Healey targets life sciences, climate technology, AI in economic development bill

Governor Maura Healey outlined an economic development bill she plans to introduce this week at a forum hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

A sweeping economic development bill Gov. Maura Healey plans to introduce this week would reauthorize the Life Sciences Investment Initiative, fund similar programs for the climate technology sector and create a new “applied AI hub.” The first-term Democratic Party lawmaker said that the new law will be established. Tuesday.

Speaking at a forum hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Healey recommended legislation to the business community that would position Massachusetts for “sustainable growth and shared prosperity,” while also advancing “all sectors of our economy.” did.

“It supports small businesses, rural development, and coastal development. It expands workforce training and allows for reform, broadband expansion, and innovative public-private partnerships,” according to a copy of prepared remarks. she said. “This economic development bill will position Massachusetts for sustained leadership in an innovative, mission-driven, high-growth economy.”

The governor did not immediately put an amount in the bill, but the figure could raise questions on Beacon Hill. State revenues continue to fall below revised forecasts Healey announced in January, at the same time lowering his fiscal year 2024 forecast by $1 billion.

But Mr. Healy struck an optimistic tone, telling business leaders that his administration was making “transformative investments in child care, education and transportation” while “controlling spending.”

The soon-to-be-announced economic development will expand on a public-private life sciences investment initiative first launched under former Governor Deval Patrick that committed $1 billion to the sector over 10 years. Former Gov. Charlie Baker extended it in 2018 with an additional $623 million over five years. The expiration date of the program is June 30, 2025.

Healy said the initiative has created “tens of thousands of jobs” and leveraged more than $6 billion in private investment since its inception in 2008. Since then, 18 of Massachusetts’ 20 largest life sciences companies have chosen to locate their headquarters in the state, she said. she said.

The initiative will also look at funding partnerships across the “health care and innovation ecosystem to improve patient outcomes” and “new focus areas” such as improving health equity. Mr. Healy said.

“This investment will help entrepreneurs stay here and grow their ideas into companies. We will help more companies develop manufacturing sites here and create a wide range of good jobs. and create pathways for students and workers from underrepresented backgrounds to get those jobs,” Healy said, according to prepared remarks.

Healey said the bill would also fund a “10-year climate technology initiative” aimed at making Massachusetts a “global innovation lab for a clean energy revolution.” That could include supporting research and development at universities and providing resources and facilities to start-up companies, she said.

Healy said the climate technology funding program would “expand” partnerships between manufacturing and workforce development.

“This will further extend our lead in offshore wind power. Climate change technology companies don’t just generate ideas here, they stay here, they grow, they locate manufacturing here, and they create good jobs across the state. ,” she said in prepared remarks.

Healey said the economic development bill would also create and fund an “applied AI hub” to address “the most innovative emerging technologies of our lifetime.”

The hub will fund the implementation of recommendations from a task force on artificial intelligence that Healey established earlier this month, with its findings expected to be reported within six months.

Although Healey offered few specifics, he pointed to “research, collaboration and workforce solutions that give businesses and workers a competitive edge.”

“We can make AI a job creator, not a job destroyer, in Massachusetts. We want Massachusetts businesses, consumers, and workers to lead this technology and reap the benefits.” “We can make sure that people receive the same amount of money they deserve,” she said, according to prepared remarks.

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