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When Evergreen Solar announced it was pulling up stakes at its plant in Devens after receiving $58 million in state aid, Massachusetts learned the hard way that certain industry investments don’t always pan out.
The Evergreen Solar debacle has reinvigorated the debate over whether state government should be in the business of developing not just individual companies, but entire industries.
The Patrick administration has thrown its weight behind the green tech, life sciences, and even film industries here in Massachusetts. In fact, Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki was in L.A. Tuesday trying to woo movie production companies to Massachusetts with its special film tax credit.
But should the state be targeting particular industries? Are special loans, subsidies, and industry-specific tax incentives the best way to develop the Massachusetts economy? Can state government grow markets, or should that just be left to the market itself?
Eric Nakajima, state senior Innovation Policy advisor
Jim Stergios, executive director of the Boston-based Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research