Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deval's offer of help to Framingham

An Act Further Strengthening the Commonwealth's Partnership with its Municipalities
Please note: Below you will find the legislation as filed by Governor Patrick. After being filed, bills are sent to the Massachusetts legislature where they may be amended or altered.

January 21, 2011

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:

I am filing for your consideration a bill entitled “An Act Further Strengthening the Commonwealth’s Partnership with its Municipalities.”

This legislation provides cities and towns with additional tools they need to respond to the present fiscal challenges by managing their limited resources more efficiently.

First, the bill requires that, in time for fiscal year 2012, every municipality must either join the Group Insurance Commission or have a health insurance plan in place that will provide equivalent savings. Labor will have a meaningful role in developing this plan.< My words:(this may prove problematic here in Framingham)

Second, this legislation requires every city or town to move its eligible retirees into Medicare. These two measures will save our communities over $120 million.

Finally, this bill will remove the archaic property tax exemption for telecommunications equipment. This step is worth an additional $26 million for cities and towns.

These measures will help cities and towns weather the present fiscal downturn, save hundreds of millions of dollars over time, and take significant pressure off property taxes now and in the future.

In order to assure that municipalities have sufficient time to secure new health insurance plans through the Group Insurance Commission or otherwise, to enroll employees and their families in time for fiscal year 2012, and to meet the March 31 Medicare enrollment deadline for their eligible retirees, it is imperative to enact this legislation as soon as possible and with an emergency preamble. I therefore urge your prompt passage of this legislation.

Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick
Governor


Text of Bill

FURTHER STRENGTHENING THE COMMONWEALTH’S PARTNERSHIP WITH ITS MUNICIPALITIES

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to strengthen the commonwealth’s partnership with its municipalities in the present fiscal emergency, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

TRANSFER OF ELIGIBLE MUNICIPAL RETIREES INTO MEDICARE

SECTION 1. Section 18 of chapter 32B of the General Laws is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. Said chapter 32B of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 18A, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 18B. (a) All retirees, their spouses and dependents insured or eligible to be insured under this chapter, if enrolled in Medicare Part A at no cost to the retiree, spouse or dependents or eligible for coverage thereunder at no cost to the retiree, spouse or dependents, shall be required to transfer to a Medicare health plan offered by the governmental unit under section 11C or section 16, if the benefits under the plan and Medicare Part A and Part B together shall be of comparable actuarial value to those under the retiree’s existing coverage, but a retiree or spouse who has a dependent who is not enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in Medicare Part A at no cost shall not be required to transfer to a Medicare health plan if a transfer requires the retiree or spouse to continue the existing family coverage for the dependent in a plan other than a Medicare health plan offered by the governmental unit.

(b) Each retiree shall provide the governmental unit, in such form as the governmental unit shall prescribe, such information as is necessary to transfer to a Medicare health plan. If a retiree does not submit the information required, he shall no longer be eligible for his existing health coverage. The governmental unit may from time to time request from a retiree, a retiree’s spouse or a retiree’s dependent, proof, certified by the federal government, of eligibility or ineligibility for Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.

(c) The governmental unit shall pay any Medicare Part B premium penalty assessed by the federal government on the retiree, spouse or dependent as a result of enrollment in Medicare Part B at the time of transfer.

REPEAL TELECOM MACHINERY EXEMPTION

SECTION 3. Section 5 of chapter 59 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “than”, in line 230, the following words:- a telephone or telegraph corporation taxed under section 52A of chapter 63 or.

SECTION 4. Said section 5 of said chapter 59, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the words “two A”, in line 233, the following words:- , other than a telephone or telegraph corporation,.

