April 2, 2013
Contact: Kyle Sullivan, Northwind Strategies
Steve Crawford, Crawford Strategies
The Campaign for our Communities is deeply disappointed by the revenue proposal made today by the leadership of the House and Senate. Thousands of individuals from across Massachusetts have made the case for a plan that would raise substantial new revenue to invest in our communities and build a stronger Commonwealth for generations to come, but today's proposal provides inadequate revenue, and its singular focus on transportation does not address the critical need to invest in education and other areas that are critical to the growth of our economy.
We ask that the House and Senate leaders reconsider their approach and move forward with an alternative plan that would provide adequate revenue for the investments in transportation and education that we know grow our economy, while raising that revenue in a way that holds down increases on low- and middle-income families and seniors.
The Campaign for Our Communities (@OurCommunities) was formed to improve the quality of life for Massachusetts families and to help build a stronger future for our state. The coalition, which includes more than 125 organizations (http://ourcommunities.org/endorsers-list.html), supports smart investments in people and communities. To fund these investments, it advocates for tax reforms that will raise new revenues while holding down increases for low- and middle-income families and seniors]]>
The Honorable Robert DeLeo Speaker, Massachusetts State House of Representatives State House, Room 356 Boston, MA 02133
The Honorable Therese Murray President, Massachusetts State Senate State House, Room 332 Boston, MA 02133
Dear Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Murray:
As health care leaders in Massachusetts, we are acutely aware of the impact of insufficient state revenues. The revenue shortfalls in recent budget years have necessitated difficult budget cuts which have been felt throughout the health care system.
The Commonwealth continues to have a significant budgetary problem: our current revenue structure is simply insufficient to support the programs Massachusetts is and should be committed to fund. Unless changes are made, we will be unable to maintain vital health care programs and access to the services that keep residents healthy. Instead, our state will be faced with additional cuts to that will lead to poorer health for Massachusetts residents and higher future costs for everyone.
The most recent cuts to health care programs have been severe and devastating. The elimination of dental benefits for MassHealth and Commonwealth Care members has left more than 800,000 individuals in our state without most vital oral health care coverage. Reductions in Medicaid reimbursement rates have put a severe strain on providers that will potentially limit access to medical services for low-income individuals and families.
We simply cannot continue along this path - without funding restorations, the impact on those most in need of health care will be too painful.
In his Fiscal Year 2014 State Budget proposal, Governor Patrick put forward significant new broad-based revenues and targeted the resulting funds toward the restoration of programs that have been cut over the past several years. We support the principles of tax reforms that raise substantial new revenue for our communities and do so in a way that minimizes increases for low- and middle-income families and seniors put forward by the Governor.
As you develop the FY 2014 State Budget, we respectfully urge you to strongly consider all such revenue proposals. Faced with a revenue and funding structure that is rapidly approaching a crisis point, we have a unique opportunity to change the system in such a way to make it more equitable for all our residents and to provide the services we need as a Commonwealth. Investment is needed to ensure that all of our state's residents share in the ongoing economic recovery and to build stronger communities in the future. Massachusetts residents and their communities need significant new revenue to improve schools, repair infrastructure, expand economic development, and provide the necessary funding to maintain our state's health care system.
We stand ready to work with you and your staff throughout the budget process this year to develop a revenue proposal that will work for our Commonwealth.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Take a look at this inspiring video from our March 12th Rally and Lobby Day!
Many thanks to our good friends at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network who put together this great video from the March 12th Lobby Day! If you weren't able to be there to experience the overwhelming energy and hopefulness in the room, this video gives you a taste of it. Many thanks to the Mass Nonprofit Network!]]>
Click here to see a letter from Massachusetts business leaders in support of investments in education and transportation.]]>
Contact: Kyle Sullivan, Northwind Strategies
Contact:Steve Crawford, Crawford Strategies
Buy Coincides With Growing Business and Grassroots Support
BOSTON - A new advertising campaign launched today will boost the growing momentum behind efforts to increase investments to repair our state's roads and bridges, strengthen public schools, protect healthcare, expand early education, improve public transportation, and make public colleges more affordable for middle class families.
The radio ad released today and airing across the state will focus on the need to continue investing in our communities.
The ad script says:
"Massachusetts has recovered from the recession faster and stronger than the rest of the country because our elected leaders have made the investments needed to protect our communities, add jobs and grow our economy. Now the Legislature is deciding whether to make major new investments to repair our state's roads and bridges, improve public transportation, protect health care, and make public colleges more affordable for middle-class families."
"Just days ago, over 50 leading Massachusetts economists wrote an open letter stating that investments in transportation and education are needed to keep our state competitive and help our communities thrive. Many citizens agree that investments in both areas are needed to keep our economy growing and create new jobs."
