MAJOR BILLS DELAYED IN CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

COMPOUNDING PHARMACY REFORM

WELFARE REFORM

MERCURY THERMOMETERS

EARLY VOTING - ELECTIONS REFORM

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Legislator Calls for Probe of Rose Kennedy Conservancy

In case you missed it, State Representative Peter Durant (R-Spencer) today called for an investigation into the public funding of the nonprofit Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

As first reported in both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe, the Conservancy is responsible for oversight and management of the 15 acre public park linking the North End to Downtown Boston. Reports indicate that five executives of the Conservancy now make in excess of $100,000 annually, with hefty bonuses and vacation time also available.

“I question the need to pay 5 people over $650,000 collectively each year, not including bonuses, to manage a park that is only 15 acres,” Durant said. “I understand the economic benefit this park provides for North End businesses, and if it were a completely privately-funded entity as originally intended, the amount the Conservancy pays its personnel wouldn't be an issue."

But, the Spencer Republican went on to say, "The fact is that this organization, by its own admission, relies heavily on public funding and has the audacity to believe there should be no oversight or accountability of how the public's money is spent." Durant added, "This is simply unacceptable. The oversight alone of this parcel totals almost $45,000 per acre and that does not include the salaries of the other 35employees employed in the maintenance of the park.”

Representative Durant contacted the Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Richard Davey as well as the chairs of the Joint Committee of Transportation, requesting additional copies of the financial statements of the Rose Kennedy Conservancy.

“This is an accountability issue,” said Durant. “With over $2 million in funding for the Conservancy coming out of the DOT budget, I want to know exactly where our taxpayer dollars are going and what the justification for that spending is.”

Massachusetts and New York Minority Leaders Agree to a Tasty Super Bowl Wager

In case you missed it, Massachusetts House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading, MA) and New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua, NY) recently entered into a friendly Super Bowl wager.

Pitting cannoli’s from Mike’s Pastry and clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods against New York Cheesecake and wine from New York’s Finger Lake region, the Minority Leaders from Massachusetts and New York have laid claim to their football team’s supremacy.

“I commend Minority Leader Kolb for entering into this wager,” said House Minority Leader Bradley Jones. “While New Yorkers and New Jerseyans continue to argue over which state can lay claim to the Giants, Patriots fans are focused on one thing – supporting their team in Sunday’s game and cheering them on to their fourth Super Bowl title in eleven years. The last time the Patriots met the Giants in the Super Bowl is still fresh on the mind of many New England residents. I am confident, however, that the outcome will be different this time around. But in the end, at least we can both agree that it is great to not have the Jets anywhere near Indianapolis.”

“I applaud Leader Jones for his willingness to make this friendly wager and look forward to enjoying the chowder and cannolis. I already have a prominent place picked out in my office where I will put Leader Jones’ picture wearing a New York Giants jersey. New York Big Blue (Yes, New York, sorry Governor Christie) have the Patriot’s number. I say this not based on my football predictive ability but on the final score from Super Bowl XLII. All kidding aside, I wish both teams the very best on what will be an exciting game," said New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb.

The wager also requires the Republican Leader from the losing state to take a picture, in their respective Chamber, while donning the jersey of the victorious team.

Super Bowl Wager

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Patrick’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today after receiving a copy of the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal.

I welcome the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal and look forward to combing through it.

The residents of Massachusetts are ready for fiscal responsibility. Yet as proposed, the Governor’s budget fails to deliver. The Patrick Administration has indicated their plans for $260 million in tax and fee increases as well as taking $400 million from our surplus. But these recommendations come at a severe cost to the taxpayer. In these dire economic times, we must explore and exhaust all other potential avenues before we consider raising taxes and fees as the Governor plans to do.

While I commend the Governor for realizing the importance of fostering job growth in Massachusetts, I fail to see how his various proposals will meet that expectation. What he hasn’t addressed is how his Administration will provide more opportunities for small businesses, which make up 98 percent of our businesses statewide and employ 47 percent of our private-sector workforce. We need job creation not elimination.

While one could appreciate his retention of a Republican-led initiative to restore monies to cities and towns, there are serious questions whether this budget meets their needs.

I applaud the Governor for delivering a timely budget. But it will be some time before we know whether or not his numbers and proposals add up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Representative George Peterson Appears on the FOX-25 Morning News

In case you missed it, Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson (R-Grafton) made an appearance on the FOX-25 Morning News today. Representative Peterson joined Gene Lavanchy to discuss Governor Patrick’s proposed tax increase on cigarettes as well as various other topics.

To view the entire segment play the video posted below.


State tax increases: Cigarettes : MyFoxBOSTON.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

House and Senate Minority Leaders to Hold Media Availability

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) will be holding media availability tonight following Governor Patrick’s State of the State address.

Representative Jones and Senator Tarr will be available outside of the House Chamber directly following the State of the State for reaction and comment to the Governor’s speech.

Chinese New Year

With today marking the start of the Chinese New Year, Representative Donald Wong passes along the following sentiments:

The Chinese New Year is a special time of year in the Chinese culture. It is a time for friends and families alike to gather together and reflect upon the past year, and to remain optimistic and hopeful for the year to come. Since this year is the year of the dragon, which also happens to be the most powerful animal in the Chinese zodiac, we look forward to a year of prosperity and good fortune.

I would like to wish everyone a year full of health, wealth, and eternal happiness.

