Plan balances immediate stimulus, long-term investments and fiscal discipline to create Culture of Opportunity
BOSTON – Wednesday, April 9, 2008 – Joined by the state’s leading business and government leaders, including House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray and MIT President Susan Hockfield at the MIT Sloan School of Business Management, Governor Deval Patrick today announced an economic plan to create a culture of opportunity focused on restrained spending and long- and short-term investments, while preparing for the impacts of a softening national economy.
“State government has its limitations, but it has its responsibilities as well. As we face uncertain times in our national economy, we must continue to take actions that will keep the Commonwealth’s economy moving forward,” said Governor Patrick. “Government alone cannot create new jobs, but we create conditions that foster a culture of opportunity that helps secure the state’s short-term fiscal health and guarantees our long-term economic prosperity.”
A cornerstone of the Governor's economic stimulus plan included a multi-billion capital plan to start repairing hundreds of structurally deficient bridges throughout the Commonwealth. The Governor also kicked off a series of announcements to identify regional growth districts throughout Massachusetts.
Government can create a culture of opportunity to help foster economic development and job creation. Governor Patrick has put forward a balanced and bold approach to create the conditions that will stimulate the Massachusetts economy amid national and regional uncertainty. By investing in infrastructure projects and the workforce, the state can create a culture of opportunity that helps to strengthen the state’s fiscal foundation and promote long-term economic security.
While the Massachusetts economy is faring better than most states, with recent job growth in the Life Sciences and Clean Energy sectors, Governor Patrick has taken prudent action by introducing stringent spending controls to ensure that the state budget would close the fiscal year in balance. Restrained spending will allow the Commonwealth to make targeted investments in education, public safety and infrastructure that will stimulate our economy. The Governor is committed to making deeper cuts, if necessary, to support those investments. The Governor’s proposal to restrain spending includes:
· In addition to the $500 million in budget reductions proposed last year and the $344 million in savings included in this year’s budget proposal, the Governor has outlined a plan to save another $200 million this year.
· Proposing a disciplined approach to limit use of rainy day funds.
· Directing the Cabinet to forego non-essential hiring and postpone programming, even though revenues are running ahead of benchmark.
· Developing a 9C plan for deeper cuts should revenues start to slip.
Investing in the Commonwealth
The Governor’s plan makes much-needed investments in areas that enable business development and job growth enabling the state to retain its competitive edge, especially in infrastructure improvements. The Governor’s aggressive plan to invest in structurally deficient bridges will create thousands of construction jobs, as well as expand or attract companies to do business here.
· Structurally Deficient Bridge Program: The Administration will partner with the Legislature and the Treasurer to restructure the state’s debt so the state can start an accelerated repair program for hundreds of structurally deficient bridges throughout the Commonwealth, stimulating the economy and generating thousands of new jobs.
· $20 million for Development-Ready Projects: The Administration will reprogram $10 million of new local infrastructure (MORE) grants to projects that will help create hundreds of permanent and construction jobs this year, and make an additional $10 million available to eligible development-ready projects to further stimulate job and economic development.
Positioning for Long-Term Growth
The Governor’s plan takes a number of steps to protect our economic future including partnering with the Legislature to invest in emerging industries like the Life Sciences and Clean Energy sectors, where businesses choose to locate and expand here. To further stimulate the regional economy, the Governor’s plan will identify 16 regional growth districts to reinforce long-term economic opportunity for all regions of the Commonwealth.
· Expanded Regional Growth Districts: The Administration will work to foster regional economies by focusing attention on gateway communities, using Devens as a model. Some examples include streamlined permitting, identifying infrastructure needs and assistance with marketing.
· International Trade and Investment: The dividends of the China Trade Mission continue, including the recent application by the Hainan Airline Aviation Group to the Civil Aviation Administration of China for approval of direct air service from Boston to Beijing. The Administration will continue to look for opportunities for investment and collaboration with foreign markets.
Securing the Safety Net
Good jobs at good wages throughout the Commonwealth continue to be a key objective of the Administrations economic development policy. In addition to stimulus programs, government must also help vulnerable people, small businesses and non-profits weather the looming national recession.
Continue to work in partnership with the Legislature to implement the state’s model health care reform program by controlling costs, provide energy assistance funding to people who need it most, and monitor auto insurance reform to bring savings for good drivers across the Commonwealth.
· $20 million for Foreclosure Protections: The Department of Housing and Community Development will create a $20 million acquisition pool to purchase foreclosed, vacant properties across the Commonwealth. These funds will be loaned to local non-profit housing developers to secure properties for rapid rehabilitation and re-occupancy, keeping them out of the hands of speculators and revitalizing our neighborhoods.
The money will be focused in areas with a high concentration of recently vacant property including: Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester. The Administration’s goals are to protect property values in already distressed areas, to lessen the potential of increased crime rates in these communities, and to retain the stability of the neighborhoods.
· The Governor has received a commitment from MassDevelopment, MassHousing and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to pledge resources and assistance to help implement the Governor’s plan for economic growth.
"Even before taking office, Governor Patrick understood that two of the great intellectual strengths of this region could also be great economic strengths: the life sciences and clean energy,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield. “From cancer research, to biological engineering, to the leading edge of energy technology, MIT is developing ideas that can help improve the human condition and accelerate the state's economic growth."
“When people across the world hear ‘MIT,’ they naturally think about innovation, about technology and science. And they’re right,” said MIT Sloan Dean David Schmittlein. “But they don’t always recognize how directly this affects economic development in the Commonwealth. The Institute’s entrepreneurial environment produces students and ideas that create new enterprises, and these in turn create great jobs and opportunity. Combining the MIT Sloan School of Management with MIT’s powerful technology base delivers a uniquely important engine for the Massachusetts economy.”