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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sound investment

Senate President Terry Murray's first budget leak is probably her best -- the creation of funds to finance life science, new technology and housing investments. One big problem -- it requires a budget surplus and by all indications so far there isn't one coming down the pipeline soon.

Murray's proposal, which she dubs the Senate Job Growth Initiative, certainly takes aim at the key issue facing the Commonwealth by calling for investment in industries that hold the potential to create jobs -- and the creation of housing the would be affordable to the workers who hold those new jobs.

It's basically a Mom and Apple Pie approach -- note the lack of naysayers. It would siphon off anything over the first $50 million of any surplus over the next five years to new accounts.
After that, up to $25 million would go to the Emerging Technology Fund, which provides loans and guarantees to technology-based manufacturers; up to $25 million would go to the Life Sciences Investment Trust Fund, which provides grants for research and commercialization of new biotech products; and up to $12.5 million each would go to the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which helps communities develop affordable housing, and the Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund, which rewards communities that foster denser housing near transportation facilities.
But we are looking at uncertain times ahead. There's been a lot of back and forth over whether FY07 would end with a surplus. Myth Romney contended it would not -- and he engineered in 9C cuts on the way out the door. Deval Patrick rescinded those cuts but there's no word on where we stand with just under two months left in the fiscal year. And next year looks bleak.

Nice idea, but it will go is anybody's guess right now.

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