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Governor Files Sweeping Economic-Development Bill

Posted on March 3, 2024

By Stephanie Swanson
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs

Governor Maura Healey filed a sweeping $3.5 billion economic-development bill on Friday that includes proposals designed to make Massachusetts a global hub for life sciences, climate-tech and applied artificial intelligence (AI).

The Mass Leads Act includes a 10-year, $1 billion re-authorization of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative that will provide capital, tax incentives and operating money to a sector that has become a centerpiece of the commonwealth’s economy. The bill would commit another $1 billion in capital, tax incentives and operating cash to establish Massachusetts as a hub for the clean energy industry.

It would also invest $100 million to create an Applied Artificial Intelligence hub and provide additional investments in advanced manufacturing, robotics, tourism, the creative economy and small businesses.

For companies in other sectors of the economy, the measure would establish a $10 million-per-year statewide internship tax credit, provide $400 million to the Mass Works Infrastructure Program, reform the Economic Development Incentive Program, and create an centralized online portal called Business Front Door to act as a sort of concierge for companies seeking to locate or expand in the commonwealth.

AIM is reviewing details of the bill but supports the broad outlines of the governor’s plan.

“The Healey Administration’s economic development plan is unique in its determination to grow the Massachusetts economy as a whole – We will not simply invent new medicines but will make them here; we will not just create new climate technologies but will deploy them here; we will not just push the boundaries of artificial intelligence but will determine the most innovative ways to use it,”  said Brooke Thomson, President and CEO.

“The administration is addressing the bedrock issues that will determine the future of the Massachusetts economy and our businesses large and small – housing, transportation, childcare, talent retention and acquisition – while acknowledging the need to support the industries in which the commonwealth holds a competitive advantage.”

Governor Healey discussed major sections of the bill at a press conference held at Sommerville-based Form Energy, an energy storage technology and manufacturing company. Thomson attended the briefing on behalf of AIM.

“This is a transformative opportunity to strengthen our state’s economy while also supporting our businesses, workforce and communities, and we look forward to working with our Legislative partners to get it done,” Governor Healey said.

The re-authorization of the Life Sciences Initiative breaks down as follows:

  • $500 million to fund the quasi-public Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which runs workforce training, leadership development and internship programs.
  • $350 million for tax incentives. The bill extends the tax incentive program to 2033 and increases the statutory cap from $30 million to $50 million for life sciences tax incentives.
  • $150 million is set aside in operating resources for workforce training and other strategic initiatives supporting the life sciences sector.

The clean-energy initiative includes:

  • $300 million to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
  • two $200 million capital programs: one to support climate technologies, and the other to support the offshore wind industry.
  • $300 million in tax incentives for climate-tech companies.

Other key elements of the Mass Leads Act include:

  • $99 million for Advanced Manufacturing for flexible grants to support advanced manufacturing initiatives through Mass Tech Collaborative (MTC).
  • $95 million for the R&D Matching Grant Fund for capital investments in research and development projects that leverage collaboration between higher education, research institutions, and industry to bolster the state’s innovation economy through MTC.
  • A new statewide internship tax credit program to reward companies for taking on interns from Massachusetts-based colleges. This $10 million per year pilot program would provide an incentive of $5,000 or 50% of wages paid, whichever is less, per intern from a Massachusetts-based college with a maximum cap of $100,000 for employers.
  • $400 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program for public infrastructure improvements to spur private development and create jobs.
  • $250 million for Mass Impact for a new, flexible authorization to support large, transformational projects that have the potential to yield significant economic impact.
  • $100 million for Local Economic Development Grants to support economic development in cities and towns.
  • Targeted permitting reforms to expand opportunity and improve predictability for development, including updates and improvements to M.G.L. ch. 43D relative to expedited permitting and elimination of the interagency permitting board and consolidation of its functions within the permit regulatory office at Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED).
  • Three outside sections pertaining to the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone, which: 1) eliminates the cap on the number of square feet of commercial and industrial development can occur at Devens; 2) eliminates the cap on the number of residential units that can be developed at Devens; and 3) requires the EOED and Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) secretaries to convene a working group within 30 days after the effective date to determine a strategy for future development within Devens.

Please contact me at, or any member of the AIM Government Affairs team for more information about the Mass Leads Act.