In an ongoing commitment to providing fiscal certainty to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, the House Republican Caucus has filed a Local Aid Resolution to provide municipalities with timely notice of the Legislature’s commitment to support them with local aid in Fiscal Year 2015.
In an email distributed to House colleagues, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), who drafted the resolution, said, “Local officials across the state are planning their budgets for the coming fiscal year. The decisions they make will determine such things as the quality of education for our children, the ability to keep our citizens safe, and the opportunity to offer other local services.” The letter to Republican and Democratic legislators goes on to say, “Giving municipalities numbers they can rely on will afford them confidence in their planning and decision-making process.”
All of these decisions hinge, in part, on how much local aid each community will receive from the state this year. As of now, these funding levels remain uncertain.
The resolution proposes the following:
• Increase the amount of Chapter 70 school aid given in the current fiscal year by $113 million, which correlates to an additional investment of $50 per student;
• Increase the amount of Unrestricted General Government Aid by $75 million – an 8.15% increase over Fiscal Year 2014;
• Level fund the Reimbursement to Cities in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) with the FY14 appropriation;
• Increase the level of funding for Regional School Transportation by $2.5 million over Fiscal Year 2014;
• Fund the reimbursement for the Special Education Circuit Breaker at $252.5M, slightly above the Fiscal Year 2014 level; and
• Set the level of funding for Homeless Student Transportation (McKinney/Vento) at the projected FY15 district claim amount of $14.9 million.
“As a former local official, I appreciate and understand the need for a strong set of local aid numbers,” said Representative Jones. “Knowing firsthand the current struggle of cities and towns, I am confident that my Republican colleagues and I have presented a strong set of numbers to be considered. I encourage my colleagues across the aisle to join Republicans as many cities and towns in the Commonwealth are anxiously awaiting the release of local aid.”
This resolution would provide, among other things, flexibility during budget debate so that the Legislature may further increase local aid appropriations from an established floor. It would also provide predictability for municipalities who are in the midst of constructing their own budgets.
The entire House of Representatives will now have the opportunity to join the House Republican Caucus in demonstrating its commitment to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
Assistant House Minority Leader George Peterson’s Statement on Release of Gun Violence Task Force Report
“After a brief review of the report issued this afternoon, I thank Speaker DeLeo and the Gun Violence Task Force for their diligent work in providing this in-depth analysis and action plan in a timely manner. The work performed by this group is vitally important as the topic of firearm safety progresses at the state level.
The findings released today make targeted recommendations surrounding firearm safety training, school safety, and the reduction of the number of types of firearm licenses available in the Commonwealth. Addressing these issues in the coming months will benefit the state’s residents and lawful firearm-owners alike.
While the report released today highlights Massachusetts’ better than average record of suicide, homicide, and firearm-related incidents, the findings fail to show that since the Commonwealth adopted strict firearm laws in 1998, the aforementioned firearm-related events have in fact doubled in that time. This omission begs the question of the necessity for the restrictive laws passed more than fifteen years ago.
Furthermore, the report has asked for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Gun Control Advisory Board, to make recommendations relative to the suitability of an individual to be licensed to own a firearm. To me, this approach leaves too much discretion to the state’s Police Chiefs and Advisory Board. It is my belief that a better way to handle factors relative to firearm ownership should be the explicit definition of those persons who would be prohibited from owning a firearm. Further to that point, if Chiefs and the Gun Control Advisory Board are to have discretionary power over the issuance of licenses, they should also have the burden of proof, upon appeal, to demonstrate why that individual is not suitable to possess a firearm.
As is the case with any legislation, the devil will be in the details. However, I look forward to joining my colleagues on the other side of the aisle in producing legislation that protects the Commonwealth’s residents, while respecting the Second Amendment rights of our state’s citizens.”
“While I am sad to hear that Representative Peterson will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives, I wholeheartedly support his decision, and wish George and Diana nothing but the best.
For the past two decades, George has been a great colleague, an invaluable membership of my Leadership team, and a cherished friend. A zealous advocate of the outdoors and a champion of Second Amendment rights, Representative Peterson truly embodies what it means to be a public servant. His passion and dedication for the residents and businesses of the Ninth Worcester District are what make him such an effective member of the Legislature.
I thank Representative Peterson for his service to the Commonwealth and look forward to standing beside George as he continues his tireless advocacy on behalf of his constituents during his remaining time on Beacon Hill.”
Assistant House Minority Leader George Peterson’s Statement on Forthcoming Retirement from the Legislature
“Today, with a heavy heart, but a clear mind, I announce that I will not seek re-election for the office of State Representative. My decision to retire from the House of Representatives has been extremely difficult. However, this next chapter in my life will allow me to join my wife Diana in spending quality time with our children and grandchildren as we travel around the country.
For over 20 years, Beacon Hill has been my second home. While my heart has always been in Grafton, and with the people of the Ninth Worcester District, my time in Boston has been invaluable. Being a legislator, particularly a Republican lawmaker, can be a test of will and patience. However, I wouldn’t trade my time as a member of the Massachusetts Legislature for anything. My tenure in the House of Representatives has not only allowed me the opportunity to forge relationships with my colleagues in the Legislature, but also has provided me the platform necessary to help make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Perhaps the hardest part of leaving the job I love is bidding farewell to the House Minority Leader, our Leadership team, and all of my Republican colleagues. This group of lawmakers, albeit small, works day in and day out to effect positive change in the lives of the residents of Massachusetts. We have cheered one another along in victory, and remained strong and united in defeat. I am forever grateful to them for their guidance and friendship.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank the staff for all of their tireless work, and continued dedication. Since being elected in 1994, I have worked side-by-side with some truly incredible aides and analysts. These individuals are continually the first ones in, and the last ones out. We as legislators would not be where we are today without their unwavering support.
