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Candaras to host hearing at WNE School of Law on Gateway Cities bills

Date: 9/5/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies hope business owners and others concerned about economic development will attend a hearing on a group of proposed bills.

The hearing will be conducted at 11 a.m. Sept.10 at the Moot Court Room at the Blake Law Center located at 1215 Wilbraham Road of the Western New England University School of Law.

State Sen. Gale Candaras – who along with state Rep. Joseph Wagner of Chicopee co-chairs the committee – explained to Reminder Publications the goal of the 15 proposed bills focuses primarily on aiding the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities. Those locally include Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and Westfield.

Candaras said that as a whole the bills are designed to help revitalized those cities which she said have “assets with unrealized potential.”

Candaras said she is particularly concerned with opportunities to return more manufacturing to Western Massachusetts and helping the region’s precision manufacturing sector grow.

She related a conversation with an owner of a Westfield precision manufacturing business who said he was really struggling to get skilled workers.”

She added, “Everyone is looking for skilled workers.”

The region has “a young population with the potential for training,” the senator said.

The bills include measures for workforce development as well as streamlining the permitting process, the creation of new market tax credits, and improvements in transportation and infrastructure.

Specifically, the following bills will be heard: H.311, An Act to promote transformative development in gateway cities; H.318, an act relative to rail-trail construction; H.321, an act relative to transit; S.170, an act relative to cultural district eligibility for the MassWorks infrastructure program; S.172, an act relative to rail-trail construction; S.177, an act fueling job creation through energy efficiency; S.179, an act relative to job creation in Gateway Cities; S.180, an act to facilitate municipal projects; S.181, an act relative to economic development and industrial corporations; S.182, an act providing for a study by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development relative to a state new markets tax credit program; S.185, An Act to promote economic development in Gateway Towns; S.186, an act to clarify and enhance privacy protections for electronic health records; S.192, an act concerning Gateway Municipalities; S.196, an act to provide for loans for waterfront development; and S.199, a resolve establishing a special legislative commission on young professionals.

Candaras said she hopes business people and other residents will attend the hearing to express their opinions on the legislation.

Any person wishing to testify may sign-up to do at the hearing or in advance by contacting the committee at 617-722-2370. If a resident is unable to attend in person, written testimony can be submitted to the committee at the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, State House, Rm. 42, Boston, MA 02133.

“Economic growth and job creation are critical issues here in Western Massachusetts,” Wagner said. “This hearing will provide an important opportunity for the people of our region to share their views directly with the members of this committee.”