John Schneider

Smith and Wesson has received a $6 million state tax credit to add 225 jobs to its plant in Springfield.  Meanwhile, local officials in Pittsfield are sitting on pins and needles to see if federal funding is coming their way for components of a defense project to be built in their city resulting in 500 or so new jobs (looks likely).  It’s looking like a white Christmas for folks in Western Massachusetts.

It is tough to admit this but Massachusetts is good at building weapons.  The Springfield Armory, was the first federal armory established by Henry Knox when he was secretary of war for George Washington.  Springfield revolutionized mass production by perfecting the manufacture of interchangeable parts.  No doubt Springfield was the Silicon Valley of its day, leading the U.S. toward the industrial revolution.  Because Smith and Wesson is adding jobs—sorry New Hampshire—it makes sense for Secretary Bialicki to offer a tax credit.  This summer’s reforms to the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) were designed to do just that by targeting incentive monies to companies making things and adding jobs in the Gateway Cities.  Adding jobs, good jobs, is the key point here.  Public funds should be used to incentivize companies to do more and not just run in place.  And when incentives are used to steer job creation in communities like Springfield, where a boost of 200 jobs will make a real difference, that’s a twofer. 

One last point.  On Tuesday, the state terminated tax breaks for 38 companies that failed to comply with the regulations of EDIP.  That’s the kind of accountability that’s been lacking in the program and it’s good to see the aggressive stand being taken by the Patrick Administration to make sure companies deliver or else.  For sure we need jobs, just talk to the folks in Fall River about A.J. Wright, but tough budgets also require fiscal accountability.  With the confidence of a second term, it looks like Gov. Patrick is more willing to measure results and just say no.

Happy Holidays to Wonk and Rollers.  Watch for us in 2011!

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