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Neal to Announce School Grant, Small-Brewery Bill
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
02:27PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal will be in the Berkshires on the Thursday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's new congressman, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, will be in the Berkshires on Thursday to announce a grant for Reid Middle School and offer a plan to help the region's burgeoning micro-brewery industry.

Reid is the receipient of a $168,000 federal Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant to support additional learning time for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 for before-school, after-school and summer programs. Federal funding for Massachusetts schools through the CCLC Grant totaled $5,633,387; Reid will receive more than $500,000 over the next three years.

The congressman will participate in a roundtable on education enrichment and work-force training with Mayor Daniel Bianchi, state Rep. Paul Mark, Reid faculty, School Council members and students, community partners and 21st Century Director for Pittsfield Public Schools Liz Baker.

Pittsfield is one of 22 school districts and partnering organizations supporting 448 hours of additional learning time; the 44 new CCLC sites will be designed to provide creative and engaging academic enrichment opportunities that will help to address college and work-force readiness and success.

"Investing in education is our most valuable resource," said Neal in a statement. "This grant will go a long way toward preparing thousands of students across our commonwealth for higher education and job training."

In the afternoon, the congressman will meet with local craft brewers from around Western Massachusetts and from the eastern part of the state at the Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington.

Bills in the last Congress attempted to cut the $7 per beer barrel excise tax on small brewers in half on the first 60,000 barrels, and raise it to $16 on production above that, for breweries making less than 6 million barrels annually.   

Neal as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee has again introduced bipartisan legislation in the new Congress that seeks to calibrate the federal beer excise tax to promote industry growth.

According to 2010 figures from the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association, Massachusetts employs some 27,000 in beer production and sales, with a total economic impact of $5.5 billion a year.

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