Massachusetts economy

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Massachusetts House leaders have proposed a state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. The budget crafted by House Democrats includes no new taxes or fees and does not differ dramatically from the budget filed a month ago by Republican Governor Charlie Baker.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with State Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington, who is vice-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Massachusetts is coming off the strongest year for job growth since 2000.  Even in Springfield, which has struggled to recover from the recession, there are signs of better times.

      As 2014 came to a close, the Massachusetts unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent, down from 5.8 percent in November and 7.1 percent a year ago.  The state’s unemployment rate is now the lowest since the summer of 2008 before the Great Recession hit.

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Massachusetts, like many states, offers tax credits to businesses in exchange for creating jobs.  The jobs bill passed last summer made some changes to one of the state’s primary economic development tools.

   The Economic Development Incentive Program in Massachusetts allows companies to claim state and local tax breaks in exchange for creating new jobs, retaining jobs in the manufacturing sector and committing to other private investments.  It is a $30 million a year program.

WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick highlighted his administration’s success over the last eight years in job growth and economic development during an address to a business group in Springfield today.  The speech at a breakfast sponsored by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield comes as voters are less than a week away from picking his successor.

WAMC

The University of Massachusetts is preparing to open its first satellite campus. The UMass Center at Springfield will welcome its first students two weeks from today.           

The newest UMass campus is on the second floor of a Main Street office tower, where ten large classrooms have been constructed at a cost more than $5 million.  UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy predicts students will be excited about the course offerings.

" It will be a slow start, but I am sure it will ramp up very quickly once we get operational there."

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently signed an economic development bill that included a slew of initiatives aimed at promoting growth in various sectors. But the Democrat, a noted arts supporter, vetoed a tax credit aimed at bringing pre-Broadway theater to the commonwealth’s stages.

Holyokemall.com

Shoppers in Massachusetts can look forward to a sales tax holiday later this month. The Massachusetts legislature in the closing minutes of the legislative session last week set the sales tax-free shopping days for August 16 and 17.

The sales tax holiday was included in a comprehensive economic development bill that contains dozens of programs and incentives designed to create jobs. State  Senator Gale Candaras  of  Wilbraham, who helped write the bill, acknowledges there is scant evidence the sales tax holiday does much to grow the Massachusetts economy.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts has dropped to a six-year low. The state recorded a 5.6 percent unemployment rate in May, a drop of four-tenths percent from April.  The report ,earlier this week from the state labor department ,said the number of people working in Massachusetts was the most in almost 25 years.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian.

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Massachusetts legislators are working on an economic development package they hope to pass before the legislative session ends next month.

   The Massachusetts House approved a jobs bill backed by House Speaker Robert Deleo on a 125-23 vote.  The bill provides more than $65 million for programs and initiatives, some new and some already in existence, designed to expand economic opportunities beyond the greater Boston area.

Massachusetts has announced a rebranding of its regional employment offices as part of a campaign to get the long-term unemployed back to work.

Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian said her office will put up 62 billboards across the state, put ads on the internet, and signs on mass transit in an effort to increase usage of the state’s 33 one-stop career centers.

" We  are rebranding our efforts so that job seekers know how many services we offer to the job seeker and to the employer."

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