Wednesday, April 10, 2019

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Release of House Ways and Means FY20 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the release of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget:

“I appreciate the work Chairman Michlewitz has done to put together his first budget proposal as Ways and Means chair. The proposed House budget builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to our cities and towns by increasing Chapter 70 education funding and providing additional local aid in the form of expanded circuit breaker funding, charter school reimbursement, and regional school transportation assistance. It also take steps to address rising drug costs by endorsing the Baker-Polito Administration’s proposal to authorize MassHealth to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers for supplemental rebates. The good news for the state’s taxpayers is that the budget does not impose any new broad-based taxes. I will be working closely with the members of the House Republican Caucus over the next few days to identify potential amendments we can offer to further protect the interests of the state’s taxpayers and ensure the passage of a fiscally responsible budget.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Representative Jones’ Statement on Governor Baker’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) released the following statement today regarding Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed $42.7 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2020:

“Governor Baker’s budget proposal charts a fiscally responsible path for the Commonwealth by limiting spending increases to 1.5 percent over projected Fiscal Year 2019 levels and depositing another $297 million to shore up the state’s rainy day account.  Both steps are prudent given the downturn in revenue numbers we’ve seen so far for the month of December and the first half of January.

Since taking office in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased K-12 education funding by half a billion dollars.  This latest budget continues to prioritize local aid for our cities and towns by providing $200 million in additional Chapter 70 funding, bringing the total to $5.108 billion, and a $30 million increase in unrestricted aid to help pay for other essential municipal services.

One of the biggest missed opportunities of the 2017-2018 legislative session was the inability of the House and Senate to come to an agreement on revising the state’s education funding formula. With Governor Baker’s decision to put forth a package of funding increases, new policy initiatives, and stronger accountability standards in his budget and an accompanying bill, the stars may now be aligning to implement meaningful reforms to the way education is funded in Massachusetts.  I am hopeful the Administration and the Legislature can work together this session to break through the impasse and develop a viable plan to correct the inequities that exist in the funding formula and ensure that every student in Massachusetts has the opportunity to succeed.

The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget gives the Legislature a strong foundation on which to build its own spending plan.  I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Administration over the next few months to develop a spending plan that will fund critical programs and services for our citizens while also remaining accountable to the state’s taxpayers.”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Representative Tim Whelan Appointed to New Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster) to serve as his designee on the newly-created Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board.

Established as part of the 2018 Criminal Justice Reform Law, the 21-member board will be responsible for evaluating policies and procedures related to the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, including community-based services and the quality and accessibility of diversion programs available to juveniles.  The board will work to ensure that these policies promote the best interests of children and young adults who fall under the supervision of the juvenile court system, while also taking steps to improve transparency and accountability in state-funded services.

“Making sure individuals caught up in the juvenile justice system have an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves is critical to ensuring that they become productive members of society and avoid a life of crime,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident Tim will be an asset to the board as it seeks to carry out its mission to promote public safety and reduce recidivism among youthful offenders.”

As a member of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board, Whelan will also serve on the Childhood Trauma Task Force.  Working closely with the Office of the Child Advocate, members of the task force will develop recommendations for providing services to help children recover from the psychological damage caused by exposure to violence, crime or maltreatment.

Both the board and the task force will file annual reports and recommendations with the Governor, the Legislature and the Chief Justice of the Trial Court.

Whelan is a former Marine and a retired State Police Sergeant with 26 years of law enforcement experience.  He was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2014, and represents the First Barnstable District towns of Barnstable, Brewster, Dennis and Yarmouth.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Jones Re-Elected as House Minority Leader

Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has been unanimously re-elected by his Republican colleagues to serve a ninth term as Minority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

With the 2019-2020 legislative session officially getting underway on January 2, Jones will oversee a 32-member caucus.  In addition to 29 returning members, the House caucus now includes three freshman legislators elected in November of 2018: Norman Orrall of Lakeville, AlysonSullivan of Abington, and Mike Soter of Bellingham.

“Having the support of both the returning and the incoming House Republican Caucus members means a lot to me,” said Representative Jones.  “I appreciate my colleagues’ vote of confidence and thank them for giving me the opportunity to continue to lead the caucus over the next two years.”

In his inaugural remarks, Jones noted that the Legislature’s priorities in the new session “must continue to be a stronger economy for all, fiscal responsibility, and continuing to transform the way we operate as a government and provide services to our citizens.”

