Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Assistant Minority Leader appears on Greater Boston

Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson appeared on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney last night. Peterson, a strong advocate for law abiding gun owners, discussed the Governor's gun legislation as well as his own.

Click here to watch the segment in its entirety.

Boston Globe: “Patrick finds time to finish memoir”

In case you missed it among the headlines about a looming budget deficit and continuing coverage on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there was one glaring headline in today’s Boston Globe, Patrick finds time to finish memoir.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts grapples with a multi-billion dollar structural deficit and a nine percent unemployment rate, Governor Patrick has managed to find free time to finish his book. To top that off, according to the Globe, Governor Patrick “would probably embark on a book tour to promote what Random House hopes will be a bestseller. The governor said in his original book proposal that he would be “delighted to participate in a vigorous media campaign’’ and travel across the nation for book signings.”

Do you think his side kick Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray will take exception with this? Isn’t the role of Governor a full time job? Will Lieutenant Governor Murray ask Governor Patrick to give up the book or step down as governor?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Salem News: “Patrick needs to practice what he preaches”

In case you missed it, both the Salem News and the Lawrence Eagle Tribune ran editorials reinforcing our position that Governor Patrick should hand over any documents that were used in making the decision to cap insurance rates. In fact, the Eagle Tribune went as far as saying “If there are good reasons for a cap on rates, let everybody see them.”

Governor Patrick did respond to House Minority Leader Brad Jones letter requesting these documents, three weeks later. However, the Governor barely addressed the specific request and really said a whole lot of nothing.

Click here to the editorial that ran in both papers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Editorial in the Boston Herald right on!

In case you missed it, the Boston Herald ran an editorial in today’s edition titled Deval Patrick’s bluff exposed. In reaction to Governor Patrick’s failed attempt to cap insurance rates, the Boston Herald calls the plan, “hideously cynical and highly politicized policy put at risk not just insurers, but the area’s hospitals, many of which face their own fiscal difficulties.”

Thank you, Boston Herald for agreeing with what we’ve been saying all along – this failed attempt was nothing more than an election year gimmick by the Patrick Administration to give the illusion that he is actually tackling the issue of rising health care costs. Of course, we all know that is not the case!

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jones: Governor Patrick must turn over documents relative to insurance rate cap decision

BOSTON—In light of yesterday’s Division of Insurance Administrative Appeals ruling against the Patrick-Murray Administration, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. today reiterated his call saying Governor Patrick must turn over all documents relative to his decision to attempt to cap insurance rates.

Nearly three weeks ago Representative Jones sent a letter to Governor Patrick asking that his Administration release any and all documents and correspondences that may have been used to help reach the decision to cap insurance rates. That letter went unanswered.

“I believe the general public legitimately deserves to know why Governor Patrick and his Administration made this choice,” said Representative Jones. “If there is actuarial evidence to support this policy Governor Patrick should be able to provide that documentation. If no such records exist, I am concerned political considerations may have clouded his judgment.”

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation told the Boston Globe, “The Patrick administration’s actions were arbitrary and unfair.”

Widmer is not the only person to question Governor Patrick’s judgment. This story was first reported because of emails that surfaced with one Patrick Administration official saying the plan had “the potential for catastrophic consequences to our nonprofit health care industry.”

“Governor Patrick needs to release this information if he remotely cares about the issue of transparency in government and the integrity of the Patrick/Murray Administration.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Governor Patrick playing politics with healthcare

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement after hearing the Division of Insurance Administrative Appeals ruled against the Patrick Administration in the case of capping insurance premium rates.

This election year gimmick is perhaps the most transparent action Governor Patrick has made in his near four years in the corner office. Insurance premiums have been going up for years and Governor Patrick has failed to provide a comprehensive plan to address the true issue of rising health care costs for the citizens of Massachusetts.

Today’s ruling is further proof that Governor Patrick has no problem playing politics with healthcare. I commend the DOI Administrative Appeals for rejecting a proposal that at least one Patrick Administration official has dubbed a “train wreck.”

GOP Leaders: Lack of reforms in FY11 budget ‘disappointing’

Boston- House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. and Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei released the following statement today just hours after the budget conference committee released its report:

From day one, this budget process and the contents of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget have been a disappointment. From the lack of transparency and reform to the dependence on federal handouts, Governor Patrick and Democratic leaders on Beacon Hill have failed to craft a responsible and sustainable budget.

Governor Patrick released his budget proposal in January, relying on hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government and guaranteeing the money would be here shortly. Here we are, six months and $800 million later, and the FY11 budget is a mess due to the irresponsible decision to factor in federal money that Congress has yet to approve. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders took the Governor’s word to heart and made the same careless choices while crafting the House and Senate budgets.

