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Charlie Baker

Baker unveiled a sweeping tax cut proposal at the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Friday June 10th, reducing corporate sales and income taxes all to 5%.

Corporate Tax Rate at 5%: The proposal is fairly comprehensive, but it would have the effect of greatly simplifying the corporate tax code. The current corporate tax code is complex and taxes businesses in different industries differently with a tax rate in most industries at 8.75%. Baker proposes to reduce the corporate tax rate on all industries to 5% within 4 years.

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Charlestown District Court

Legislative Payback to Judges is Part of Long Standing Tradition

Rep. Mike Rush sponsored a budget amendment that was adopted into the House budget that directs Justice Robert Mulligan to move the offices of the Chief Justice for Administation and Management (CJAM) from prime downtown office space to a dingy 3rd floor office space at the Charlestown District Court. The amendment was inserted by Robert DeLeo in a closed door session, without public debate.

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Jason Lewis

Rep. Joseph R. Driscoll of Braintree and Rep. Jason M. Lewis of Winchester have submitted an amendment to the budget to add the controversial ‘Transgender Rights‘ (H1728/S1687) Bill to the House Budget.

The amendment is written in an abbreviated form to make it less conspicuous, and the amendment proposes that the language be added as section 20, in a large budget bill, with 51 sections.

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Bradley Jones

On Wednesday, Representative Bradley Jones filed an amendment to the FY11 budget to level fund local aid. This amendment would restore $200m which is currently slated to be cut from Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Local Aid. Representative Jones proposes raising the Chapter 70 appropriation to $4.05 billion and the Unrestricted Local Aid appropriation to $936 billion. The current appropriations are $3.85 billion and $899 billion respectively.

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Brianne Myers, Communications Director of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), emailed today to clarify some of the things we said yesterday in our article about legislators receiving awards from EqualJustice.org for protecting a state program which pays for attorneys to represent indigent clients in civil court proceedings.

Good afternoon,

I came across yesterday’s post, “O’Flaherty and Creem Get Another Award from the Lawyer’s Lobby,” and I just wanted to offer clarification on some of your points.

First, the Equal Justice Coalition is not a “lawyer’s lobby.” It’s a joint initiative by the Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (line item 0321-1600) that advocates on behalf of the system of civil legal aid in the Commonwealth. Private attorneys do not benefit in any way from civil legal aid funding. Read the rest of this entry »

Reps. Murphy, DeLeo and O'Flaherty rewarded for their service to the lawyer's lobby

The Equal Justice Coalition has recognized a number of legislators for their service to the legal community. They are:

  • House Speaker Rep. Robert DeLeo
  • Rep. Charles Murphy
  • Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty
  • Sen. Steven Panagiotakos
  • Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem
  • Sen. Patricia Jehlen

The Equal Justice Coalition is a lawyer’s lobby group which advocates for state funding for legal aid for civil actions by poor clients, to pay for representation in domestic violence actions, divorce actions, child custody etc.

EJC successfully lobbied for $10 million dollars of state funding for the legal community. According to their own press release, when it looked like legal aid would suffer the same budget cuts as our schools:

In published letters, 38 managing partners of law firms, and 107 general counsel attorneys went to bat for legal services. Lawmakers have listened, apparently rescuing MLAC from disaster. Lobbying for legal-aid is no easy task…

And today those lawmakers were rewarded.

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Rep. Robert DeLeo puts the State ahead of your town.

Last week a group of legislators lead by House Minority Leader Rep. Bradley Jones drafted a resolution to level fund local aid. Passage of this resolution would have gone a long way toward protecting cities and town from more budget cuts. Our towns have already taken a disproportionate share of budget cuts last year.

As we reported earlier, this resolution was not even allowed to  be heard on the floor of the legislature. By avoiding a vote the leadership provided political cover for Senators and Representatives who are willing to balance the state’s budget mess on the back of our schools, police and fire departments again this year.

Because there was no vote, we will never know for sure everyone who was against this resolution. We can be certain that at the very least Rep. Robert DeLeo, Sen. Therese Murray, and Sen. Steve Panagiotakos had to be against it because they have wide discretion in what makes it to the house floor and on all budget matters. Read the rest of this entry »

Massachusetts State House

Last week the legislature announced that they would be cutting local aid to cities and towns by up to 4%. This is on top of deep cuts last year which fell disproportionately on cities and towns, and spared budgets at the state level.

Legislative Republicans drafted a resolution which would level fund local aid and give cities and towns specific guidance. Passage of this resolution would help ensure that this year, needed budget cuts would happen at the state level – where they belong.

The resolution establishes:

1. Establish a minimum level of Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Local Aid equal the amount proposed by the Governor for FY’11

a. The minimum Chapter 70 appropriation must equal $4,048,324,258 for FY11; and
b. The minimum Unrestricted Local Aid appropriation must equal $936,437,803.

2. Establish a minimum level of funding for each of the following accounts to equal the amount proposed by the Governor for FY’11

a. Reimbursement to Cities in Lieu of Taxes $27.3 million
b. Regional School Transportation $40.5 million
c. Special Education Residential Schools $135 million

But on Thursday the Democratic legislative leaders ( Rep. Robert DeLeo, Sen. Therese Murray,  Rep. Charles Murphy, and Sen. Steven Panagiotakos ) blocked the resolution from even coming to the floor. The resolution was not even debated. This gives them political cover. Now we will never know who would have voted against this resolution. When your legislator comes to town to campaign this fall I’m sure they will all claim they were in support of level funding local aid. But you will never know for sure. This is why we need reform.

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The Massachusetts State House

Legislative leaders announced Friday that they intend to cut up to 4% from local aid next year.

There are two pools of local aid:

  • Chapter 70 – which is aid specifically for education, which cities and towns use to supplement their school budgets. This pool is roughly $4 billion dollars per year.
  • Unrestricted local aid – which towns generally use to supplement either education or public safety, like extra police. This pool is roughly $1 billion dollars per year.

You can get a sense of how much local aid your town gets from DOR.

The entire state budget last year was about $30 billion. So this local aid is only about 16% of the total state budget. The 4% cut in these two accounts represents a savings for the state of only 0.6% of the budget.

But the impact will be tremendous. Read the rest of this entry »

RSS Massachusetts Election 2010

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  • Joe Van Nes: A Final Message November 4, 2010
    I congratulate Bill Keating on his win. This letter is not aimed at him, just the system in general in which we all live. I hope Mr. Keating has the ability to stand up to special interests and keep the people in mind when he is tempted with money and power. I would also like […]
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  • Massachusetts 2010 Ballot Questions Election Results: Yes, No, No November 4, 2010
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