SECTION 5. Clause Sixteenth of said section 5 of said chapter 59 is hereby further amended by striking out paragraph (2), inserted by section 2 of chapter 173 of the acts of 2008, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

(2) In the case of (a) a business corporation subject to tax under section 39 of chapter 63 that is not a manufacturing corporation, or (b) a telephone or telegraph corporation subject to tax under section 52A of chapter 63, all property owned by the corporation other than the following:- real estate, poles, underground conduits, wires and pipes, and machinery used in the conduct of the business, which term, as used in this clause, shall not be considered to include stock in trade or any personal property directly used in connection with dry cleaning or laundering processes or in the refrigeration of goods or in the air-conditioning of premises or in any purchasing, selling, accounting or administrative function. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a telephone or telegraph corporation shall be subject to property tax assessment on machinery used in the conduct of its business and leased to it by a corporation that is not a telephone or telegraph corporation.

MUNICIPAL HEALTH INSURANCE

SECTION 6. (a) Each municipality shall provide health insurance coverage to its subscribers either through the group insurance commission or through other means with benefits of comparable actuarial value to those provided by the group insurance commission.

(b) Notwithstanding chapter 32B of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, if a municipality’s health insurance benefits do not comply with subsection (a), the chief executive of the municipality shall give notice to its public employee committee, established or which shall be established under section 19 of said chapter 32B, of its intention to enter into negotiations to provide health insurance coverage to its subscribers and to enter into a written agreement within a period prescribed by regulations to provide such coverage.

(c) If no agreement is reached within the prescribed period, the municipality shall transfer its subscribers to the group insurance commission or provide health insurance coverage to its subscribers in a manner prescribed by regulations and which complies with subsection (a).

(d) The secretary of administration and finance, in consultation with the secretary of labor and workforce development, shall adopt regulations to carry out this section, including but not limited to regulations defining comparable actuarial value, setting forth deadlines for prompt and reasonable compliance with this section to ensure compliant coverage in fiscal year 2012, detailing the procedure by which the municipality shall provide health insurance coverage under this section, and determining the extent to which reduced costs to the municipality resulting from adoption of coverage under this section shall be shared with the municipality’s employees.

8 Comments:

At January 31, 2011 at 8:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeLeo has just lost his battle to avoid the issue of his illegal behavior so know he will be spending most of his time covering his tail and trying to look like Saint DeLeo. I suspect that means he will not be likely to make any decisions that will anger the people who fund his campaign and support him, and that is unions. With him as the leader of the House, don’t expect them to support this latest bill the governor is proposing to ease the burden on municipalities.

 
At January 31, 2011 at 9:28 AM , Blogger Gandalf said...

Every town in the Commonwealth is facing these cuts. But Framingham will act as if we are the only ones facing this crisis. If it is so much worse for us than for other towns, isnt’t that a sign that the town has been mismanaged? Wake up people, vote these idiots who have been slapped on the wrist by the feds already for there mistaken belief that Framingham is above the law, out of office. We need some inteligent, tough captains at the helm of this sinking ship or we are all going to drown.

 
At January 31, 2011 at 11:02 AM , Blogger Frank S. said...

The governor sends it to the state house, that means nothing good is going to come of this. Those idiots up there know who butters their bread, and that is the unions, so no way in hell are they going to support something that is going to force the unions to give anything up. I want to know who negotiates these contracts with the unions? If I were a union member, Framingham would be on top of my list for places I wanted to work with the benefits we give our union employess.

 
At January 31, 2011 at 3:22 PM , Blogger Abra said...

Unions came in to existence because workers were being mistreated by employers. What comes into play now that workers are mistreating their employers is what I want to know.

 
At January 31, 2011 at 5:15 PM , Blogger Can't think of a name said...

Jim, does this get us out of the deal we signed on for several years ago with the unions? Aren’t we one of just a few towns with that agreement, and will this get us out of that?

 
At February 1, 2011 at 8:28 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

If Beacon Hill goes for all of Devals proposals... Framingham will reap a huge financial benefit.

It may all boil down to DeLeo and Murray.. both very heavily in bed with organized labor.

 
At April 24, 2011 at 11:06 PM , Anonymous health insurance quotes said...

don’t expect them to support this latest bill the governor is proposing to ease the burden on municipalities.

 
At May 14, 2011 at 8:08 AM , Blogger e-Definers Technology - Web Design Company said...

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