Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here's what Pam DeLeo have to say...

HOUSE PASSES LOCAL AID
Measure Will Provide $205 Million for Cities and Towns

BOSTON-State Representatives Pam Richardson and Tom Sannicandro joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing an amendment to restore $205 million in local aid to cities and towns.

The local aid will enable cities and towns to retain teachers, police officers and fire fighters, mitigate the need for property tax increases, and provide basic city services.

The vote will provide $30,081,591 for Framingham.

The House was able to find the funds for local aid by passing a 1.25% increase in the sales tax. The vote keeps the exemption on key household items, such as food, clothing and home heating oil, which have never been taxed. It also eliminates the need for burdensome taxes on gas, alcohol and sugar.

"In Framingham quality services, including public education and public safety, are top priorities," said Representative Richardson. "This funding will allow the Selectmen and School Committee to preserve these vital services which strengthen and enhance our community."

"I am proud to help the people of our cities and towns in their hour of need," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "Our communities are the foundation of our state. Helping to shield people in most in need is a vital role of government even during these difficult budgetary times."

"Facing a state budget deficit of $3.6 billion, we have been forced to reduce and eliminate many worthwhile programs. While still receiving a substantial cut in funding, cities
and towns will be able to maintain core services because of today's actions," said House Ways and Means Chairman Charles A. Murphy.

The restoration of aid comes on the heels of an unprecedented season of reform in the legislature. In less than three months, the House has passed ethics, transportation and pension reform. Rep. Richardson and her colleagues have done the following:

ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

In March, the House tackled the first comprehensive ethics reform legislation in 15 years. That bill gives strong powers of enforcement to the Secretary of State and Ethics Commission, and increases the penalties for those who violate our lobbying laws. It also provides for stricter requirements on lobbyists themselves and targets anyone who gives a gift to influence or attempts to influence a public official.

This bill also includes serious campaign finance reforms. It increases the frequency candidates public office have to file disclosure reports to twice in a non-election year and require sub-vendor reporting. These campaign finance reform provisions go farther than other competing ethics reform plans.

TRANSPORTATION REFORM

In April, the House passed an historic bill that will eliminate the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. This bill changes the old "23 and out" pension policy for MBTA workers and places them under the auspices of the GIC for health insurance purposes. These changes will lead to real savings.

This plan was offered without the $ .19 gas tax increase proposed by the administration, which was offered in the absence of meaningful reforms.

PENSION REFORM

The House addressed those pension outrages that particularly anger the public. This bill removes the so-called "one-day, one year" rule that allows elected officials to serve one day in a calendar year and gain a full year of creditable service as well as the so-called "king for a day" rule that allows for increased benefits for some employees who go out on accidental disability retirement to receive increased benefits if they did so while filling in for a supervisor.

This misleading and inaccurate news letter, as all the past news letters from her indicate that she has not the ethical standards needed to represent us and is a puppet of the Speaker. Major cuts, pension and transportation reforms are still needed and should be done before any new tax revenues are adopted and why she can't get that, after everything that has gone on in the past few months, is very disturbing.

While some in Town are licking their chops over this announcement, they fail to see the broader financial picture for 2010 and beyond. Tax revenues will continue to drop as the economy struggles to stay strong. It will be wonderful for those who have taken unfair advantage of the system for years, like cops, teachers and state workers, but those of us who aren't in the game, will suffer, paying for the special treatment others who have blessed themselves with the entitlement philosophy.