Gov: No free land for Smith, Legislature tries again

On November 18, the Massachusetts House and Senate unanimously passed bill #4356 to lease State property on Western Ave to the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center "for construction of a new community health center building of approximately 40,000 square feet and related parking" for the next 50 years for $1.

But on Novemver 24, Governor Patrick vetoed this bill and proposed an amendment, writing that

"The needs of this valued community center to expand must be balanced against the needs of the Commonwealth, including protecting the public fisc. Requiring the state to lease extremely valuable property for $1.00 per year does not strike that balance.
Accordingly, I am returning this bill for amendment to avoid any violations of the anti-aid amendment and to provide a fiscally responsible transaction."

Earlier this week, the House rejected the Governor's amendment and adopted a new amendment that reads:

“SECTION 6. Consideration for the lease of the property described in section 1 shall be no less than fair market value for comparable rentals by the commonwealth. A lease agreement entered into pursuant to this act by or on behalf of the commonwealth shall provide that, in lieu of the payment of rent, the lessee shall provide students at a community college or state institution of higher education with opportunities to gain clinical experience in nursing and other medical fields by working with clients of the lessee, on such terms and conditions as the division of capital asset management and maintenance and lessee deem appropriate.”

Next this new amendment will go to the Senate and then possibly back to the Governor.

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