Patrick signs jobs bill, vetoes tax credits
Gov. Deval Patrick signed an economic development bill into law on Tuesday but vetoed a number of provisions that would have extended or expanded some of the state’s existing tax credits.
Greg Bialecki, Patrick’s secretary of housing and economic development, said the governor’s vetoes were based on the recommendations earlier this year of the state’s Tax Expenditure Commission, which was made up of lawmakers, constitutional officers, and administration officials. The commission recommended that tax credits be evaluated periodically for their effectiveness. The commission also said the total number of tax credits, which last year cost the state $26.6 billion in lost revenue, should be reduced.
The provisions vetoed by the governor would have extended the life of the so-called brownfields tax credit by two years, increased the size of the historic rehabilitation tax credit program from $50 million to $60 million a year, and provided a new credit to offset the minimum tax payment assessed on new corporations. The credits would have cost the state an estimated $45 million initially.
The increase in the historic rehabilitation tax credit program was a high priority of the Gateway Cities legislative caucus, which sees the initiative as a vehicle to help spur redevelopment of old mills and other historic structures. Rep. Antonio Cabral, cochair of the Gateway Cities caucus, late last month hailed the $10 million increase in the tax credit cap as a historic breakthrough.But the program, which is administered by Secretary of State William Galvin, has never been evaluated and often been shrouded in mystery. With the Legislature out of session, the governor’s vetoes won’t be overridden.
The new law provides enhanced funding for job training and internships, boosts infrastructure development, and authorizes a sales tax holiday this weekend. No overall cost figure for the legislation was available.