This announcement is not my departure from Massachusetts and its political landscape. While I may be hanging up my hat as an elected official, this state is home, and I care too much about its wellbeing to walk away altogether. I will forever have the dedication to continue to make the Commonwealth an ongoing source of pride for future generations.”
Thursday, January 23, 2014
“After a cursory glance at the Fiscal Year 2015(FY15) state budget proposal, it is abundantly clear that the Patrick Administration’s spending plan for next year does nothing but highlight Governor Patrick’s lame-duck status.
Once again, the Governor is treating the taxpayers of Massachusetts as an endless revenue stream, proposing to hit them again for revenue in the form of new statewide taxes. This approach has not garnered support from taxpayers in the past, and it will once again fall flat.
In spite of hundreds of millions in new taxes and revenue initiatives, proposed by Governor Patrick and green-lighted by Democrats on Beacon Hill, the Governor continues to rely on tapping into the state’s reserves in order to fund his FY15 budget proposal. For a Governor who consistently touts a nation-leading ‘Rainy Day’ fund – left to him by his Republican predecessors – this plan further highlights the Governor’s myopic approach to the state’s finances.
Once again, the Governor has produced a budget that is heavy on spending and far too reliant on dubious revenue sources. While Governor Patrick’s focus seems to be cementing his legacy, the Legislature must set its sights on producing a budget for the taxpayers that balances meeting the needs of today in a fiscally responsible and sustainable fashion."
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
“In light of today’s verdict finding State Representative Carlos Henriquez guilty of two counts of assault and battery of a young woman, I am calling for his immediate resignation from the House of Representatives.
Now that Representative Henriquez has had his day in court, it is time for him to leave this institution which should in no way condone violence against women.
As elected officials, we must hold ourselves to the highest level of moral and ethical conduct. Mr. Henriquez has breached the trust of his colleagues and constituents, and his reprehensible actions will not be tolerated.”
Thursday, December 19, 2013
“I join the hardworking taxpayers of Massachusetts in being extremely troubled and discouraged by the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate being higher than the national average.
Democrats on Beacon Hill should not be surprised that their decision to raise taxes and promote job-killing practices, like the State Senate’s extreme measure to raise the state’s minimum wage, has had a detrimental effect on our state’s workforce.
As I said in January, the Legislature’s first-priority this session should have been a concerted effort to promote pro-business legislation aimed at delivering jobs to Massachusetts. A focus on reforming the current paradigm of unemployment insurance would be a great catalyst to once again make Massachusetts the business-friendly state that it has the potential to be.”
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
House Minority Leader Brad Jones: Questioning Department of Children and Families Top-Brass Not Sufficient
“Before we focus on how best to approach and permanently correct the continued shortcomings of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), our state resources need to be focused on locating young Jeremiah.
With that being said, it is hard to ignore the recent inadequacies of DCF. The cases brought to light through numerous media accounts are not only cause for extreme concern, but seem to highlight systemic issues within an agency charged with the protection of some of the Commonwealth’s youngest and most vulnerable individuals and families.
While asking the agency’s top brass to perform a top-down review of practices and policies is a necessary first step, the only way to correct DCF’s shortfalls are to ask questions of, and elicit answers from the employees working in the field. A large majority of these employees are dedicated public servants and our efforts will benefit from their accounts from the front lines.
Upon the return of Jeremiah to his loved ones, I will request that DCF management and select caseworkers appear before a House panel and put forth the agency’s current procedures and operating model. Furthermore, it is my intention to ask that Governor Patrick and DCF produce an immediate plan of action to both rectify the current problem within the agency, as well as solutions to work to avoid future detrimental situations.”
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
“Testimony presented at today’s Consensus Revenue Hearing has proven – yet again – the Commonwealth doesn’t have a revenue problem. Economists and think tanks alike all agree that Fiscal Year 2015 will feature a stronger economy, and an even healthier tax revenue intake.
This most recent revenue forecast calls into question whether the tax increases rubber-stamped by legislative Democrats earlier this year were ever needed. As opposed to utilizing a tax-first approach to financing state government, the majority party must begin to exercise true fiscal prudence.
While Democrats cried financial foul when the House Republican Caucus proposed a tax-free transportation proposal, today’s estimates prove that had our alternative financing plan been implemented, the Commonwealth would still have had sufficient means to fund the budget while increasing funding for transportation – all without raising taxes.”
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
In the race Congress, Republican Frank Addivinola is facing off against Democrat, and current State Senator, Katherine Clark. This race is for the seat left vacant when Congressman Ed Markey of Malden resigned after winning a special election for United State Senate.
The second special election contest being held today is in the 9th Norfolk District for the seat vacated by Representative Dan Winslow. On the Republican side, Shawn Dooley is running unopposed. On the other side of the ticket, Democrat Edward McCormick is also running unopposed. The victors of the Republican and Democratic primary will face off in the general election against Independent Chris Timson.
To find out where you vote, please click here.