Sen. Lesser Introduces Bill Incentivizing Workers to Relocate to Western Mass.

“We need to think big about how to create growth in the forgotten parts of Massachusetts,” Lesser said

BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser has filed a new bill at the start of the legislative session that would reimburse workers for moving expenses to relocate to Western Mass. while working remotely for companies outside the region. The goal is to encourage more people to move out of congested cities like Boston or New York and contribute to the economies of areas of our state left out of the high-tech boom.

Under the bill, SD. 1006, An Act establishing the Western Massachusetts remote worker relocation incentive program, workers would be eligible for reimbursement of up to $10,000 in relocation and setup expenses as long as they are employed by a business outside of the region.

“Instead of giving money to the world’s wealthiest companies to locate in already-booming neighborhoods of Boston, why don’t we give money directly to workers to start families and build homes in areas of Massachusetts left out of Boston’s boom? We need to think big about how to create growth in the forgotten parts of Massachusetts that haven’t seen the same level of investment or growth that metro Boston has,” said Sen. Lesser.

“I hope this can serve as a model for how other states manage the urban-rural divide to better support our former manufacturing towns that are being left out of the growth of mega-cities like New York or San Francisco,” he added.

The concept is modeled on a new program in Vermont that went into effect on Jan. 1 this year. Joan Goldstein, Vermont’s economic development commissioner, told the Boston Globe that she believes the incentive could be the tipping point for people already considering a move.

In addition, the fact that the program exists can have a marketing effect similar to campaigns run by local tourist boards. It puts Western Mass. on the radar for young workers searching for an community where they can afford to buy a home and start a family.

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Ryan Migeed