Senator Jason Lewis Files Legislation to Strengthen Local Economic Development

With bolstering local economic growth being a top priority for the term ahead, Senator Jason Lewis filed important economic development legislation that will facilitate identifying opportunities for growth and development in our communities, enhancing our local economies.

An Act to Promote Economic Development would create a program to provide funding or other opportunities, such as technical assistance, to municipalities or regions that maximize opportunities for economic development planning and growth by meeting a series of criteria. These criteria would include a self-assessment of economic potential and the identification of unique strengths and assets. This bill would borrow the conceptual structure of the Green Communities program, which provides funding opportunities for municipalities that reduce and improve the use of energy, and would be administered through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

An Act to Market Prioritized Development Sites would require the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to create and maintain a statewide searchable database of developable land and vacant sites, with listings submitted at no cost by local officials. This database would create a more comprehensive online marketing portal than currently exists for all locally prioritized sites across the state, giving each city and town the equal opportunity to submit prioritized development sites for inclusion.

“A vitally important role for state government is to be a supportive partner for municipal governments as they take proactive steps to strengthen their local economies and create jobs,” said Senator Jason Lewis.  “These two bills would enhance the ability of our cities and towns to take advantage of all opportunities to economically grow and thrive through increased resources and more comprehensive planning.”

The two bills were developed in consultation with the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that develops and pursues municipal policies to meet the present and future needs of Massachusetts’ cities and towns.

“These two pieces of legislation represent commonsense approaches that will make it easier for cities and towns to plan for, identify, and execute on opportunities to pursue economic growth,” said Geoffrey Beckwith, MMA Executive Director.  “I commend Senator Lewis for demonstrating leadership in the area of local economic development, and we look forward to working with him to pass this legislation and strengthen our communities’ local economies.”