A bill introduced in the Massachusetts state Senate would create a financial incentive for people to relocate to the state's western region.
The proposed legislation would pay people currently living and working outside of western Massachusetts up to $5,000 per year for two years to move to any of the state's four western counties, while still working outside of the area.
State Senator Eric Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat who introduced the bill, said the idea was sparked by frustration over a lopsided focus on Boston.
“We read report after report of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives being given to huge multinational corporations to locate in places and neighborhoods in Boston that are already receiving massive investment,” Lesser said.
Western Massachusetts residents have long complained that the state invests heavily in the Boston area, while allocating relatively few resources to cities and towns in the more sparsely-populated western counties.
Lesser developed his proposal using a Vermont program that went into effect this month as a model. That plan also pays people up to $10,000 to move to Vermont and work for out-of-state companies remotely.
The proposal in Massachusetts’ Senate calls for $1 million for a three-year pilot program.