|November 3, 2017 01:36 PM
|Senator James R. Brewster
|All Senate members
|Maximizing the use of the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund
|In the near future, I plan to introduce SB 924, a bill to support the manufacturing sector by maximizing the use of the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund.
A thriving manufacturing sector is vital to the Commonwealth’s economic health. According to the Center for Manufacturing Research, manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of the total gross domestic product output and over $85.15 billion in economic output. More than 9 percent of our workforce is employed in the manufacturing sector.
The Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund (MELF) is a revolving loan fund that provides low-interest loans to business enterprises in industrial processes, mining, manufacturing, production agriculture, information technology, biotechnology, service as a medical facility and other industrial or technology sectors to finance machinery and equipment purchases.
Since its creation in 2004, MELF’s maximum loan amount has been capped at $5 million, even though the cost of machinery and equipment, etc. has increased substantially in the past 13 years. SB 924 proposes to increase the maximum loan amount to $7.5 million to provide businesses with greater access to cheap capital.
In addition, my bill proposes to allocate up to $5 million of any ending year balance in the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund to a grant program to assist community colleges, career and technical schools and vocational programs with machinery and equipment purchases.
This amount would be in addition to the annual appropriation in the General Fund budget and would ensure that our students have access to the proper resources to pursue their career training.
This legislation is part of a package of legislation designed to aid our manufacturers, workers, small businesses and rebuild our manufacturing base. The legislative package includes Senate Bill 923, SB 924 and SB 925.
I believe it’s important to improve our manufacturing sector is through enhanced vocational training and adapting facilities to new modern technology. I hope that you will join me in in sponsoring this legislation.
Introduced as SB924