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MassDevelopment Creates District Improvement Financing Guide to Advance Local Economic Development

June 20, 2019


Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)

MassDevelopment has created a new guide to help cities and towns in Massachusetts utilize District Improvement Financing (DIF), a locally enacted tool that enables municipalities to identify and capture incremental tax revenues from new private investment in a specific area and direct them toward public improvement and economic development projects. The DIF Guide, available at, includes accompanying resources such as a DIF template, webinar series, case studies, FAQs, and an interactive DIF Estimator to make preliminary calculations of anticipated tax revenue that communities may receive and capture as a result of new private investment within a DIF District. MassDevelopment also hosted a DIF workshop at Quincy City Hall on June 19, attended by approximately 50 public and private sector participants, to provide methods for assessing the appropriateness of the DIF tool to advance local economic development goals.

“District Improvement Financing is an innovative economic development tool that helps cities and towns build on the momentum taking place in their communities by offering a mechanism to strategically reinvest locally generated tax revenue,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is proud to assist cities and towns looking to take advantage of this tool with the launch of our DIF Guide, and we look forward to remaining a resource for our local partners as they identify and tackle important economic development goals.”

Through DIF, a city or town can establish a funding stream for economic development activities that is linked to, and derived from, the results of economic development. DIF achieves this by setting up a process through which a municipality can capture tax revenues that result from new private investment in a specific area, such as an expanding business or a new multifamily housing project. These tax revenues are generated by the increase in assessed value that results from the private investment, not from tax rate increases, special assessments, or real estate market factors. The municipality can then direct this stream of incremental tax revenues to cover the costs of public projects ranging from critical infrastructure needs, such as water and sewer improvements, to soft costs, such as planning studies.

In addition to the DIF Guide, MassDevelopment provides a full range of real estate services in communities across the Commonwealth. From planning and permitting to acting as a master developer for large site redevelopment, site disposition, and building management, MassDevelopment is uniquely positioned to provide customized advice and strategies.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units.