House and Senate Republicans led the charge for reforms to assist the state’s taxpayers and local communities, but those reforms are nowhere to be found in the final budget. Local aid has been cut, services have been slashed, and the one tool that would allow cities and towns to rein in their health care costs and save $100 million – implementing health care plan design – has been taken away.

We, along with our Republican colleagues, will not be voting in favor of this budget and hope our friends across the aisle will join us in rejecting what is once again an unsustainable and irresponsible budget for the Commonwealth and its taxpayers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jones: Treasurer Cahill has a lot of explaining to do

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement calling on Treasurer Tim Cahill to explain his hiring practices.

In a time where private companies are laying off workers and cutting operating budgets, Treasurer Tim Cahill appears to be padding the state payrolls with family, friends and contributors.

The decision to hire family members is further proof that his judgment skills are lacking. Treasurer Cahill needs to explain his hiring practices as I believe the general public deserves to know what standards candidates must meet when applying for a position in agencies and authorities that are under his control.

Minority Leader appears on the Charley Manning Show

House Minority Leader Brad Jones appeared on the Charley Manning show yesterday to discuss illegal immigration reform. As you know, the Senate adopted a number of refomrs while debating its budget back in May. This week, the conference committee is expected to report out the FY11 budget and Charley Manning is urging his listeners to contact the conferees to encourage them to keep the Senate language, or similar language, in the conference committee report.

Click here to listen to the discussion.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Telegram and Gazette praises Peterson's gun legislation

Calling it a "thoughtful, detailed and reasoned proposal," the Worcester Telegram & Gazette's editorial page today praised a piece of legislation offered by Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson. A number of other Republicans are cosponsoring the legislation as well.

The bill, H.2259. is seen as a smart alternative to Governor Patrick's gun bill that would limit the purchase of guns by individuals to one per month or 12 a year.

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thoughts and prayers with family of fallen state trooper

All of us here at The Capitol View wanted to take this opportunity to extend our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the state trooper who's life was lost today.

As reported by several media outlets this morning, 52 year old Sergeant Doug Weddleton was working a construction detail on I-95 when he was killed.

Please be sure to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this extremely difficult time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Peterson appears on Broadside

Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson appeared on NECN's Broadside with Jim Braude last night. In the wake of several fatal shootings, Governor Patrick is pushing a piece of legislation that would allow a person to only purchase one gun a month.

Peterson, who has filed legislation of his own, thinks the Governor's bill wouldn't do anything to reduce crime on the streets.

Click here to watch the segment in its entirety.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Are things improving?

We’re hearing a lot of rhetoric coming out of the Patrick-Murray Administration about how things are improving in the Commonwealth and how their leadership is paving the way. While we admit there have been some positive economic indicators, we are frustrated that Governor Patrick only wants to take credit for the positive news and blame everyone else for the negatives!

News today of a spike in foreclosures in May should serve as a reminder to Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray that thousands of people in the Commonwealth are still feeling the worst of this recession. Not only are completed foreclosures up, but those unemployed still stand well above 300,000 and that figure doesn’t even include those people who are considered underemployed.

So, yeah, maybe a few things have improved, but to those out of work and facing foreclosure – their road to recovery has yet to begin.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Boston Herald gets it right

In case you missed it, the Boston Herald had an editorial in today's paper discussing Governor Patrick's decision to put a cap on health insurance rates. You may recall House Minority Leader Brad Jones sent a letter to Governor Patrick requesting that his administration release any and all documents that may have led to this decision.

The Boston Herald, much like all of us here at The Capitol View, question the Governor's decision and would appreciate an explanation as to why this was a good public policy decision.

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Minority Leader calls on Governor Patrick to release documents

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. today sent a letter to Governor Patrick in the wake of media outlets reporting that a member of his administration advised against setting caps on health insurance premiums.

Below is the letter in its entirety.

June 10, 2010

His Excellency Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
State House, Room 360
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Patrick:

Rising health care costs have long captivated the attention of policy makers, and people across the country and the Commonwealth. As our leaders in Washington debated what we knew from experience to be a very complex issue, health care reform was front page news in any given city or town. Given the current economic climate, struggling families and small businesses need to know state government is on their side. Unfortunately, a number of recent media reports suggests otherwise.

After three years in office during which insurance rates continually increased, your Administration has decided to cap or limit insurers’ rates of increase. While the political attractiveness of this policy decision is readily apparent, various media outlets are reporting that a member of your Administration indicated your plan to put caps on health care premiums would create “the potential for catastrophic consequences to our nonprofit health care industry.” Thus, the potential short-term benefits would be replaced by serious long-term consequences that could easily hurt the very same people you are purportedly seeking to help. It is my fear that putting such draconian regulations on our nonprofit health care industry will lead to a reduction in those covered and could potentially drive companies out of the state.

