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Massachusetts governor unveils development plan

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm •  Published: April 10, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has unveiled a $100 million proposal he says will spur economic growth by improving job opportunities, expanding the state's international marketing efforts and ending barriers to high-tech workers who want to change jobs.

Patrick's plan released Thursday would eliminate so-called non-compete agreements designed to discourage workers in high-tech companies from quitting and taking their skills to a competitor.

Patrick said the agreements stifle competition. He said tougher protections for trade secrets is a better solution.

Patrick's plan would also step up investments in the state's older, financially strapped municipalities known as Gateway Cities.

Patrick wants to promote market-rate housing in the cities, speed the cleanup of old manufacturing properties for reuse, and give cities and towns greater control over the number of liquor licenses in their communities by ending existing statutory limits.

Patrick defended the push to eliminate non-compete agreements, despite what he characterized as "some resistance to it in the tech community."

He said the best way to ease that resistance is to bulk up the state's existing protections against the sharing of intellectual property.

"In California, another tech hub, they don't have non-competes and they're doing pretty well," Patrick said during his monthly radio show on WGBH-FM. "We want to enable that same free flow of talent in an innovation hub here in Massachusetts which is booming and it ought to have as few restraints on it as possible."

Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Tech Council, said employers who spend money training and educating employees have legitimate concerns if an employee opts to work for a competitor.

"The appropriate place to address concerns of the large employers is to strengthen trade secrets protections," he said.

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