Bissaillon Calls for Economic Development Consolidation
ADAMS, Mass. —Dave Bissaillon, candidate for 1st Berkshire District State Representative, supports pending legislation that would consolidate Massachusetts’ economic development agencies, making it easier for businesses to launch, grow and relocate.
Bissaillon noted there are more than 30 state agencies that have a role in economic development, making it difficult for business owners to get state assistance. While he was president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Bissaillon participated in efforts to form more efficient and regionalized economic development agencies so that Berkshire cities, towns and companies could conduct economic development more efficiently. Doing the same statewide only makes sense, he said.
A conference committee is working to reconcile differences between House Bill 4863 and Senate Bill 2380. The bill would put the Massachusetts Office of Business Development in charge of coordinating business development efforts in the state and creating regional economic development plans in partnership with local entities. It would also consolidate agencies that have a role in attracting business to the state into a Massachusetts Marketing Partnership.
Bissaillon said he was struck during his time at the Chamber of Commerce by the myriad of economic development agencies whose acronyms amounted to alphabet soup.
“In most cases, although we had competent individuals in state agencies at the local level, it was difficult at best for local companies to determine which of the state agencies were best suited to help them,” Bissaillon said.
“I hope the conference committee finishes its work by Saturday’s close of the legislative session, because the reorganization will make it easier for businesses in the First Berkshire District to take advantage of state resources,” he added. “Business owners need to spend their time growing their business, working with their employees, and taking care of their customers, not trying to figure out how to find state assistance.”
Bissaillon said another aspect of the bill — the absorption of the Health and Educational Facilities Authority by MassDevelopment to expand services to non-profit organizations, small businesses and municipalities — would assist the district as well.
He supports a provision in the economic development bill that provides for a state sales tax holiday Aug. 14 and 15 to stimulate spending at businesses across the state.