Thursday, July 4, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.Ronald Reagan


It was 243 years ago today – on July 4, 1776 – that the original 13 colonies declared their independence from British rule and established the United States of America, offering a beacon of hope for all the world to see.  As Americans everywhere celebrate Independence Day, the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus offers its enduring thanks and support to the many servicemen and women who continue to uphold the essential freedoms our forefathers envisioned for our nation more than two centuries ago.  Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Friday, June 14, 2019

FLAG DAY 2019


Today is Flag Day, a day set aside to commemorate the Stars and Stripes and all that it symbolizes.

It was on this day in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag for our newly-formed nation, declaring “that the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”

The idea for a Flag Day holiday reportedly originated with a Wisconsin schoolteacher who wanted his students to recognize the importance of June 14 and the flag.  Although President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary in 1916, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949 that President Harry Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.

The original American flag has undergone several redesigns over the years to reflect our nation’s expansion, with the current version adopted in 1960 after Hawaii was recognized as our 50th state.  Despite these changes, the American flag remains a symbol of hope for the rest of the world, and a visible reminder of the principles of freedom and democracy on which this great nation was founded.

Happy Flag Day!

Monday, May 27, 2019

MEMORIAL DAY 2019

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The members of the House Republican Caucus join with Americans everywhere this Memorial Day in remembering and honoring our nation’s service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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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.