In case you missed it, today marks the second day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.
As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $36.2 billion state budget proposal. While the Democratic-majority set an unfortunate tone to this year’s budget debate by refusing to consider amendments relative to local aid, education spending, and welfare reform, the House Republican Caucus will not be deterred.
During this year’s budget debate, the House Republican’s firmly believe that the Legislature must make considerable strides in delivering a budget that is mindful of the economic times, while producing a spending plan that delivers an accountable and transparent state government which reflects the taxpayers’ priorities, and seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.
This evening’s debate will continue with amendments relative to energy and environmental affairs. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.
Amendment 20 - Encouraging Competitiveness in MassSave Program (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section prohibiting independent contractors from fixed prices for the installation of electric and gas energy efficiency program approved measures, and instead allows contractors to establish mutually agreed-fair market prices.
Amendment 24 - Establishment of the Alternative Fuels Revolving Fund (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section establishing a revolving fund to distribute loans and grants to state and local government agencies to support Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) infrastructure, pay for AFV maintenance, operation and vehicle conversions.
Amendment 30 - Limiting Administrative Costs and Encouraging Significant Investments in
Energy Efficiency (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section to limit administrative costs for programs established in the Green Communities Act and encourages significant investments
in energy efficiency by closing a loophole that allows ratepayers to annually qualify for a $2K rebate for home energy efficiency investments and instead implement a tiered pay-for-performance incentive system.
Amendment 33 - Net Metering Reform to Reduce the Cost of Electricity (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section to reduce the cost of electricity by linking the credits granted to net-energy producers to the basic service rate, instead of the full service rate.
Amendment 38 - Relative to Capturing deep energy efficiency investments (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section to open up low-interest home heat loans to homeowners who work with Non-MassSave contractors. Currently, non- MassSave contractors may leverage low-interest door/window upgrade loans via MassSave; however, home heat loans are only available to consumers who use a MassSave contractor and who choose to invest in other weatherization measures.
Amendment 70 - Transparency in Water Management (Peterson, George) ADDS a new outside section postponing the implementation of the Sustainable Water Management Initiative framework. Final regulations to implement the framework will not be adopted until the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture holds a public hearing on the details of the process.
Amendment 132 - An Amendment for Webster Lake (Fattman, Ryan) EARMARKS $11K from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Administration account (2310-0200) for a matching grant for the maintenance and enhancement of Webster Lake. Does not increase the overall appropriation.
Amendment 222 - Princeton Study of Superintendent's House (Ferguson, Kimberly) EARMARKS $50K from the Department of Conservation and Recreation Retained Revenue account (2810-2042) for the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission to conduct a study on the feasibility to repair and reuse the abandoned property in Princeton known as the Superintendent’s House. Does not increase the overall appropriation.
Amendment 276 - Great Marsh Green Crab Trapping Program (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $83K from the Department of Fish and Game account (2300-0100) for the Great Marsh Green Crab Trapping Program. Increases the overall appropriation by $83K.
Amendment 354 - Otis Fish and Game Study (Vieira, David) EARMARKS $7.5K from the Department of Fish and Game account (2300-0100) for the environmental baseline study on Otis Fish & Game Club ($5K) and for the application usage fee to the US Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of the of the Otis Fish & Game Club ($2.5K). Increases the overall appropriation by $7.5K.
Amendment 503 - An Amendment for Wallum Lake (Fattman, Ryan) EARMARKS $12K from the Department of Environmental Protection account (2200-0100) for a seasonal police officer at Wallum Lake in Douglas. Does not increase the overall appropriation.
Amendment 570 - Wild Striped Bass Special Commission (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section establishing the Wild Striped Bass Special Commission to examine and report on the status and impact that commercial harvesting and sale has on the wild striped bass population in the Commonwealth.
Amendment 666 - Blackstone River Watershed Association (Peterson, George) EARMARKS $50K from the Watershed Management Program account (2800- 0101) for projects made through the Blackstone River Watershed Association.
Amendment 711 - Bristol & Plymouth County Mosquito Control Projects (D'Emilia, Angelo) CHANGES the inside language for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs account (2000-0100) to allow funds to be used for a reserve to meet the costs associated with the eradication of the arbovirus and costs associated with measures taken to prevent the spreading of EEE and West Nile Virus in Bristol and Plymouth Counties. Increases the total appropriation by
Amendment 720 - Establishment of a Regional Buy Local Program in Central Massachusetts
(Beaton, Matthew) EARMARKS $100K from the Department of Agricultural Resources account
(2511-0100) for the creation of a regional Buy Local program in Central Massachusetts. Increases the total appropriation by $100K.
Amendment 723 - Bristol County Mosquito Control Project (D'Emilia, Angelo) INCREASES the total appropriation for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (2000-0100) by $200K; CHANGES the inside language to allow funds to be used for a reserve for the eradication and control of mosquito populations in Bristol County.
Amendment 731 - Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project (D'Emilia, Angelo) CHANGES the inside language for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs account (2000-0100), allowing funds to be expended for a reserve for costs associated with the eradication of the arbovirus in order to prevent the spread of EEE and the West Nile Virus in Plymouth County. Increases the overall appropriation by $200K.
Amendment 739 - National Heritage Areas within the Commonwealth (Peterson, George) INCREASES the total appropriation for the Department of Conservation and Recreation (2810-2042) by $500K to be distributed to each of the heritage areas for operational purposes.
Amendment 778 - Cost/benefit analysis of new energy projects (O'Connell, Shaunna) ADDS a new outside section removing the requirement for the energy facilities siting board to review and evaluate environmental and cost impacts of generating facilities rather than just environmental impacts. Also directs the board to require generating facility applicants to submit data to help the board review the impacts on land use, health, water resources and financial costs. A petition to construct a generating facility shall only be approved by the board if the benefits outweigh the financial cost of the proposed facility.
Amendment 961 - Mansfield/Foxboro/Norton Wastewater District Design (Barrows, Jay) ADDS $1M by creating a new line item (xxxx-xxxx) for the design process of a wastewater treatment plant for the Mansfield-Foxboro-Norton Wastewater District. Inserted after item (2260-8870).
Amendment 994 - Assistance in Coordination Services for the Town of Charlton (Frost, Paul) ADDS $75K by creating a new line item (2100-xxxx) for a one-time assistance to design a plan for an independent water system in Charlton. Inserted after line item (2100-0016).
Amendment 1159 - Playground for Auburn (Frost, Paul) ADDS $100K by creating a new line item (2810-xxxx) for a playground at the recreation complex in Auburn. Inserted after item (2820-2000).