As we get closer to spring, the FY18 budget is a topic of interest, as is local funding and fiscal responsibility. This month the legislature voted in favor of a legislative pay raise - a measure I did not support, for a benefit I will not accept. We have many tough choices before us, but this was an easy one in light of so many budgetary challenges.
In this month's newsletter you will find my thoughts on the legislative pay raise, useful 2017 tax season tips, and updates pertaining to local grants.
Once again, I am hosting Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Seminars across the district. The remaining dates into March can be found below.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. It's an honor to serve you.
Declining the Legislative Pay Raise
In January, the Senate voted on legislation to raise members' salaries and pay; a bill that would cost $6.5 million over the remaining months of fiscal 2017, and as much as $18 million in fiscal 2018. The bill passed in a 31-9 vote and I confidently voted no. This bill, increasing the pay for all 200 legislators and the state's six constitutional officers and judges, was introduced only one week prior to its vote. While some believed this pay adjustment was long overdue, it came at a time when municipalities struggle for local aid, school districts need more funding, and budget cuts are frequent.
Following the vote, Governor Baker made the decision to veto the legislature's decision. In an effort to override the Governor's veto, the legislature faced yet another vote to approve this pay raise. I stuck with my original opposition of the increase and voted against the override of Governor Baker's veto. Unfortunately, the legislature successfully overrode the veto and confirmed an increase in legislative pay.
Not only did I vote against the increase, but I have also chosen to not accept the raise. My decision to decline the legislative pay increase was an easy one. The millions of dollars going towards these stipends would have made a great difference for the people of the Commonwealth. I am determined to continue advocating for the priorities of my district, even more so in areas such as economic development and local aid. Similarly, as the legislature and the Baker administration work to finalize the FY18 budget, I hope that government transparency and cost efficiency are further prioritized.
Senator Ross Announces Office Hours in March
Senator Ross and his staff will be holding office hours at locations throughout the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District to provide constituents with an opportunity to meet Senator Ross and discuss any matters of importance to them. Constituents may contact Senator Ross' office at (617) 722-1555 or by email at email@example.com to register for a meeting in advance whether in the district or at the State House in Boston.
Monday, March 6th Needham Community Center, 300 Hillside Avenue, Needham 10:00am-11:00am
Monday, March 13th (Staff) Wayland Town Hall, 41 Cochituate Road, Wayland 11:00am-12:00pm
Monday, March 20th Wrentham Senior Center, 400 Taunton Street, Wrentham 10:00am-11:00am
Tuesday, March 28th Plainville Senior Center, 9 School Street, Plainville 10:00am-11:00am