SECTION 1. Chapter 10 of the general laws, as appearing in the 2016 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 35DDD the following section:-
Section 35EEE. There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a Lifelong Learning and Training Fund, which shall be administered by the department of career services. The fund shall be credited with:
(i) any appropriations, bond proceeds or other monies authorized or transferred by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund;
(ii) gifts, grants and other private contributions designated to be credited to the fund;
(iii) all other amounts credited or transferred to the fund from any other fund or source; and
(iv) interest or investment earnings on any such monies. Amounts credited to the fund may be expended by the department, without further appropriation, to provide matching contributions not to exceed $2,000 annually to Lifelong Learning and Training Accounts, established pursuant to section 12 of chapter 23H of the general laws.
The unexpended balance in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund but shall remain available for expenditure in subsequent fiscal years. No expenditure made from the fund shall cause the fund to become deficient at any point.
SECTION 2. Subsection (a) of section 3B of chapter 62 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new paragraph:-
(20) An amount equal to the amount expended in such taxable year for a contribution or contributions by a designated beneficiary, as defined in section 12 of chapter 23H of the general laws, or an employer of said beneficiary to a Lifelong Learning and Training Account of a designated beneficiary, established by the commonwealth or any instrumentality or authority thereof. In the case of a single person or a married person filing a separate return or a head of household, the total amount deducted in such taxable year shall not exceed $2,000. In the case of a married couple filing a joint return, the total amount deducted in such taxable year shall not exceed $4,000.
SECTION 3. Chapter 23H of the general laws, as appearing in the 2016 edition, is hereby amended by ending at the end thereof the following section:-
Section 12. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
“Administrator”, the person or entity within the department of career services tasked with overseeing and maintaining the Lifelong Learning and Training Account program.
“Department”, the department of career services.
“Designated beneficiary”, an individual participating in the Lifelong Learning and Training Account program who shall receive any funds paid into said individual’s Lifelong Learning and Training Account.
“Lifelong Learning and Training Account”, an account set up to allow for contributions from a designated beneficiary or employer as well as from government matching funds to be used for the purpose of funding qualified workforce training expenditures for said beneficiary.
“Lifelong Learning and Training Account program”, a program under which the designated beneficiary of a Lifelong Learning and Training Account or their employer may make contributions to said account established for the purpose of funding qualified workforce training expenditures of said beneficiary pursuant to the requirements of this section. Government matching funds may also be included in contributions to said account.
“Qualified workforce training expenditure”, any expenditure for accredited workforce training where a designated beneficiary may obtain an industry-recognized certificate or certification, license, or associates or baccalaureate degree, provided through a recognized institution, including, but not limited to a chapter 74-approved vocational or technical school, a community college as defined in section 10 of chapter 15A of the general laws, a workforce organization or trade association, a labor organization, or any other organization with industry-recognized credentials. Any qualified workforce training expenditure shall be approved by the department.
(a)(1) There is hereby established a Lifelong Learning and Training Account program where any designated beneficiary or their employer may make contributions to an individual Lifelong Learning and Training Account created for the purpose of the distribution of funds for qualified workforce training expenditures of said beneficiary. Said program shall be established by the department, which shall appoint an administrator to oversee and maintain said program.
(2) In order to participate, a designated beneficiary shall have an adjusted gross income of not more than $75,000 in any taxable year. Each designated beneficiary shall have a separate Lifelong Learning and Training Account, the total of which shall not exceed $10,000.
(3) During each taxable year, no contributions may be made by a designated beneficiary in excess of $2,000, including any funds contributed by the employer of said beneficiary, beginning once the beneficiary attains the age of 18 years.
(4) The allowable contributions of a Lifelong Learning and Training Account shall follow the designated beneficiary from one employer to the next, as well as during all periods of unemployment.
(b)(1) There shall be a Lifelong Learning and Training Account Fund, pursuant to section 35EEE of chapter 10 of the general laws, for the purpose of providing matching government contributions to a designated beneficiary under the Lifelong Learning and Training Account program. Said matching amount shall not exceed $2,000 annually. Any distribution to a designated beneficiary’s Lifelong Learning and Training Account from said fund shall first be utilized prior to any personal or employer amounts transferred to said account or any additional earnings acquired. The treasurer of the commonwealth, in conjunction with the department, shall transfer to the account of any designated beneficiary under a Lifelong Learning and Training Account program an amount equal to any amounts contributed to said account by said beneficiary or their employer, not to exceed $2,000 annually. Any funds transferred to the Lifelong Learning and Training Account of a designated beneficiary under this section shall be transferred by the treasurer of the commonwealth, in conjunction with the department, as soon as is practicable following any contribution to said account by said beneficiary or their employer.
(2) If the total amount of any transfers made by the treasurer of the commonwealth, in conjunction with the department, to the account of a designated beneficiary pursuant to subsection (b) during an applicable taxable year exceeds the dollar amount allowed under subsection (a)(3) or the total amount allowed in a Lifelong Learning and Training Account under subsection (a)(2), said excess shall be returned to the Lifelong Learning and Training Account fund.
(c) Any distribution for qualified workforce training under a Lifelong Learning and Training Account program from amounts transferred pursuant to this section shall be made by the administrator of said program, as designated by the department, directly to the entity providing qualified workforce training to the designated beneficiary, as described in this section. Said administrator shall make distributions either directly to a qualified workforce training program, which provides training to the designated beneficiary, or to reimburse the designated beneficiary for any qualified workforce training expenditures incurred by said beneficiary, provided that the beneficiary has supplied the administrator with any documentation as is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with this section. No amounts transferred pursuant to this paragraph to any account of a designated beneficiary under a Lifelong Learning and Training Account program may be distributed for any purpose other than for payment or reimbursement of qualified workforce training expenditures.
(d) The administrator shall maintain all pertinent information relative to each Lifelong Learning and Training Account, including the amount of any distribution from the account of a beneficiary and the total amount remaining in said account, and provide said information, including in aggregate, to the department and the beneficiary whenever requested.
(e) At the beginning of each applicable taxable year, the total amount of available funds in the account of the designated beneficiary, which were contributed by the designated beneficiary, their employer, or through matching government funds and any earnings thereon, shall remain with said beneficiary.
(f) On or before December 1 of each year, the department shall submit a report to the house and senate committee on ways and means, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on labor and workforce development, and the clerks of the house of representatives and senate evaluating the implementation and outcome of the Lifelong Learning and Training Account program established pursuant this section. Said report shall include, but not be limited to (i) a list of those workers utilizing said program based on geographic location, type of employment, and level of education; (ii) an assessment of the impact of said accounts on worker training and mobility; (iii) a list of all qualified training programs utilized in conjunction with distributions from said accounts; (iv) the total cost of matching funds from the commonwealth used for said program; and (v) anything else the department deems necessary.
(g) The department, in conjunction with the treasurer of the commonwealth and other department or office deemed applicable, shall conduct a public information campaign to inform the public of the availability of the Lifelong Learning and Training Account programs.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, the department of career services and the commissioner of the department of revenue shall promulgate regulations as necessary to carry out the intended purposes of this act.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect beginning on January 1, 2021.
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