By Bob Katzen
The House 151-0, Senate 37-0, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker an economic development package including a sales tax holiday allowing consumers to buy most products that cost under $2,500 on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12 without paying the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.
Other provisions authorize $50 million for a grant program targeting coastal communities and create jobs in the maritime economy sector; $250 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program which provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding; and $12.5 million in capital dollars for MassVentures to continue providing competitive grants to Massachusetts-based companies commercializing technologies.
Tax breaks in the package include tax credits to businesses to occupy vacant storefronts in downtown areas and the establishment of a $2.5 million Apprenticeship Tax Credit program for apprenticeships in computer occupations, healthcare and the manufacturing industry.
Supporters said the bill would be a real shot in the arm for the state by stimulating the economy, creating jobs and making Massachusetts friendlier to business.
“Too many families are struggling to make ends meet and too many workers are looking for work,” said Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), the sponsor of the package. “This bill is designed to rebalance the scales so that our economy works for everyone and fosters growth in every corner of our commonwealth. It will put people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and revitalizing our downtowns. And it will prepare the next generation with the skills needed to succeed in a changing economy.”