Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday filed new legislation for tax credits and borrowing initiatives for small and medium-sized businesses to help promote job growth.
The governor unveiled his plan in a speech before members of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. The bills would allow for $50 million of bonding to fund the Growth Districts Initiative, which would help finance capital projects in areas deemed as candidates for commercial, residential, and mixed-use growth.
In addition, a new entity formed from three existing agencies — called the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. — would assist small and mid-sized businesses with financing. Funding for the MGCC would come from $25 million of borrowing and $15 million from the state’s Emerging Technology Fund.
“Small businesses account for 85% of Massachusetts businesses, and for them this is an economic emergency,” Patrick said in his speech. “If we want new jobs, we need to focus special attention to meeting the needs of small businesses. That means addressing their need for access to working capital and credit, helping deal with escalating health care costs in the short term, simplifying necessary and eliminating unnecessary regulation, fixing the unemployment insurance system, and helping to train ready workers.”
The administration estimates a potential 20,000 jobs by offering businesses with 50 employees or fewer a $2,500 tax credit for each new full-time equivalent position created and retained for at least one year. Total size of the program is $50 million and credits would be awarded on a first come, first served basis.
In addition, Patrick seeks to hold unemployment insurance rates at the 2009 rate, which would save corporations $391 million or $158 per employee, on average.
The governor is also directing the commissioner of insurance to temporarily require health insurance companies to file any rate increases or changes before they take effect to keep any rate hikes in line with current inflation rates of 3.2%.
“Any increases significantly higher than the current level of medical cost inflation, which today is 3.2 percent, will be challenged,” Patrick said. “This is aggressive, but we have to give small businesses some economic breathing room until we can implement the kind of payment reform that will curtail costs across the health care system.”