"The time is right. And a fair plan is on the table - one that calls for raising the income tax while holding down increases for low- and middle-income families and seniors. To learn more and to get involved, visit ourcommunities.org. Paid for by the Campaign for Our Communities."
Listen below: Or click here for the file.
The Campaign for Our Communities also today released the following updates on the growing business and grassroots support for increased public investment:
The Campaign for Our Communities (@OurCommunities) was formed to improve the quality of life for Massachusetts families and to help build a stronger future for our state. The coalition, which includes more than 120 organizations (http://ourcommunities.org/endorsers-list.html), supports smart investments in people and communities. To fund these investments, it advocates for tax reforms that will raise new revenues while holding down increases for low- and middle-income families and seniors.]]>
Have you called your legislator yet to express your support for new revenue? Call your legislator TODAY and tell them that you support raising substantial new revenue a way that protects low - and middle-income families and seniors from big increases! Call 617/722-2000 and ask for your legislator by name.]]>
"To be competitive in the 21st century we need to increase our investments in education and innovation," said Chris Gabrieli, chairman of Mass 2020. "Without adequate funding of the key levers, Massachusetts' leadership role in education is in danger."
The Campaign for Our Communities and Governor Deval Patrick have both put forward bold proposals to raise an additional $2 billion in revenue for the Commonwealth. A significant portion of these new funds would be targeted to increasing access to high-quality early education, providing all students with an excellent K-12 public education, restoring funds to public higher education, and making higher education more affordable for Massachusetts students and families.
"Greater investments in education, from preschool through college, are critically important to Massachusetts' future," stated Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. "Massachusetts will not be able to maintain its leading role in education and economic growth if we don't adequately invest in our education system."
"We have an obligation to provide the highest quality education possible to all of our students," said Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. "Without additional resources to support our schools, we will be failing to provide adequate support to today's students and the children we will educate in the years ahead."
Leaders signing on in support of new revenue include:
Erik Champy, President, Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association
Kim Driscoll, Mayor of Salem
Chris Gabrieli, Chairman, Mass 2020
Tom Gosnell, President, American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts
Nadya Aswad Higgins, Executive Director, Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association
Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President, Wheelock College
Ellen Kennedy, President, Berkshire Community College
Patrick Kirby, Vice President & Executive Director, Citizen Schools Massachusetts
James Major, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools
Patricia Maguire Meservey, President, Salem State University
Jacob Oliveira, Ludlow School Committee
Thomas Payzant, Former Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Paul Reville, Former Massachusetts Secretary of Education
Tom Scott, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents
Reverend Burns Stanfield, President, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
Paul Toner, President, Massachusetts Teachers Association
Kathleen Turner, 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year
Jason Williams, Executive Director, Stand for Children Massachusetts]]>
My name is Scott Minter and I'm an unemployed union carpenter from Arlington. I grew up here in Massachusetts and now I'm married with 2 sons who go to public high school in Arlington.
I know times are tough, but we need to be honest about what we need to do to give our children a better future. Last year I worked for seven months on the Albert Sherman Center, a research and education facility that's being built at the UMass Medical School. I was paid a good wage that let me support my family while I worked on the job. The project gave me steady work, and once it's finished, it's going to be creating new jobs for researchers, educating students and growing the state's biotech industry. That's the kind of investment we need to be making in Massachusetts. Investing in education will help my sons get a better education and help create good jobs for people like me.
My older son is going to college soon and I want the state to make the investments in higher education that will allow us to afford a quality college education for him. When I am working, I don't mind paying higher taxes because I know that the government's investments in the economy are what create jobs for people like me. When I'm not working, I feel better knowing that the government is funding public schools and giving my kids a good education.
I'm ready to work, and there's plenty of work that needs to be done, but the state needs to invest in our economy. The anti-tax crowd wants to strangle government, but I believe government should be funding the things we all need--things like education, healthcare, workforce training, roads and bridges, transit systems and public safety. The fact is, when the government invests in these things, it helps the economy grow This helps people like me find work and the economy is stronger.]]>
I am here because times are tough for all of us. Our paychecks and retirement checks don't go as far because basic things like healthcare, food and transportation all go up. At the same time the services we depend on and that makes our community strong keep getting cut back.
Today, there are more than 1,000 seniors waiting for the home care they need, public transportation is threatened as fares are raised and important programs for our children and grandchildren are taken away.
Back home in Springfield I have seen programs at my grandsons' schools cut back. Cut backs like music programs in the lower grades. Programs that make school better for kids. Sports programs that used to be no-cost, now have a fee for participation. My grandson came home the other day saying that he and his classmates are raising money for art supplies which used to be covered. I've also watched services at our neighborhood senior center reduced and operating hours at libraries cut back. I've seen seniors threatened with increased van fares.