“While our economy is certainly stronger than it was just a few short years ago, we cannot be satisfied,” Jones said. “We must continue our efforts to ensure economic opportunity and the chance for success reach all corners of our Commonwealth.”

Jones also called on the Legislature to renew its efforts to reform the education funding formula, tackle health care reform and cost containment, promote clean energy policies to combat climate change, and take additional steps to address the opioid crisis.

A lifelong resident of North Reading, Jones was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994.  He has served as House Minority Leader since 2003.

“It is an honor and a privilege to represent the residents of the Twentieth Middlesex District,” said Representative Jones.  “I am forever grateful for the support of my constituents from North Reading, Lynnfield, Reading and Middleton, and I look forward to continuing to work on their behalf and making sure their voices are heard on Beacon Hill.”

Representative Jones continues to maintain his perfect voting record.  Since entering the Legislature, he has never missed a single vote and has now cast 7,075 consecutive roll call votes.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Representative Randy Hunt to Serve on Special Commission Reviewing State Tax Expenditures

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich) to serve as his designee on a newly-created Tax Expenditure Commission.

The 12-member standing commission, which is being chaired by Department of Revenue Commissioner Christopher C. Harding, will evaluate the effectiveness and fiscal impact of state tax expenditures, and will develop a schedule providing for an ongoing review of all tax expenditures at least once every five years moving forward.

In announcing the appointment, Representative Jones cited Representative Hunt’s extensive background in municipal finance and accounting.

“As a certified public accountant and former member of the Town of Sandwich’s Finance Committee, Randy is well-versed in the state’s tax laws and budget preparation,” said Representative Jones.  “His expertise will be an asset to the commission as it works to ensure that state tax policies are being implemented effectively and efficiently.”

State law defines tax expenditures as state tax revenues foregone due to “exemptions, deferrals, deductions from or credits against taxes imposed on income, businesses and corporations, financial institutions, insurance and sales.”  In addition to evaluating the fiscal impact and cost-effectiveness of state tax expenditures, the commission’s review will also take into consideration how these expenditures impact job creation and Massachusetts’ economic competitiveness on a regional and national basis.

The commission will file a report on its findings and recommendations every two years by March 1.

Representative Hunt represents the Fifth Barnstable District, which consists of the Town of Sandwich; Precincts 11 and 12 in Barnstable; Precincts 1, 2 and 7 in Bourne; and Precinct 9 in Plymouth.  A member of the House of Representatives since 2011, he currently serves on the Joint Committee on Health CareFinancing; the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy; and the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Remembering Pearl Harbor

It was 77 years ago today that more than 2,000 American military personnel were killed and over 1,000 more wounded in the early morning attack on the U.S. Army and Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.  The staggering number of casualties prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to declare December 7, 1941 as “a date which will live in infamy.”

As we observe Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, The Capitol View joins with Americans everywhere to honor those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. We also want to express our thanks and gratitude to the many men and women in uniform who continue to serve our nation and keep America strong.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Representative Mirra: Proposed Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax Invasive and Unnecessary

The following column by Representative Leonard Mirra (R-West Newbury) appeared in the November 25 edition of the Boston Globe in response to the question "Should Massachusetts institute a tax on vehicle miles traveled?":

Before even discussing an invasive and unnecessary vehicle miles-traveled tax, it would be helpful to remember we already pay other taxes and fees to fund transportation infrastructure.

State and federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel were created specifically to fund roads and bridges. We also pay a local car excise tax and a 12 percent federal excise tax on the first retail sale of commercial vehicles, all intended for roads. That excise tax increases the price we pay for products, almost all of which are delivered by truck.

Larger trucks are charged various taxes and fees including “apportioned” plate fees, and fees for carrying loads above maximum levels. These too are passed on to the costs we pay for the products we buy.

On top of all this we pay tolls, state and federal income taxes, and local real estate taxes, all of which contribute to funding maintenance and repairs of roads and bridges. With all of these revenue sources already in place, having government tracking our travel is unnecessary and, I believe, an invasion of privacy those in power could conceivably use for unethical purposes.

Funding road repairs with fuel taxes is far more efficient and economical than a vehicle miles-traveled tax. No additional programs or bureaucracies are needed; we pay at the pump and gas stations pay the taxes. This also provides an incentive to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles and eliminate unnecessary trips, encouraging conservation.

More to the point, just about all wear and tear on roads is caused by heavy trucks, not cars, so it’s simply more fair and appropriate to have their use pay for the repairs. The heavier they are, and the more miles they drive, the more fuel they will burn and pay taxes on.

