BOSTON (AP) — A bill that would focus more state investment on computer education, startup technology firms and affordable housing was unveiled by Democratic House leaders at the Statehouse on Tuesday.
"Through strategic investments and policy initiatives, we aim to encourage private sector investment, strengthen the innovation economy, support the manufacturing sector, and provide workforce training to help meet the critical needs of Massachusetts employers," said Rep. Joseph Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat who chairs the economic development and emerging technologies committee.
Wagner and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, were joined by business leaders as they announced the proposal less than two months before the July 31 close of the legislative session.
The bill does not include Gov. Deval Patrick's call to eliminate so-called non-compete agreements designed to discourage workers in cutting edge technology firms from quitting their jobs and taking their knowledge to a competitor.
The House plan includes a $1.5 million investment in a public-private partnership that boosts computer science education in public schools.
The bill would target $2 million for a "talent pipeline" program that provides matching stipends and mentoring opportunities for promising interns and young entrepreneurs at high-tech startup firms.
Also included is a provision that encourages the board overseeing the state's pension reserves to invest additional money in companies that make financing available to startups and small businesses.
On the housing front, Democratic leaders said the bill would strengthen two existing programs by investing $5 million in the state's Housing Preservation & Stabilization Trust Fund, and by doubling to $10 million the amount of available tax credits for mixed-income and market rate housing.
An economic development bill filed by Patrick in April included the elimination of non-compete agreements that the governor said stifled competition. His bill instead called for tougher protections for trade secrets.
Supporters of non-compete clauses said employers who spend money training and educating employees have legitimate concerns if an employee opts to work for a competitor.