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Senator Spilka Announces Economic Development Agenda for 2015-2016 Legislative Session

January 14, 2015

Priorities Include Civic Innovation, Crowdfunding, Entrepreneurship & Education

MA tech

Senator Karen Spilka today announced key pieces of her economic development legislative agenda for the new 2015-2016 legislative session. Senator Spilka will continue to advocate for programs and policies that encourage economic growth, job creation and innovation across all sectors of the Massachusetts economy.

“I am always looking for new ways to help Massachusetts companies start, grow and thrive here,” said Senator Spilka. “We need to continue to support all sectors of our economy, foster innovation and improve education and workforce training opportunities. I look forward to a new session advocating on behalf of smart economic development policies for MetroWest and the Commonwealth.”

Senator Spilka will also continue her work to boost the state’s thriving life sciences, biotech and technology sectors in particular as co-chair of both the Biotech Caucus and the Tech Hub Caucus.

Senator Spilka’s bills to advance economic development and encourage job creation and innovation include:

Innovative Communities

A product of a November Tech Hub Caucus policy “Idea-a-thon” event, the new Innovative Communities Program would connect and educate Massachusetts startups and municipalities. The program is the result of a collaborative process, pulling together best practices from existing government programs and incorporating input and ideas from startups, government offices and municipal groups.

The bill creates a new program charged with guiding startups through the purchasing process and helping them to more easily pursue local government contracts. Startups would have the opportunity to sell their technology to innovative cities and towns that have chosen to be designated as “Innovative Communities.” These civic technology solutions would allow communities to better serve residents and use resources more efficiently and effectively.

Encouraging Small Business Growth Through Crowdfunding

This bill amends the Uniform Securities Act in Massachusetts to include an exemption to securities registration requirements for emerging businesses seeking small-scale investments through crowdfunding. The bill helps local small businesses raise seed funding and grow more easily while still protecting investors from overly high-risk investments.

Partnering World-Class Entrepreneurs with State Agencies

This bill authorizes the state’s Executive Offices to establish a pilot Innovator-in-Residence program, placing successful entrepreneurs in state agencies to identify ways to make agency services and operations simpler, more efficient and more responsive. The program would encourage improved public-private coordination, address entrepreneur and business obstacles and opportunities and identify ineffective or duplicative government programs.

Bi-literacy Education

The legislation creates a State Seal of Bi-literacy to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. The bill supports foreign language educational programs in the Commonwealth as a way to promote global trade and prepare our students to compete in a global economy.

Tax Code

Senator Spilka will also file legislation to make the tax process more predictable and transparent for companies in all industries and encourage companies to maintain or establish their corporate headquarters in Massachusetts.

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