Friday, January 20, 2012

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Patrick’s Revenue Proposals for Fiscal Year 2013

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to Fiscal Year 2013 revenue proposals released today by the Patrick Administration:

With the release of revenue proposals for Fiscal Year 2013, one thing is clear: the Patrick Administration has a sweet tooth for tax increases.

In this latest edition of a Friday afternoon news dump, Governor Patrick has made his intentions to place a sales tax on soda and candy very clear. Additionally, the Administration has made it apparent that they seem keen on balancing the New Hampshire state budget by raising the sales tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products here in the Bay State. This is the wrong approach during these trying economic times. Raising taxes is not the fiscally or economically responsible approach.

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Massachusetts’ Unemployment Rate

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the Commonwealth’s most recent unemployment numbers:

With the release of the most recent unemployment figures by the Patrick Administration, it appears the Governor has adopted President Obama’s credo: “It could be worse.”

Instead of actually trying to bolster job growth, it seems the Governor’s goal is to convince Bay Staters to stop actively seeking employment so that Massachusetts can continue to obtain “favorable” unemployment rate numbers.

We can and will do better. The House and Senate Republican Caucuses will introduce a comprehensive and long-term job creation proposal aimed at getting the Commonwealth’s residents back to work. We can no longer play a numbers game when it comes to jobs; we need to elicit real and tangible results.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Republican Initiative to Freeze Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate Adopted by House

In response to legislation co-sponsored by the House and Senate Republican caucus, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to freeze the anticipated unemployment insurance tax rate increase.

Filed by Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senator Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester), House Docket 4205, An Act Relative to Mitigating the Increasing Costs for Small Businesses by Freezing the Unemployment Insurance Rate, seeks to prevent a tax increase of $220 per employee, or 31%, on the Commonwealth’s businesses. Garnering bi-partisan support, the passage of this legislation marks the fourth straight year that a similar bill has been passed by the Legislature protecting Massachusetts employers from this damaging and unnecessary tax hike.

“Implementing this rate freeze is the best and most concrete way we can help to move the Massachusetts economy forward,” said Representative Jones. “I am pleased that the Democratic majority in the House chose to side with the Republicans in removing any impediments to economic growth in the Commonwealth.”

Continuing the Republican Caucus’ ongoing effort to bring long-term job creation and economic opportunities to the Bay State, Republican legislators reached across the aisle, working with their Democratic colleagues to ensure that the anticipated tax rate increase would not take effect.

“The House is taking a major step today in responding to our call for prompt action for a freeze in unemployment rates,” said Senator Tarr. “This is clearly an important step to prevent an unnecessary penalty for employers working to emerge from the recession, and Senate Republicans will work to ensure that our chamber also acts quickly to address this issue.”

The legislation now stands before the Senate for consideration.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, let us all pause for a moment to express our gratitude to a man who contributed so much to our society.

Though his life was tragically cut short, his dream lives on in all of us. We must never forget what Dr. King said in his most famous speech, "Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Trails To You…

In case you missed it, and we are sure the Patrick Administration hopes you did, Massachusetts has yet again lost jobs to our neighbor to the north: New Hampshire.

As reported in the Eagle Tribune yesterday, Enterasys Networks, a computer company with offices in Andover, is moving from its current 150,000 square foot digs to a new facility in the Granite State.

With this move comes the loss of 540 jobs here in the Bay State. In addition to relocating its offices from Andover, Enterasys Networks plans to add about 80 jobs when they unpack in New Hampshire.

When commenting about Enterasys’ move North, Michael Bergon, a business development manager for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, said: “Many Massachusetts companies are looking to relocate here [New Hampshire] because of the lower tax burden and more favorable business climate.”

While we appreciate the Patrick’s Administrations ongoing effort to deliver only positive news to the residents of Massachusetts, the harsh reality is that we continue to lose jobs to other states as a result of our state's burdensome regulations and the high cost of doing business. As a result, the House and Senate Republican Caucus’ intend to “practice what we preach” and propose a targeted jobs plan aimed at not only returning residents of the Commonwealth to work, but reaffirming Massachusetts as a desirable place to live and work.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

House and Senate Republicans File Legislation to Freeze Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate

Led by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester), the entire House and Senate Republican caucus has filed legislation to freeze the anticipated unemployment insurance tax rate.

Citing the current economic climate as the reason for this legislation, House and Senate Republicans seek to prevent a tax increase of $220 per employee, or 31%, on the Commonwealth’s businesses. This would mark the fourth straight year that a similar bill has been passed by the Legislature protecting Massachusetts employers from this damaging and unnecessary tax hike.

“Implementing this rate freeze is the best and most concrete way we can help to move the Massachusetts economy forward in the New Year,” said Representative Jones. “In these tough fiscal times, we need to remove any impediments to economic growth in the Commonwealth.”

Although this tax hike triggered on January 1, 2012, employers will not receive the bill for a few more weeks. In the interim, the Legislature has the opportunity to ease the potential burden on the Commonwealth’s businesses.

“Unemployment insurance is already a major cost for employers in Massachusetts, and one that relates directly to the number of people they employ,” said Senator Tarr. “A substantial rate increase now will not only imperil a struggling economic recovery, it will also put a new obstacle in the way of getting people back to work.”

In addition to freezing the unemployment insurance tax rate hike in the coming weeks, the House and Senate Republican Caucuses will introduce comprehensive unemployment insurance reform and long-term job creation opportunities for the Bay State.