ONE Massachusetts
Weekly Roundup
February 11th, 2010

Global Economy Through our elected officials - at all levels of government - we shape our economy. This happens through the decisions we make today, policies we implement for tomorrow, and the outside factors that continuously change around us.

Our public structures, such as the legal framework that regulates our property rights and courts, and the structures that educate our workforce and keep it healthy, have only developed through careful, long-term planning and effort. We invest in these structures through our government to promote healthy communities that attract businesses and build vibrant communities.

That is why we must make sure that Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray and House Speaker DeLeo understand that we are all interconnected and need to work together. Striving together, they can achieve policy decisions that positively influence the economic well-being of every community in our state. They could more easily foster economic development, building and implementing joint policies like the Governor's recently announced incentives for small businesses, and Senate President Murray proposal to create one-stop shops where all information about state programs and services would be available.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in ONE Massachusetts' efforts to reshape the future of our communities, consider attending one of our community forums, keep up to date with local and community news through our News Roundup, and make a point to talk to your elected officials about the public structures in our state, and how we can support them.

Together we can influence how public policy works for well-being of all.
Yawu Miller
Project Director, ONE Massachusetts | 617-275-2918
Here's a look at what else has been happening around Massachusetts:
Civic Engagement | Revenue | Government Reform

Goal: By 2013, the voice and input of the state's multi-racial, multi-ethnic communities will create a counterweight to the currently dominant voice and will be tangibly reflected in the public decision making process.
  • GBIO - Jan 2007Commonwealth Legislative Seminar. The CLS is now accepting applications for the Spring 2010 Commonwealth Seminar. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 5:00The Spring 2010 Seminar starts on Friday, March 12 and ends on Friday, April 16. Classes run once a week from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and participants can expect to gain an insider's perspective on how our state government works. [CLS Application]

  • GBIO - Jan 2007Letters to the Editor Campaign.
    ONE Massachusetts strives to strengthen the voices of each person in our state, especially those have not traditionally had a place at the table. We want to encourage our readers and members to write to their local media about what they value in their communities and about their support for more revenue in the state.

    Please visit our site for tips to getting your letter published as well as talking points or check some sample letters you could use to customize your message.

    For more information on the campaign, and how you or your organization can get more involved - including free trainings and coaching, contact ONE Massachusetts Project Director, Yawu Miller.

  • Feb 16 - Mar 5 - Budget Hearings. Eight public hearings are planned on fiscal 2011 budget bill Gov. Deval Patrick filed last week. The schedule includes hearings during which testimony will be accepted from members of the general public all across the state. Learn more about a hearing close to you and participate!

    • Feb. 16 at the State House,
    • Feb. 19 in Waltham,
    • Feb. 22 in Amherst,
    • Feb. 23 in Sudbury,
    • Feb. 26 in Worcester,
    • March 1 in Sturbridge,
    • March 2 in Fall River and the final hearing, 
    • March 5 at the State House.[More Information about Dates and Times]
Goal: By 2013, a fair, adequate, and stable tax system will be implemented. It will raise sufficient revenue so that state and local governments can fund the array of services needed.

  • Unemployment BenefitsFederal Funds: Unemployment Benefits. Massachusetts has asked the federal government for a loan so that the state can continue to pay unemployment insurance to the more than 300,000 Massachusetts residents currently receiving benefits. The request is for a line of credit to borrow up to $250 million. The funds would cover the state's cost of unemployment benefits for February. Just as the state asks to borrow money, Gov. Deval Patrick says he will not raise unemployment insurance taxes to make up for the shortfall. [WBUR]

  • Economic Development: Small Business. Patrick said he will unveil a new $50 million tax credit for small business, a plan to make available $25 million in loans to small businesses, and a proposal to freeze unemployment insurance rates. Murray said she will seek to streamline more than 30 agencies that promote economic development and create regional one-stop centers where all information about state programs and services will be available. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said he supports the plans, indicating an emerging consensus from Beacon Hill's top three leaders that they need to respond more forcefully to the economic crisis. [Boston Globe]

  • GamblingNew Revenue: Casinos. The United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts group said that the claim of $200 million in new tax revenue would require 40,000 new gamblers every day, and that to match current Lottery revenues, citizens would need to gamble and lose 11 times more money. Instead of funding cities and towns, new gambling ventures would go to out-of-state developers as the Lottery would lose more than 10 percent of its revenue, USS-Mass said.

    Supporters of gambling proposals underscored support for adequate funds to prevent and treat individuals with problem gambling habits, in a set of policy recommendations issued by industry leaders Tuesday. [SHNS]

  • Financial Aid: Cities and Towns. Gov. Deval L. Patrick is pushing new bills to help the finances of cities and towns, including measures to authorize early retirements and extend payments for future pensions. Municipal leaders welcome the bills, but say Patrick should also back a proposal to clear communities to cut health-insurance costs by increasing co-pays and deductibles for employees without union approval. [MassLive]

  • Budget GapBudget Cuts: Mental Health. Senate President Therese Murray issued a flat rejection Tuesday of Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed cuts to Department of Mental Health in-patient facilities, telling a group of mental health activists that she would lead a restoration of the funds. "I can assure you that no matter how difficult what we're fighting will be, I won't do those cuts," Murray said. [SHNS]
Goal: By 2013, a transparent, accessible and accountable state and local policy-making process will be in place.
  • GBIO - Jan 2007Campaign Finance. In the wake of a Supreme Court decision enabling unfettered spending by corporations on political campaigns, the state's political finance chief said Tuesday that he's received numerous calls, mostly from new candidates for office, confused by the ruling's ramifications. "It's very simple. Candidates still can't take contributions from corporations. They never could, they're still not able to," said Michael Sullivan, director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.  [SHNS]

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