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  • Acts
  • 2000
  • Chapter 310 AN ACT MAKING CERTAIN CORRECTIONS TO THE REGIONAL TOURISM FACILITIES BOARD AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE URBAN RENEWAL AND REVITALIZATION PROGRAM.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to make certain statutory corrections, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Chapter 23G of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following two sections:-

Section 42. (a) It is in the best public interest of the commonwealth to promote the prosperity and general welfare of all citizens by enhancing the attractiveness of all regions of the commonwealth for cultural activities and tourism-related activities by partially financing the construction, expansion, renovation or repair of cultural, entertainment, public venues or other regional tourism facilities which may stimulate further investment in the arts, entertainment, humanities and interpretive sciences and may result in increased employment or entrepreneurial opportunities for the citizens of the commonwealth or increased tourism to the region where the facility is located, including tourism from outside the commonwealth.

(b) There is hereby established and placed under the control of the Agency the Regional Tourism Facilities Fund, hereinafter referred to as the fund, to which shall be credited, subject to appropriation, for any fiscal year in which revenues deposited into the Massachusetts Tourism Fund exceed the amounts deposited into said Massachusetts Tourism Fund in the previous fiscal year, 50 per cent of the increase in revenues beyond amounts received in the prior fiscal year received by said Massachusetts Tourism Fund from the tax imposed by section 3 of chapter 64G, section 22 of chapter 546 of the acts of 1969 or any appropriation made pursuant to section 35J of chapter 10. Notwithstanding the provisions of the previous sentence, the fund shall also be credited with all bond proceeds, federal funds, private contributions, loans or other monies lawfully made available to said fund. The purpose of said fund shall be to make loans or grants for infrastructure projects and eligible projects. Applicants may apply for assistance from the fund for a feasibility grant, grant or loan for the construction, expansion, renovation or repair of cultural, entertainment, public venues, regional tourism facilities or other commercial facilities hereinafter referred to as a project, and the Agency may make a qualified investment in a project upon its finding that: (i) the project is an eligible project or infrastructure project; (ii) there is a demonstrated need for the project; (iii) the project will benefit tourism in the local area; (iv) there is local support for the project; and (v) if the project is in a community that has exercised its right to impose a local option hotel-motel excise tax, pursuant to section 3A of said chapter 64G, there is a commitment for partial financing of the project through such local option hotel-motel excise tax revenue. The Agency shall hold said fund in a separate account, segregated from all other Agency funds. The Agency may invest and reinvest said fund and the income therefrom, except, as hereinafter provided, only (i) in the making of qualified investments; (ii) in the investment of funds not required for immediate disbursement in the purchase of such securities as may be lawful investments for fiduciaries in the commonwealth; (iii) for the payment of binding obligations associated with the qualified investments which are secured by said fund as the same became payable; and (iv) for the payment of principal or interest on qualified investments secured by said fund or the payments of any redemption premium required to be paid when such qualified investments are redeemed prior to maturity. Not less than 50 per cent of said fund shall be expended for cultural facilities projects as defined herein. The Agency shall award the first round of grants from the fund in fiscal year 2002.

(c) As used in this section, the terms "construction", "costs of the project" and "federal agency", shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the meanings set forth in section 1. As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

"Applicant", a public agency or private organization exempt from income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of Title 28 of the Internal Revenue Code.

"Commercial facilities", a building or structure, or site owned or used by a public, private, civic, educational or professional organization or educational foundation concerned with the arts, humanities, interpretive sciences or local arts and exempt from income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of Title 28 of the Internal Revenue Code, which is accessible to the public including, but not limited to, museums, historical sites, zoos, aquariums, theaters, concert halls, exhibition spaces, classrooms, auditoriums suitable for presentation of performing or visual arts. This definition does not include public or private educational institutions of early childhood, elementary, secondary, higher educational and vocational-technical education.

"Cultural organization", a nonprofit organization, public or private, which is primarily concerned with the arts, humanities, interpretive sciences or local arts which is exempt from income taxation. This definition does not include public or private educational institutions of early childhood, elementary, secondary, higher educational and vocational-technical education.

"Council", the members of the regional tourism facility fund advisory council, established pursuant to section 43.

"Director", the director of the Agency.

