GOP’s Baker Unveils Economic Development Plan

Charlie Baker, Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts, unveiled his economic and development plan Wednesday. The candidate claims that the plan will help build better schools, create jobs, and help to strengthen local communities.

Included in the plan are several proposals that would use tax credits to incentivize the hiring of veterans or those on welfare, as well as plans to help small employers with the upcoming rise of the minimum wage to $11 per hour by the year 2017.

Baker also claimed that his plan would cut business fees, help provide affordable housing, and further open the process for bidding on public projects to minority-owned businesses.

While Baker’s plan has been estimated to cost up to $300 million year, he said that it would overall be “a small price to pay” and the lost revenue could be easily covered. He added, “We’ve got a $38 billion budget. Tax and other revenues grow by about $1 billion a year. I think we can figure it out.”

Democratic candidate Martha Coakley already announced that her administration would offer up to $500 million for economic development over the course of the next decade if elected governor. Of that $500 million, Coakley stated that $400 million be used on major infrastructure projects. The rest would be set aside for grants to find further strategies for economic development. Coakley has also pledged to cut the waiting list of those applying for subsides for pre-kindergarten education. Baker stated that early education shouldn’t be the only focus for the state.

Baker said, “The important thing we need to do with respect to expanding pre-K is we need to make sure that those kids are going into schools where they’re going to continue to get the education they need.” He added, “You can’t think about pre-K without thinking about K-8 as well. Those two have to be connected.”

Along with Coakley and Baker, three others have announced their plans to run for governor as independents, Jeff McCormick, Scott Lively, and Evan Falchuk.

Election Day is Nov. 4.

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