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Policy group : Healey’s plan does little to make state competitive

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(The Center Square) – A public policy group in Massachusetts said the governor’s new capital investment plan still won’t make the state more competitive.

Democratic Gov. Maura Healey’s $14 billion capital investment plan spanning fiscal years 2024-28, announced Thursday, focuses on creating a more affordable, competitive and equitable future for the Bay State.

“Our FY24-FY28 capital plan includes major investments that are designed to make Massachusetts more affordable, competitive, and equitable for everyone,” Healey said in a statement. “It starts with addressing the high cost of housing by investing historic levels of funding into housing development, preservation, and rehabilitation and creating HousingWorks, a new program dedicated to expanding affordable housing.

“It also moves us forward on our climate and transportation goals, underscoring the important role that electrification plays in protecting our environment and improving public transportation service. We’re also expanding support for tried-and-true economic development programs and dedicating crucial resources to updating infrastructure across the state.”

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a nonprofit organization advocating fiscal responsibility, disagrees.

Paul D. Craney, spokesman for the policy group, said the plan needs to do more to make Massachusetts competitive. He said it doesn’t improve against states where residents are migrating, naming New Hampshire and Florida.

In an statement to The Center Square, he said, “Those states have no income tax whatsoever and continually strive to make themselves a more attractive option to the people and businesses increasingly dissatisfied with a Beacon Hill that becomes more hostile towards success each day. The only way Massachusetts can truly make itself more competitive is by embracing broad-based tax cuts that would help put us on a more equal footing with these states.”

Key elements of the Healey plan are:

• Investing $97 million in the HousingWorks program to create new housing while preserving housing and housing rehabilitation.

• Creation of the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities program; use $1.5 billion to construct hundreds of affordable housing units each year; use $19 million to increase the capacity of the MassWorks program.

• Invest more than $1.4 billion in transportation to reduce emissions through electrification; build sustainable transportation models and resilient infrastructure.

• Use $1.2 billion for economic development initiatives.

• Invest $262 million replacing bridges on Cape Cod and $106 million to construct a new, modern Hall of Justice in Springfield. Funding will also be directed to building new homes for veterans in Chelsea and Holyoke.

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