Congratulations to Village Automotive Group for the installation and unveiling of their new solar arrays at their Audi Norwell and Porsche Norwell locations.
The Massachusetts economy has been steadily growing into one of the strongest in the country. Since 2014, we have been able to turn a $1 Billion state budget deficit into a $1 Billion surplus without raising taxes. Our unemployment rate is at 3.6%, well below the national average. We have one of the most educated workforces in the country, with the best environment for innovative business growth and gig-economy startups. Despite our strengths, there will always be room for improvement in areas of need.
Since I was sworn into office in 2016, there have been two Economic Development Bond Bills passed to invest in long-term projects that will strengthen our local and state economy. In the first round, my office secured funding to improve the Hingham 3A Rotary, increase tourist accessibility in Brant Rock, and an MBTA Commuter Rail performance assessment to propose solutions to existing problems.
In the second round, I was proud to secure bonds in the amount of $3 million to repair Scituate’s water infrastructure, $3 million for new water mains to Union Point, $2 million for the renovation of Norwell Town Center, $2 million for a Business Climate Innovation Center in Marshfield, $1 million for economic growth in the Weymouth Landing, and $1 million for the Nantasket Beach Front Business District.
Our housing market has been under strain, which is why the legislature recently passed the largest Housing Bond Bill ever, with $1.8 Billion of investments in low income and workforce housing, housing creation, and brownfields development. I was able to amend the bill to create a Commission to determine the level of need for adult disabled housing in the state, and to form recommendations for a plan to meet that level of need.
As the Senator of a coastal district, I have supported projects and legislation to invest in and promote the marine economy. Marine trades are in great need of an increased workforce, so we worked to include $100,000 in the FY19 State Budget to increase workforce training opportunities and technical education for careers in the marine trades.
Our office is continuously working alongside local State Representatives to fund and complete road construction projects to provide smoother and faster transit throughout the South Shore. My staff is constantly in touch with MassDOT officials as well, to make quick repairs and improvements to our roadways where needed.
By strengthening transport and economic ties to the city, we may diversify our economy, bringing a greater range of manufacturers and start-up companies into the region so that we may become more self-sufficient. Outsourcing of jobs is only weakening our economy. That is why I believe in union labor, because it keeps employment local, provides desired work conditions, and produces high quality results.
As a fiscal conservative I am a firm believer in keeping taxes low to stimulate and grow our economy. I filed a total of seventeen tax abatements to the state budget for those who deserve the monetary credit. Child care, college tuition, hospice care, and other expenses are financial burdens that many cannot avoid. By alleviating expenses like these, we are giving people greater financial freedom to become more productive to benefit themselves and the Commonwealth. By that same reasoning, business investors and small business should be given the financial incentive to empower local economies and their communities.