period in the 1980s.

AIM believes the changes are necessary to reverse a troubling 19.3 percent decline in R&D spending among Massachusetts employers between 2007 and 2011. The vast majority of research and development in Massachusetts takes place not in urban innovation districts, but in advanced manufacturing, medical device, defense and biopharma companies salted throughout the commonwealth.

“The updated R&D credit represents a substantive step toward stimulating the kind of innovation that drives economic growth in Massachusetts,” MacDougall said.

 

Who Will Win the November Election? Attend the September 19 AIM Executive Forum with Pollster David Paleologos

Topics: Economic Development, Non-Compete Agreements, Taxes

AIM Urges Governor to Sign Economic Development Bill

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Aug 6, 2014 9:12:33 AM

Associated Industries of Massachusetts urged Governor Deval Patrick yesterday to sign an economic development bill that would expand the research-and-development tax credit and create multiple initiatives to accelerate job growth.

Molecular_Structures.SmallIn a letter to the governor, AIM said that An Act Promoting Economic Growth across the Commonwealth contains provisions “that will have a positive impact on the Massachusetts business climate.”

The research-and-development tax provision creates an Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) as an alternative to the traditional tax credit. ASC allows employers the option to claim a credit equal to 10 percent of any research expenses that exceed a base amount calculated over a period of three years.

Current law allows credits only for incremental R&D spending over a set base period in the 1980s.

AIM believes the changes are necessary to reverse a troubling 19.3 percent decline in R&D spending among Massachusetts employers between 2007 and 2011. The vast majority of research and development in Massachusetts takes place not in urban innovation districts, but in advanced manufacturing, defense and biopharma companies salted throughout the commonwealth

“And we know that R&D credits work. Massachusetts enacted a set of research and development tax incentives in 1991 that were among the most advantageous in the nation. Over the next five years, R&D spending in the commonwealth increased by more than 50 percent,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for AIM.

Other key provisions of the economic development bill include:

  • Sales Tax Exemption - Clarifies the eligibility definition in the state’s life sciences research-and- development sales-tax exemption law to include limited partnerships.
  • Financial Services Advisory Council – Creates a council to provide the governor with ongoing feedback and recommendations on the ways in which state policy impacts the banking and financial-services sectors.
  • Manufacturing Studies – Provides for a comprehensive study of the manufacturing industry by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MMEP) and a separate study of the manufacturing supply chain in Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network Program (MassCan) Promotes and expands computer science education in public schools. MassCan addresses the commonwealth’s need to train the next generation of computer science experts for the jobs of the future.
  • One-Stop Shop Business Portal - Enhances the manner in which Massachusetts government provides resources to business by directing the chief information officer of the Information Technology Division to create an online portal to serve as a one-stop shop for businesses seeking information to start or grow a business in the commonwealth.
  • Wireless Innovation – Makes Massachusetts the fortieth state in the last 30 years to embrace a national framework for the mobile industry. The framework recognizes the global environment in which businesses operate and encourages a policy environment that promotes innovation for the customer.
  • Proof of Concept – Creates the Innovation Commercialization Seed Fundto make initial investments with researchers and students at the University of Massachusetts and other research universities who have invented or developed concepts, goods or services that have commercial potential.

The Legislature passed the economic development bill in the early hours of August 1. Governor Patrick has the option to sign or veto the entire bill, veto individual sections of the bill, or send sections back to the Legislature with proposed amendments.

Topics: Research, Economic Development, Taxes

Amendment Seeks to Broaden R&D Tax Credit

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Jun 30, 2014 6:49:03 AM

An amendment filed Saturday to a proposed Senate economic development bill would broaden existing tax incentives for companies to conduct research and development in the Bay State.

StateHouse-resized-600The amendment, filed by Senator Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, would allow employers a credit equal to 10 of any research expenses that exceed a base amount calculated over a period of three years.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts supports the expansion and believes the changes are necessary to reverse a troubling 19.3 percent decline in R&D spending among Massachusetts employers between 2007 and 2011.

“The vast majority of research and development in Massachusetts takes place not in urban innovation districts, but in advanced manufacturing, defense and biopharma companies salted throughout the commonwealth. Expanding the R&D credit helps all of these companies produce the kind of innovation that drives the Massachusetts economy,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of AIM.

“And we know that R&D credits work. Massachusetts enacted a set of research and development tax incentives in 1991 that were among the most advantageous in the nation. Over the next five years, R&D spending in the commonwealth increased by more than 50 percent.”

The Senate legislation, due to be debated on Tuesday, would also make investments in workforce training, entrepreneur mentorship programs, the redevelopment of polluted sites and marketing efforts designed to lure business and travelers to Massachusetts. It includes roughly $63 million in initiatives, including $10 million for the redevelopment of brownfields and $10 million for a new grant fund to support development and the creation of collaborative workspaces in so-called “Gateway Cities” outside of Boston.

AIM is still reviewing additional amendments filed over the week-end. The final Senate bill will go to a conference committee, where legislators will resolve differences with an earlier measure passed by the House of Representatives.

AIM members with significant research activity have pressed for changes to the existing R&D credit because it measures incremental R&D expenditures against a single benchmark year that is often artificially high. A company that invests a significant amount of money in R&D one year could therefore be penalized if it does not boost spending over that already high level.

A recent report from The Pioneer Institute found that overall R&D spending in Massachusetts fell 10.3 percent in the four years ending in 2011. Massachusetts fell further behind chief R&D rival California, which significantly increased its R&D market share on the strength of one of the strongest R&D credits in the nation – 15 percent.

Topics: Economic Development, Taxes

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