"Eligible project", a project for the acquisition, design, construction, repair, renovation or deferred maintenance of a regional tourism facility which furthers the purposes of this section.

"Feasibility grant", a direct grant of monies from the fund, subject to matching grant requirements to an applicant for payment of the costs and expenses related to the undertaking and completion of a planning and feasibility study for a proposed project. No such grant shall exceed $50,000. The agency may award a feasibility grant upon its findings that: (i) there is a likelihood that the proposed project will qualify as an eligible project; and (ii) there is local support for the proposed project.

"Fund", the Regional Tourism Facilities Fund created by this section.

"Grant", a direct grant of monies from the fund to an applicant for payment of the costs of a project; provided, that the amount of any single grant awarded from the fund shall not exceed $7,000,000; provided further, that grants for a total value less than $1,000,000 shall be subject to a matching funding requirement of dollar for dollar of the amount of the grant; provided further, that grants for a total value in excess of $1,000,000 and less than $2,500,000 shall be subject to a matching funding requirement of at least two times the amount of the grant; provided further, that grants for a total value in excess of $2,500,000 and less than $5,000,000 shall be subject to a matching funding requirement of at least three times the amount of the grant; provided further, that grants for a total value in excess of $5,000,000 and less than $7,000,000 shall be subject to a matching funding requirement of at least four times the amount of the grant; provided further, that not less than 50 per cent of all grant funds expended in one fiscal year from the fund shall be for cultural facility projects as defined herein.

"Infrastructure", repairs to the roof, heating and cooling systems, physical plant, plumbing or foundation of an existing facility and improvements to an existing facility which are necessary to meet life and safety code requirements, so-called, or improvements to an existing facility in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or improvements needed to amenities including, but not limited to, light and sound systems, theater seating, expansion or renovation of revenue generating equipment typical for the venue such as concession stands and new projection equipment.

"Loan", a direct loan to an applicant from the fund for payment of up to 40 per cent of the cost of a project for an eligible project, except that the amount of any single loan awarded from the fund shall not exceed $7,000,000.

"Public body", the commonwealth and any body politic and corporate of the commonwealth, including any political subdivision thereof or any consortium of any contiguous subdivisions and any federal agency.

"Qualified investment", a grant, including a feasibility grant, loan, loan insurance or reinsurance, equity investment, guarantee or other financing or credit enhancement device provided under said fund for an eligible project.

"Regional tourism facility", a building, structure or site owned or used by a public or private organization, exempt from income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of Title 28 of the Internal Revenue Code, which is accessible to the public and constitutes a regional tourism attraction including, but not limited to, museums, historical sites, zoos, aquariums and facilities for the performing or visual arts.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, as a condition of accepting a grant from the fund, an applicant shall agree that, whenever ownership of any property which was purchased or improved with a grant from the fund is transferred to another party, such grant shall be repaid immediately to the fund. The amount of such repayment shall be in the full amount of the grant.

(e) The Agency may establish rules and regulations relative to the fund. Copies of such rules and regulations, and any modifications or amendments thereto, shall be delivered to the chairmen of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the clerks of the house and senate.

Section 43. There shall be established a regional tourism facilities board, in this section called the board. The board shall be comprised of 15 members to be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be the director of the Massachusetts cultural council or her designee, one of whom shall be the director of the office of travel and tourism or her designee, one of whom shall be the director of the Agency or his designee, and six of whom shall reside outside of the metropolitan Boston area, of whom at least three shall reside in western Massachusetts. All members shall be appointed for a period of five years. Members of the board shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for ordinary in-state travel expenses. The board may establish a technical advisory panel to assist in reviewing applications. The Agency shall provide administrative support for the board from the administrative funds allowed in this chapter.

All applications for grants or loans shall be reviewed by the board and only those pre-approved by the board may receive consideration by the Agency for final approval. Within 30 days, the Agency shall provide the applicant with a written explanation for any proposals denied final approval.

SECTION 2. The third paragraph of section 57 of chapter 121B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out clause (d) and inserting in place thereof the following clause:-

(d) The total amount of urban revitalization and development grants to be paid under this section shall not exceed $3,700,000 in any one fiscal year or a total of $50,000,000 in the aggregate, including amounts authorized by the department to be advanced for the estimated expenses as provided in the first paragraph.

Approved November 2, 2000.