Dear Senator,

On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is writing regarding S. 3018, An Act relating to economic growth and relief for the Commonwealth. As you prepare for debate on this historic economic development package, the MMA would like to express deep appreciation to Senate President Spilka and Chairs Rodrigues, Lesser, and Hinds for preparing a powerful and impressive proposal.

The $4.3 billion Senate Ways and Means Committee bill makes deliberate and strategic investments utilizing both state ARPA and surplus funding, while including critical tax relief proposals for lower and middle income Bay Staters. There is significant funding directly targeted to aid cities and towns, and given the magnitude of need across Massachusetts, we respectfully request your support.

Affordable Housing
We support the $400 million in authorizations to support housing production, including $150 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund as well as $150 million for workforce housing programs. The Commonwealth is experiencing a severe affordable housing shortage, and the sizable increase to these programs will help us maintain our region’s competitiveness and provide economic stability.

We strongly support the $400 million for MassWorks grants for local infrastructure projects. Every municipality in the Commonwealth can identify critical infrastructure projects that are shovel-ready, and this additional funding for MassWorks grants will provide much-needed assistance to propel these projects into the action phase.

Clean Water Trust Fund Grants
We support the $254 million for Clean Water Trust Fund grants. The Clean Water Trust Fund helps communities build or replace water infrastructure, ensures the safety of drinking water, protects public health, and develops resilient communities. Through the Trust, municipalities can finance significant, complex and urgently needed water projects. Our municipalities are struggling to deal with aging and insufficient infrastructure systems, and at the same time more and more communities are identifying PFAS contaminants in their public drinking water supplies. Funds for water treatment will be put to quick and beneficial use.

To help close the digital divide, investment in broadband infrastructure is essential. We support the $50 million authorized for broadband matching grant funds at the state level, in anticipation that these resources can be used to leverage new competitive programs at the federal level.

Municipal Efficiency Outside Sections
In addition to the important investments outlined above, we also support several outside sections included in S. 3018 aimed at giving municipalities necessary tools they need to operate more effectively. These outside sections include many technical corrections as well as language to operate more efficiently, modernize operations, and streamline timely services and support at the local level. These important provisions are incorporated in Sections 25, 26, 74-77, and 153.

As you deliberate on all 631 amendments, we respectfully ask you to support those that would empower municipalities and catalyze economic development at the community level, and avoid adopting any amendments that could erode local decision-making or preempt municipal authority in this important economic development work.

With your leadership, Massachusetts has been a national leader in navigating the pandemic, stabilizing our economy, and investing for the growth and renewal that will benefit all parts of the Commonwealth. S. 3018 continues this work, and we again thank you, Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and your Senate colleagues for your support of cities and towns in the historic legislation you will consider on Thursday.


Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO