Healey unveils billion-dollar plans for Life Sciences 3.0, clean energy hub

Healey unveils billion-dollar plans for Life Sciences 3.0, clean energy hub

By Hannah Green and Greg Ryan

Gov. Maura Healey has laid out her plans to reauthorize the Life Sciences Initiative with a new $1 billion, 10-year strategy, as well as put an additional $1 billion toward making the Bay State a hub for the clean energy industry.

The so-called “Life Sciences 3.0,” as well as a package of tax incentives for energy companies and money to boost the Clean Energy Center, will be included in Healey’s soon-to-be-filed economic development bill.

Healey said the administration’s investment in the state through the upcoming economic development bill, called the Mass Leads Act, “may be upwards of $3.5 billion” over 10 years.

Life Sciences 3.0

The bill will include $500 million to fund the quasi-public Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which runs workforce training, leadership development and internship programs.

Healey is also allocating $350 million for tax incentives.The bill extends the tax incentive program to 2033 and increases the statutory cap from $30 million to $50 million for life sciences tax incentives, with the annual awards subject to approval by the Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.

Additionally, $150 million is set aside in operating resources for workforce training and other strategic initiatives supporting the life sciences sector. 

For example, the administration said operating appropriations can be used to fund internships and make grants and loans available to early-stage companies. This plan includes the expansion of Pathmaker, a part of the administration’s MassTalent Initiative to further the development and expansion of life science career training programs.

“The Mass Leads Act will re-up the Life Sciences Initiative for another decade of global leadership in medical discovery. New areas of focus will be on health equity and so much more,” Healey said.

The Life Sciences Initiative was first launched by then-Gov. Deval Patrick back in 2008 as a spending bill that authorizes capital spending, tax incentives and other programs meant to bolster the state’s biopharmaceutical industry. The initiative also funded the MLSC.

The first iteration of the bill involved $1 billion. The second, authorized by Gov. Charlie Baker 10 years later, added $473 million in new capital authorizations over five years and up to $300 million in tax incentives over 10.

Healey’s expected addition to the Life Sciences Initiative has been brewing since she arrived in office. Last April, she confirmed in an exclusive interview with the Business Journal in April that she would reauthorize the plan.

Clean energy hub

To establish Massachusetts as a hub for the clean energy industry, the administration is proposing to beef up the Clean Energy Center and to give out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks over the next decade to climatetech and offshore wind companies. 

“When we came into office last year, we said that… that we knew that Massachusetts should be the climate innovation lab of the entire world,” Healey said. “We have the power to do that by investing in this ecosystem and our people. That’s what this Mass Leads Act is gonna do.”

Healey is seeking to boost the sector through two $200 million capital programs: one to support climate technologies, and the other to support the offshore wind industry.

The bill would also create a tax break program for climatetech companies, funded at $300 million over 10 years, or $30 million a year. An existing initiative for offshore wind tax credits would get $35 million a year.

MassCEC would get an additional $300 million over the decade to fund its operations.

Healey announced her life sciences and climatetech priorities at Form Energy’s Somerville headquarters. Form Energy is one of the local companies taking full advantage of the clean energy boom. Last summer, the battery maker leased nearly 100,000 square-feet at 200 Inner Belt Road and plans to find a single headquarters in the city a few years from now.

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