Sen. Lesser Meets with Springfield Chamber of Commerce to Tout Economic Development Proposals

SPRINGFIELD — Senator Eric P. Lesser, spoke to the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Steering Committee on Friday to keep the group of business leaders updated on legislative proposals designed to create jobs in Western Mass.

“The Springfield business community understands what it takes to create and keep jobs here in Western Mass. The Regional Chamber has strongly endorsed East-West Rail, and we are in agreement on the need to invest in our local vocational technical schools, which are training young people for the kinds of high-paying manufacturing jobs that our region is known for,” said Sen. Lesser, who serves as the Senate Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

Sen. Lesser spoke to the Chamber about his proposed remote worker incentive program, investments in life sciences and workforce development proposals.

Earlier this year, Sen. Lesser filed a bill, S.2193, to reinvest the incentive funds returned to the state from General Electric into the state’s vocational schools, following the company’s announcement that it will be reducing its footprint in Boston. General Electric had been awarded $87 million in tax incentives to relocate its headquarters to Boston, and had originally promised to hire 800 workers. It now expects to hire only 250 workers at its reduced headquarters location.

Sen. Lesser’s bill will direct these returned funds to vocational schools and school districts that include one or more vocational schools. The grants will be used to fund the design, construction and renovation of vocational-technical education programs, as well as equipment purchases and installation that will enable the schools to expand capacity and reduce student waitlists.

Sen. Lesser also introduced a bill, S. 208, that would incentivize people who work remotely from home to relocate to Western Mass. by reimbursing their moving expenses.

“This would put new homeowners on our tax rolls, bring more young people into our communities and draw new patrons to our local economy. And it’s a fraction of the cost of how much the state gave GE to put a new headquarters in Boston,” said Sen. Lesser.

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Eric Lesser