Sen. Eric Lesser Named as Finalist of “NewDEAL New Ideas Challenge”

Sen. Eric P. Lesser has been named a finalist of the “New Ideas Challenge” sponsored by NewDEAL, a national organization for young elected officials supporting new ideas at the state and local level.

“I’m excited that this idea is gaining national attention, since it puts an even bigger spotlight on the unique needs of Western Massachusetts and similar regions throughout the country,” Sen. Lesser said.

“As a former Governor, I know that the best ideas about moving our country forward often come from innovators on the front lines of state and local government. I’m excited by the fresh thinking demonstrated by NewDEAL Leaders through the Ideas Challenge and excited to see their ideas put into action,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Honorary NewDEAL Co-Chair.

Sen. Lesser’s idea, modeled after his own legislation sponsored in the Massachusetts Senate, offers a 10 percent tax credit, up to $100,000 per year, to investors who fund high-tech small businesses located in Gateway Cities, including Springfield and Chicopee. The aim is to boost entrepreneurship and economic growth in areas outside traditional tech centers. The bill had a public hearing June 30 and awaits action by the Joint Committee on Revenue.

“A high-tech business tax credit is exactly the type of innovative policymaking needed to make strong economic progress in Springfield and our surrounding communities,” Sen. Lesser said.

In his submission, Senator Lesser cited Springfield-based organizations such as Tech Foundry, Bay State Health’s TechSpring, Valley Venture Mentors and River Valley Investors as “leading examples of a startup ecosystem that this bill will support, nurture and grow.”

The New Ideas Challenge is a national contest that recognizes innovative policies being developed by state and local leaders. Sen. Lesser was among 18 finalists chosen out of nearly 70 applicants. More information on the contest and finalists can be found here: newde.al/15finalists

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