Despite this warning from a high ranking state insurance official, you decided to proceed with your plan, seemingly regardless of the potential negative effects. What is particularly worrisome is the lack of transparency regarding the process you used to determine that capping premium rates was good public policy – particularly since, despite having the authority, your Administration has never before pursued such a policy.

For this reason, I am asking that your Administration make public any and all documents and correspondence relative to this decision. We have a duty to prove to the Commonwealth that this decision was made for the right reasons. If the decision you made is indeed the best policy for the consumers in Massachusetts, I have no doubt that the requested documents will support that claim.

Given the potential ramification of this new policy, I believe your willingness to comply with this modest request is more important than ever. If we, as a Commonwealth, are to impose such stringent regulations, then we must provide the rationale behind our decision to do so. It is critical during such difficult economic times that such a major policy decision is made in an open and transparent manner.

I want to thank you for your consideration of my request.


Bradley H. Jones, Jr.
House Minority Leader

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jones: Patrick-Murray Budget Plan Misses the Mark

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today in response to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s plan to make across the board cuts should hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid fall through.

The Patrick-Murray Administration’s proposed solution to the possibility that we may not receive over $600 million in federal funding for the FY11 budget is another missed opportunity to support reform while further targeting our cities and towns. The Patrick-Murray plan is merely designed to look like they are leading but in reality it is lacking in creativity and accountability. It is further proof they are incapable of handling the Commonwealth’s finances. First, they propose a budget based on federal aid that has yet to be approved. Then, as it appears this money is in jeopardy, they announce across the board cuts. That’s not reform – that’s more of the same.

The state’s financial situation provides a perfect opportunity to seek meaningful reforms. The Governor and his administration should use this potentially bad news as an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and attack areas of government that need to be reformed.

Despite the Governor’s grand declaration that he will not touch local aid or Chapter 70 funding, anyone who understands local aid and municipal finances know there are several accounts that will get slashed that are indeed local aid. Governor Patrick’s across the board cuts will affect Special Education reimbursements, Payment in Lieu of Taxes, Regional School Transportation, amongst others. All totaled, his plan means millions in reductions for our cities and towns - most of which have already adopted their FY11 budgets based on already reduced local aid numbers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where’s the reform in this?

Last year, a so-called “sweeping” ethics reform bill was signed into law. The legislation came in the wake of multiple scandals and ethical indiscretions by state lawmakers. Under the legislation, a new commission was supposed to be established in order to study the “creation of a public accountability office.”

As State House News Service reported yesterday, that commission has yet to meet and its reporting deadline is a little under two months away.

Click here to read the SHNS piece in its entirety.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GOP Leaders: No guarantee FMAP payments will come through

Boston- Saying there’s no guarantee Congress will extend Federal Medical Assistance Percentage payments, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. and Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei today called on Governor Patrick to announce a contingency plan for dealing with what’s expected to be a gaping $700 million budget hole.

In January, Governor Patrick filed his FY11 budget proposal that relied on $689 million in federal assistance for Medicaid payments. At the time, Governor Patrick and Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez said they were confident Congress would act quickly to approve the FMAP extension and that President Obama would soon have the legislation on his desk to sign. The U.S. Senate did approve the extension, unfortunately the House of Representatives rejected a proposal to provide additional Medicaid funding to states.

This news couldn’t come at a worse time as the state is already facing a $2.5 billion structural deficit.

“Governor Patrick never should have released a budget, without a contingency plan, that was so dependent on federal aid that had yet to be approved,” said Representative Jones. “At this point in the process and with the likelihood that we will not receive this money, it is incumbent upon the Governor to outline his plan for filling this hole immediately. One can only hope it’s not another tax increase.”

“The Patrick-Murray administration has consistently been two steps behind, always having to react to economic news,” said Senator Tisei. “It’s frustrating and disappointing that Governor Patrick refuses to act in a proactive manner. There was never a guarantee that this aid would be approved by the federal government and if this money does not come through, it will be the hardworking taxpayers who will suffer from devastating cuts to health and human services.”

The state’s stabilization fund has practically been depleted since Governor Patrick took office. Only $600 million remains in the rainy day fund, far short of the $700 million that would be needed to cover this additional budget gap.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Boston Herald gets it right!

As you know, like much of the country, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is facing difficult economic times. While you would think the Legislature would be focusing on ways to alleviate the tax burden on individuals, providing local aid to cities and towns or helping those in need, it is instead considering a piece of legislation that would effectively change how we elect the President of the United States.

The Boston Herald editorial page ran a piece on this today and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Click here to read why the Herald is asking, “why the urgency with this bill?”