As a community we must do better. We cannot support one program at the cost of another, one community when another is in need. We must raise revenue so that children in Springfield can get a great education, so that public colleges are affordable for families, so that seniors have the transportation they need to get to appointments, and so that we have parks and libraries that make all of our lives better.
We need to raise revenue in a way that's fair to everyone, so that we all are a part of investing in our communities.
That's why I support "An Act To Invest in Our Communities" and the Campaign for our Communities. It is a fair solution to the problem. Thank you.]]>
As a teacher of young special needs students I have a lot of firsthand knowledge about the tremendous benefit of high-quality early education provided by trained and licensed teachers. The earlier we can identify and address learning issues in young children, the more likely they are to do well in school and lead productive lives.
Early education is just one of the many important services that require substantially more support from the state. Too many students don't receive the services they need and come to kindergarten already far behind. It is much more expensive and difficult to help children catch up than to make sure they are on track from the start.
But getting there requires more and better services than most districts and communities can afford, including tutoring, a longer school day, enrichment programs, books and technology both at school and in the home and even adult education for their parents. If a mother can't read and speak English, how can she help her child with homework, let alone with filling out college applications and financial aid forms?
Massachusetts is an increasingly diverse state in an increasingly competitive world. If we want our students to continue to be the highest performing students in the country and among the highest in the world, we must invest in our schools, our families and our communities. Our economy and our quality of life depend on it.]]>
As a Bristol Community College student and someone reliant upon public transportation, I can say lack of adequate state funding has not made the last few years easy. Massachusetts needs a progressive plan that will generate adequate revenue to fund public services and programs residents rely on. Education, transportation, infrastructure and so on are severely lacking the funds necessary to strengthen our economy.
Our regional transit authority offers no service past 6pm or on Sundays at all, and there aren't enough buses operating frequently enough on the routes. It takes a lot of unreasonable effort to not only run errands but to get to work and to classes. Getting to class is already difficult in and of itself, with lack of revenue constantly driving up the cost of attending a Community College so far it now rivals the cost of a 4 year State University or College.
There is a real need for economic growth in South-eastern Massachusetts, and access to affordable public transportation plus an educated workforce lay the foundation for economic success in New Bedford and Fall River. We need to raise revenue in order to achieve this - and the good news is there is a way to get it done while holding increases for low-income and middle income families. Thank you.]]>
This scene has been playing out all over Massachusetts - and indeed the country - throughout this anemic economy recovery. Growth in the private sector economy since 2009, when the recession ended, has been hampered by the ongoing weakness of the public sector. To have a robust economy, we need a strong, healthy private sector and a strong, healthy public sector. Indeed, one is dependent on the other, and we can't get there with endless budget cuts to the kinds of public programs and services that make Massachusetts a great place to work, live and raise a family.
This is why we need tax reform that raises substantial new revenue, revenue we can invest in our communities to keep both our public and our private sector economies strong.]]>
The water was back on by early on Tuesday morning, but people had to boil water before they could drink it for an additional 24 hours. The whole episode highlighted the age and deteriorating condition of Worcester's infrastructure. The pipe that failed, for example, was built in 1880, and unfortunately, infrastructure is not Worcester's only problem. The City is struggling to keep elementary school classrooms under 25 students, and has had to dismantle its community policing program over the last several years due to cuts in local aid.
Worcester is hardly unique. Communities all across the Commonwealth have a backlog of infrastructure needs, difficulties keeping their schools up to par, and a variety of human service needs with which they simply can't pace. Communities like Worcester need enhanced support from the state, and there is no way to do that without raising revenue to increase support for locally-provided services.
The City of Worcester dealt with their water main break quickly and efficiently. But I think we can all agree that it would be better to invest in our infrastructure to keep it in good repair, invest in our people to keep them well-educated and healthy, and invest in our economy so we can create and maintain good jobs across the Commonwealth. We can only do that by raising revenue.]]>
The general election on Tuesday has provided us with a similar story. Rep. Jim O'Day (D-West Boylston) is the House sponsor of "An Act to Invest in our Communities," and he faced a Republican challenger who made O'Day's leadership on this bill the very basis of his campaign. The Republican attacked O'Day relentlessly on this issue through billboards, newspaper advertisements and mailings. It was quite the bombardment.
The result: Rep. O'Day won his race by over 30 points!
While I am of course delighted that Rep. O'Day defended his seat, I think that both of these races prove a wider point. Voters in Massachusetts care about their communities and about the services that state and local government provide. Schools, roads, bridges, public safety, parks and libraries are all critical to our quality of life, and voters know it. When presented with a fair and reasonable solution to the funding problems that are causing our cities and towns to continually decimate these critical services, voters like that solution!
Congratulations both to Rep. Jim O'Day and to Rep-Elect Mary Keefe!]]>