Report hails Mass. biotech spending as job creator

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State’s $1b initiative said to yield economic strength

By Robert Weisman | GLOBE STAFF MARCH 26, 2013

Halfway through a decade of investment promised by Governor Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion life-sciences initiative, launched in 2008, the state has spent only about a third of the money targeted to promote the biotechnology and medical device industries in Massachusetts.

But the authors of a report set to be released Tuesday by the Boston Foundation, a philanthropic group, say the effort has helped stimulate a key sector of the state’s economy, creating more than 8,000 jobs through capital grants, tax incentives, and business loans. Read More

Life science is a life saver for Bay State, MetroWest

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By Cole Chapman | Daily News Correspondent | GateHouse News Service

BOSTON – Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1 billion investment plan for life science industries has added 2,537 jobs in its first five years, offering new opportunities for job growth in MetroWest and other regions around the state, a report released Tuesday says.

“Our research suggests that the state will benefit from fully funding the remaining five years of the initiative in order to maintain the lead the life sciences established in the commonwealth,” said Barry Bluestone, director of Northeastern University’s Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center and author of the report.

Bluestone told a gathering of scientists, academics and industry officials at the Boston Foundation offices that the state is “the world leader in life sciences.”

“The life sciences are kind of like the auto industry in 1910. This is the place to invest,” he said. Read More

Boston humming as appeal of life in city booms

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The century’s first decade has brought a historic surge of newcomers to the city, most settling downtown. They carry fresh expectations — and pose real challenges

By Casey Ross | The Boston Globe | March 3, 2013

Susan Mai’s Beacon Hill apartment is a postage stamp of a place. The kitchen isn’t much bigger than the bathroom, and entertaining friends is a bit like playing Frisbee in a phone booth.

But for all its drawbacks, Mai says she couldn’t be happier. She walks to work at a local publisher, eats out five times a week, and thinks of Boston Common as an ideal front yard.

“It hasn’t crossed my mind to ever want to leave the city,” said the 25-year-old Mai, who shares the 450-square-foot apartment with her boyfriend. “I’ve never thought of our place as too small. I really don’t need a big kitchen or a garden.”

Mai is among the thousands of young professionals whose devotion to urban living is causing Boston to grow at its fastest rate in decades. The influx has spawned a sweeping transformation of the city, with new residences and office buildings filling the skyline and reinventing commercial districts that once felt hopelessly time-worn. Read More

Quincy redevelopment project drawing attention from afar

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By Jack Encarnacao | The Patriot Ledger | March 2, 2013

Demolition of Quincy Center’s timeworn buildings is set to begin next month, the first step in the first piece of the long-awaited $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment project. When it starts, eyes far from Quincy will be watching.

The project, which will see the creation of 3.5 million square feet of business, retail and residential space in Quincy Center during the next seven years, has been picked up on the radar of experts in development and urban planning circles – experts who until recently did not know Quincy from Milwaukee.

In presentations across the country, the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute is citing the Quincy project as one to watch. Northeastern University is planning a course for the fall semester called “The Quincy Model,” in which the public-private partnership behind the project will be used as a teaching tool. The New York Times and trade journals have published articles about the project.

So far, the project has attracted nearly $200 million in investment from outside Massachusetts, and the venerable Boston firm The Beal Companies has signed on as a venture partner.” Read More

Should Mass. raise taxes?

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Four views on whether there have been enough reforms to justify Patrick’s proposed tax increase

Globe Correspondents | The Boston Globe | February 17, 2013

Yes: Pair revenue, reform

Since 1998, the Commonwealth has reduced personal and corporate income tax rates, costing the state $2.5 billion a year — leaving little to pay current bills or deal with $80 billion in past unfunded liabilities, let alone make critical education and transportation investments for our future. Yet with the public demanding reform before revenue, the governor and Legislature have been hesitant to increase taxes.

Reform is precisely what the Commonwealth has been doing. Major changes to the public employee health-insurance system and public pensions will save billions of dollars over the next 30 years. Accountability in our K-12 schools will enhance classroom quality. The Turnpike Authority was merged into the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the “Fast 14” project has sped up bridge repairs.

Thousands of other efficiencies, big and small, have been implemented, from replacing police officers with civilian flaggers to moving 3 million Registry of Motor Vehicle transactions online. Operating under a new strict statewide performance management system, every executive office has been cutting costs. With this focus on efficiency, state government employment has grown by just 0.3 percent over the past two years, while total non-farm employment has grown by 1.9 percent. State government is shrinking as a share of the state’s economy. Read More

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