Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Live Reporting: Spilka, Ross, Roy update from State Legislatture

H. Presentations/Discussions
H. Presentations/Discussions: Ligislative Delegation: Senator Karen Spilka, Senator Richard Ross, Representative Jeffrey Roy

Seantor Spilka

revenue collections down, $220M down from benchmark
similar to what happened last year, resulting in cuts of overall $150M from budget in the process
hoping not to do this again
meeting with the experts to find out why when economy seems to be doing well, confidence is high, where are the revenue flows?

volatile income stream, economy has shifted, maybe due to more part time workers the tax flows are adjusted?

Governor's budget was submitted in January
House budget just submitted on Monday

revenue increase expected at just over 4%
take out the built in increases only leaves approx $600 in adjustable funds 

employer assessment made by Governor to raise funds
looking to equalize the playing field to afford giving increases to local aid
will try to be as reasonable as possible
some increases are targeted as to when the sales tax for example is collected

desire to start implementing the foundation budget recovery to help with school funding; phasing it in would help all the communities

rising health care is an issue, substance abuse and mental health issues need to be addressed, along with transportation and infrastructure
housing is another issue that communities need help with

Chapter 90 House and Senate passed with different amounts and different terms, now need to discuss and review in conference committee

Senator Ross

acknowledge letter received on budget priorities, including OPEB accounting resolution

Fire Dept requests still in process and may have funds in June, other requests were put aside with the Governor cuts

land transfer? related to the state forest and recycling

Representative Roy

US News and World Report recognizes MA as number in the economy

MA #1 in testing on a national level, 72 countries participated in the testing, MA wanted to be considered separately, no one outdid MA in reading, only Singapore beat us in science, and in 10th in Math

working with strategic collaborative to move in manufacturing

House budget released on Monday
41% consist of health care and MA Health reform
15% goes to health and human services
three categories account for 71% of the overall budget

recommending $30 per pupil in educational aid
Chapter 70 funding has increased 833M since 2011, also being increased this year

heard from many small businesses about the health assessment; asking the department of revenue to find out who are the real culprits causing the increases; there had been a gate that if a company offered a plan, their employees could not get MA Health, this check was removed with the affordable care act

did file $50K allotment to help fight the substance abuse disorder

author claims private industry create the substance abuse mess; now government and communities are coming together to fight the problem

this team works well together, we are all on speed dial

thank you for everything you do

Ross - Tri-County is amazing, they don't get enough credit, especially in manufacturing

Pfeffer - 40B - there has to be something needs to be available to say now, something needs to be considered when you are close to the 10%

Spilka - it is good to hear, it makes sense
Roy - affordable housing is important, some stock of housing doesnt count towards the 10% goal, it may provide some relief

Nutting - should also get some sort of time out, or reasonable plan
Hellen - this community has done a lot, been proactive for year; Brookline received a one year moratorium

Kelly - we are forced to take them, it is not in our decision, we need an answer, we look like the bad guys when the state is making us do stuff

Mercer - we just built a brand new high school, the State told us how many we could build for, and it was not considering the outlook of the potential coming at us. We had to beg for 1650 and we opened at 1725

Bissanti - we don't have the kind of zoning that makes it easy for builders to come in, they look for the density and don't have to cover any amenities

Dellorco - pick a percent between 8 and 10 so it can slow down and allow us to work with it

Padula - in the NUtting letter, well written, shows the quality of our administration

Nutting - thanks to Jeff Roy and we testified a couple of weeks ago on the land swap, hopefully to get settled and signed off

Jones - economic development, if we could get back 10 Grove St, the MA DOT area at the end of Grove St and 140

Roy - a few of us are working with them on the train station and when we next meet with them, we can add that

Dellorco - I know the 9C cuts are tough, really fight for the $50K

Spilka -we were looking to see if the revenue hadn't dropped so, we would have been able to restore some of the 9C cuts; many communities are suffering in the same way; it is pennywise and pound foolish, we will try to restore for next year

Spilka - 9C cuts, if Governor vetos, then the funds need to be overridden by both the House and Senate, 9C refers to the section of law, where if revenue is not sufficient to cover the expenses; the governor is given that to balance the budget

Bissanti - thank you for your great work; $90M if it doesn't get paid?

Nutting - maybe future employees don't get that benefit, or some of that; our assets are going to be less than our liabilities (and the state is in the same boat)
there needs to be some way to start the discussion and come to a resolution

3 minute recess

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