Saturday, 2:15 PM
Patrick touts clean energy, economic initiatives
By Matt Viser, Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick today touted a series clean energy initiatives and economic investments as he declared that the 18-month legislative session “one of the most productive in a long, long time.”
Governor Deval Patrick
Standing in front of poster board signs that said “Clean Energy Leader,” “Growing the Economy,” and “Engaged Governing,” Patrick spouted off a list of accomplishments including a $1 billion package to bolster the state's life-sciences industry, a series of laws that promote environmental policies and combat global warming, and the preservation of the legality of same-sex marriage.
“It was, by any measure, an extraordinarily productive session,” Patrick said at a press conference packed with dozens of administration officials and cabinet members.
The major disappointment of the session was what Patrick said was the failure of lawmakers to pass his property tax relief initiatives, an issue which played a significant role in his campaign two years ago. The governor blamed the legislature for note endorsing a string of his proposals that could have lowered property taxes, including licensing three resort casinos and allowing communities to raise local meals and hotel taxes.
“None of these have been enacted,” Patrick said. “People want to see results.”
When asked whether he would re-file his casino legislation next session, Patrick said, “We’ll see.”
Patrick's staff issued a list summarizing the measures that did pass:
Clean Energy Leader– Massachusetts is poised to be a global leader in clean energy and environmental stewardship.
Joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative - Signed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), committing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to a multi-state effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, tackling global climate change, creating new economic development opportunities and cutting energy costs, with first-in-the-nation auction of greenhouse gas emissions allowances set for September 25.
Worked with Legislature to Develop the Clean Energy and Biofuels Acts - New law makes Massachusetts the first state to exempt advanced, non-food-based biofuels from state gas taxes, creating economic incentives for companies and reducing greenhouse gases. The Clean Energy law promotes the development of renewable energy, stimulating the clean energy industry and helping consumers reduce electric bills.
Signed the Oceans Act of 2008 -- Requires Massachusetts to develop a first-in-the-nation comprehensive plan to manage development in state waters, and balancing natural resource preservation with traditional and new uses.
Approved the Final State Environmental Review for Cape Wind – Determined that Cape Wind’s final state environmental impact review complies with state environmental policy, allowing the Cape Wind Project to proceed through the next steps to bringing clean, renewable wind energy to Massachusetts.
Launched Commonwealth Solar Rebate Program – The program will spur installation of solar electric power. Making it easier to obtain subsidies from existing renewable energy funds has already resulted in rebates awarded to 185 projects, for a total of 1.3 MW of installed solar power, in the first six months.
Focused on Creating Green Jobs –Creates a Clean Energy Technology Center to support R&D, entrepreneurship, and job training in the growing clean energy industry.
Investing in Environmental Resources - At $1.78 million, the Energy and Environment Bill is the largest ever, providing authorization of $366 million to support Governor Patrick’s commitment to land conservation, and $659 million for investment in Department of Conservation and Recreation– including locally owned bridges, parks, and recreation facilities.
Combating Global Warming Locally – This legislation requires Massachusetts to cap greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by up to a nation-leading 25 percent by 2020, ultimately reducing them by 80 percent by 2050. In addition to cleaning up the environment, the law will stimulate the development of clean energy technologies and jobs.
Growing the Economy – Targeted investments in key industries and statewide infrastructure will spur economic growth and help create new jobs.
Created the 10-year, $1 Billion Life Sciences Initiative – Enhancing the state’s already nationally recognized strengths in medicine and science and filling gaps in federal funding to ensure the state’s ability to support life sciences innovations from idea to product. Bringing together businesses, research hospitals, and public and private colleges and universities, the law will lead to new jobs and the discovery of novel therapies that will change the way people live in the Commonwealth and throughout the world.
Lowering Corporate Tax Rate and Promoting Tax Fairness – Proposed and signed into law a series of tax changes that makes the state tax system more fair and equitable for all individuals and businesses. The law closes a series of corporate tax loopholes and reduces the business tax rate, aligning Massachusetts with its competitor states and leveling the playing field for smaller businesses by making sure multi-state corporations are required to pay their fair share.
Permitting Reform - Streamlined state permitting to spur economic growth by cutting approval time from two to three years to six months on development projects.
Investing in our Infrastructure:
Roads and bridges – Signed into law a $3 billion accelerated bridge program that fast-tracks the repair of 300 of the state’s most structurally deficient bridges, assuring the public safety and saving millions of dollars.
Broadband – Signed into law a $40 million bond bill that will bring high speed internet access to underserved areas of the Commonwealth and communities with no access at all, spurring economic development and improving the quality of life.
Housing – Signed into law a $1.275 affordable housing bond bill – the state’s largest investment ever in housing and community development projects throughout the Commonwealth.
Higher education – A10-year $2.19 billion Higher Education Bond Bill makes an historic capital investment in the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities.
Auto Insurance Reform – Introduced an auto insurance system that lowers rates and gives consumers greater choice.
Engaged Governing – Governing for the long-term, making an impact on the daily lives of Massachusetts residents.
Readiness Project – Hundreds of residents and stakeholders helped shape Governor Patrick’s Education Action Agenda – a 10-year blueprint for education reform, focused on providing all children with a seamless, world-class education that begins before kindergarten and continues through workforce training and development.
Marriage Equality – Worked to protect same-sex marriage, repealed a 1913 law in order to allow out-of-state couples to marry in here, and provided equal benefits to same-sex couples.
Health Care Reform Implementation – More than 340,000 previously uninsured adults and children have health insurance coverage today as a result of the administration’s efforts working alongside health reform stakeholders.
Homelessness Prevention – Signed an executive order reconstituting the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Homelessness and Housing, calling for a new “housing-first” approach that will end homelessness here by 2013.
Foreclosure Relief – Set first-in-the-nation standards for lenders response to borrowers facing foreclosures, provided tools to help families remain in their homes.
Anti-violence Initiatives – Funded for the first time—and increased—in the state budget Shannon Grants, to prevent gang and gun violence and established the Statewide Anti-Crime Council to create comprehensive anti-violence policy.
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