Massachusetts spends four times the national average on its roadways but our roads are rated among the nation’s worst, according to 2012 rankings by Reason Foundation. The best course of action is to find the waste and inefficiencies in our current system and use the savings for more repairs before even considering a new tax.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that officially ended World War I, a global conflict that was once referred to as “The War to End All Wars.”  Sadly, that description would soon prove to be inaccurate, as the decades that followed the Armistice signing saw not only a Second World War, but also countless other military actions take place around the globe.

Here at The Capitol View, we join with Americans everywhere today in saluting the many men and women, both past and present, who have proudly served in our nation’s military, including those who are currently on active duty or serving as Guardsmen or reservists to keep our country strong and our citizens free.  In honor of their service, we present the following poem, which helps explain the important role veterans have played throughout our nation’s history in preserving the many freedoms we continue to enjoy.

It is the Veteran

It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,

It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,

To be buried by the flag,

So the protester can burn the flag.

Author: Anonymous 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Rep. Smola Appointed to Special Commission to Study Crumbling Concrete Foundations

Representative Todd M. Smola (R-Warren, Ranking Member, Committee on Ways & Means) has been appointed to a special commission to study the financial and economic impacts of crumbling concrete foundations in Massachusetts due to the presence of pyrrhotite. The fourteen-person commission was established earlier this year as part of the state’s annual budget.

Some Massachusetts and Connecticut homes built between 1983 and 2017 could be impacted by the presence of the pyrrhotite mineral in their concrete foundations. The mineral has been found in a quarry in northeastern Connecticut that provided building aggregate for construction projects in the region. Over time, pyrrhotite that is exposed to oxygen and water reacts and causes swelling and cracking. As a structure continues to deteriorate, it often becomes unsound.

“There are many layers to this foundation dilemma and the commission will work to address a number of questions that have come up since this problem was identified,” said Representative Smola. “We intend to look at costs related to repairing these foundations, impact on property values and potential remedies for homeowners among other things. Our goal is to develop a commission report with recommendations that can provide assistance to people that are looking for answers. We will also be holding a public hearing in the region where concrete foundations have deteriorated due to the presence of pyrrhotite.”

The commission is seeking input from anyone who has a foundation that may contain pyrrhotite. The commission has been instructed to submit the results of its study and its recommendations by February 1, 2019.  For additional information please contact Representative Smola at or (617) 722-2100.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Rep. Ferguson Appointed to Special Commission on Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce that he has appointed State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden) to serve as his designee on a special commission that will study the needs of individuals and families impacted by acquired and traumatic brain injuries.

Representative Ferguson previously served as a member of the Acquired Brain Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Commission created by the Legislature in 2010.  That commission issued a report in December of 2011 identifying gaps in state services that led to the implementation of reforms to address those shortfalls.

The new commission, which was created as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget, will review data concerning the epidemiology of brain injury.  The commission will make recommendations by June 30, 2019 for improving rehabilitative residential and integrated community-based support services provided to individuals with acquired brain injury and those suffering from traumatic brain injury.

“Representative Ferguson was instrumental in helping to bring about many positive changes for Massachusetts residents affected by brain injuries during her first term as a state representative,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident she will continue to play a prominent role in the commission’s efforts to identify additional reforms that can be implemented to further improve the lives of brain-injured individuals and their loved ones.”

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, more than 3.5 million children and adults sustain an acquired brain injury each year, while at least 2.5 million adults and children sustain a traumatic brain injury.  Acquired brain injuries typically occur as a result of a stroke, aneurysm, tumor, or an infectious disease such as meningitis or encephalitis, while traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, assaults, and falls.

Representative Ferguson is one of four legislators serving on the special commission, which will also include Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders; Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel; Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commissioner Toni Wolf; Secretary of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner; Secretary of Veterans Services Francisco Urena; and Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, Inc. Executive Director Nicole Godaire.

As part of its directive, the commission will study the “availability, nature and adequacy” of a variety of services for the brain-injured, including: acute and long-term medical and cognitive rehabilitation and outpatient services; therapy services; residential nursing care; structured day treatment and day activity programs; club programs; respite care services; community-based housing; home-based services; family support programs; case management; companion services; personal care attendant services; specialized medical equipment and supplies; environmental modifications; counseling and training; and prevocational services.

Representative Ferguson represents the First Worcester District, which is comprised of the towns of Holden; Paxton; Princeton; Rutland; Precinct 1 in Sterling; and Precinct 2 in Westminster.