Massachusetts Recovery Update

Week of August 3, 2009

The Massachusetts Recovery Update is a periodic email update of recovery-related news in the Commonwealth. If you find this information useful, please forward it to others and encourage them to subscribe or follow our updates via Twitter, RSS, or http://Mass.Gov/Recovery.

Opportunities for Municipalities: Tax & Bond Provisions

The Recovery Act encourages the use of new tax credit bonds as an alternative to traditional tax-exempt bonds issued by state and local governments. The law also expands certain tax credit programs already in place and introduces measures to improve the marketability of tax-exempt bonds. Further details regarding the seven types of bond programs can be found here.

Opportunities for Individuals: Find a Job using JobQuest

Employers who create jobs using Recovery funding must post those job announcements to the Commonwealth's JobQuest system. A wide range of stimulus-related positions--ranging from career counselors to communication specialists are available. The JobQuest system also gathers employment opportunities from many sources including many other private sector online job-posting sites.

Opportunities For Businesses: Search for Contracts

For the most up to date ARRA business opportunities , head to Comm-PASS, the Commonwealth's sole online procurement record site which supports all bid and grant records related to any ARRA funds distributed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Comm-PASS is available for use free of charge and provides you with the ability to search for a variety of contracts by either category or department.

General Program Updates

Education: Race to the Top

Governor Patrick recently filed legislation to more than triple the number of available charter school seats in the lowest-scoring 10 percent of school districts, turn around underperforming schools more quickly and effectively, and promote innovative in-district schools for all Massachusetts students and families. The Governor's education reform package will strengthen the Commonwealth's effort to compete with other states for $4.35 billion in federal Race to the Top funds being made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

President Obama discusses Race to the Top in a YouTube Video viewable from the Massachusetts Recovery website.

The grants will be awarded to states based on applications to be completed this Fall, with the first round of funding released in early 2010.

Energy and Environment: Solar Stimulus

The Department of Energy Resources has issued the first of four to build out projects at Westfield State, MWRA, Logan, and Somerville Housing facility. The projects are part of $20 million to be allocated through the Massachusetts Solar Stimulus Program.

Housing: Tax Credit Loans and Low Income Housing Grants

First-time homebuyers should find it easier to put together a down payment, thanks to a Massachusetts program that gives them immediate access to cash from Federal tax credits. The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Loan Program provides first-time homebuyers with a loan for up to $8,000 in advance of receiving a federal tax credit. This will allow residents who lack the cash--but who will be able to take the tax credit next year--the ability to use the money now and obtain a home.

The economic downtown and difficulty in obtaining construction financing has caused housing development in New England to grind to a virtual halt. But $50.8 million of stimulus funding <u>will soon be available</u> through the Low Income Housing Grants in Lieu of Tax Credits program. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will implement the program and estimates that over the next 12 to 18 months, up to 300 housing units can be built, while creating hundreds of jobs. Pending approval from the US Treasury Department, tax credit exchange funds will be awarded to project sponsors through a competitive process that DHCD hopes to begin in August 2009.

Contact Us

For the latest recovery news and updates:

As always, please feel free to visit our website or contact the stimulus office at 617-979-8380 if you have any questions.