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Patrick Administration Seeks $100 Million for Gateway Cities

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is asking the Legislature to approve a bill that would make $100 million available to the state’s 26 so-called Gateway Cities, including Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Westfield, and Pittsfield, for a host of economic development initiatives. Included in the bill are provisions for: $15 million for commercial development projects; $10 million in grants and loans to clean up contaminated industrial sites; $5 million for loans fort small businesses; $25 million in annual tax credits for companies that commit to adding jobs; and $20 million for “middle” skills job training in manufacturing and information technology. “We are trying to make sure every resident — and not just residents of Boston — have access to economic opportunities,” said Alex Zaroulis, a spokeswoman for Patrick’s office of Administration and Finance. However, some legislators said the proposed spending was not enough to make a real difference in the struggling cities. “The level of funding proposed by the governor is simply insufficient,” said Rep. Antonio Cabral, a New Bedford Democrat. “The surest way to undermine faith in the Commonwealth’s programs is to fund them at a level that we know won’t solve the problem.”

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