In Massachusetts, we have great institutions of higher education, research hospitals, and a long history of innovation. We have one of the world's leading innovation economies, and throughout its history, the state has excelled. We have been pioneers in the mutual fund and microcomputer industries and pushed the frontiers of science and creating new domains of research and technology. As one report noted, the innovation that takes place here has fueled the rise of new industries such as digital technology, biotechnology and medical devices and transformed established industries with new processes, practices, and tools, like the machinery of mass production and the analytical instruments serving today's research enterprises. In addition, Massachusetts is winning awards for our strong policies supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy.
In Franklin and Medway, we have great industries here that revolve around health care, biotechnology, national defense, recreation, information technology, and the auto industry. This is good news for the people of Massachusetts and the residents of the 10th Norfolk District. And it shows that the strategy of business and government working as partners has helped us improve our economic future.
We have a lot of work to do, but we are headed in the right direction. As a Franklin Town Councilor, I worked hard to promote economic development in our community, and as your State Representative, I will continue to promote policies that create jobs and boost economic development to keep Massachusetts on the right track. With your participation, I will work to change any negative stereotypes and perceptions about doing business in Massachusetts. We are becoming a better state to do business and we must continue our work to create jobs and improve our economy for the benefit of all of our residents.
Since 2009, the Massachusetts economy has been expanding and the jobless rate here has fallen from 8.7 percent in December 2009 to 6.3 percent last month. According to a 2011 report, Massachusetts has the highest per-capita venture capital, patents, and technology licensing of 10 leading high-tech states. Worker productivity in Massachusetts (GDP per employed person) is the third-highest in the world. And research and development spending as a share of GDP in Massachusetts is higher than any country anywhere. Massachusetts has a AA+ bond rating, with one agency reporting Massachusetts has a broad and diverse economy with the second highest personal income per capita in the nation.
This year the Massachusetts legislature passed a jobs bill that implements strategically-focused economic development policies to make Massachusetts even more competitive by improving the Commonwealth's innovation economy. It promotes economic prosperity through infrastructure investments and streamlined permitting, facilitating the expansion of new and existing businesses, and training our workforce for the future. I will work hard to implement this legislation and build on its successes. Among some of the highlights of the legislation are:
* the creation of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, which will serve as a one-stop-shop for infrastructure funding.
* funding for a Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund, a program offering public and private universities funds for projects to boost their chances of winning federal research grants.
* funding for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public economic development agency, to support paid internships with technology start-ups and other companies. It also establishes an Advanced Manufacturing Futures Program that will provide grants for technical assistance for small and mid-size manufacturers.
* tax credit for new businesses in Massachusetts
* the establishment of a State Regulatory Ombudsman charged with helping employers navigate the state's business-related regulation. The Ombudsman will also train workers to identify and reduce the impacts regulations have on small business.
* worker retraining funds.
In addition, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, working in collaboration with 34 members of the private and public sector created and are now implementing, "Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century", the Economic Development Plan for the State. The plan identified 5 areas of focus and 55 action items to improve economic development and job creation in the state, and thus making Massachusetts more competitive.
And finally, I will work hard to continue building in the area of green jobs. Despite a tough economic environment across the globe, the Commonwealth's clean energy industry is growing rapidly. According to a survey from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), there are now 71,523 employees working in clean energy throughout the Commonwealth, up 11.2% from 2011. This growth outpaced the overall economy by almost a factor of ten. Clean energy continues to maintain its place as one of our Commonwealth's marquee industries with 1.7% of the total Massachusetts workforce. And MassCEC reports that the clean energy sector is emerging as a powerful economic industry in Massachusetts that will continue to generate thousands of jobs in the coming decades, and secure Massachusetts as a national and global leader in clean energy.