Times are tough, but Jim has made protecting local aid a top priority by working with other legislators to make difficult budget decisions that are aimed toward minimizing the impact of cuts to schools, public safety and town services. As legislators debate local priorities for wise use of our tax dollars please be advised of the following:
(a) The state budget for FY '12 features no new taxes and municipal health insurance reforms -- changes with significant cost savings that both management and labor leaders came to endorse.
(b) Over the last few years the legislator has eliminated agencies like the Mass Turnpike Authority, streamlined state services, and reduced state employment by over 2,000.
(c) Our efforts are paying off. Recently, the bond agency Standard and Poor's upgraded the Commonwealth's bond rating, which will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars as the state receives more competitive rates for its borrowing needs.
(d) A supplemental budget that Jim recently supported has resulted in our state having well over $1 billion in its rainy day account -- making Massachusetts only one of four states in the nation with such savings to withstand likely federal cuts in funding.
(e) As a result of some very difficult cuts at the state level, and of increased state revenues as the economy improves, the state's most recent budget will result in over $65 million dollars being returned to cities and towns in local aid that was projected to be cut in FY '12. While Marshfield will receive additional local aid from the state of approximately $132,484 before the annual Town Meeting this spring, Scituate will receive $123,028. As always, Jim remains cautiously optimistic as the state continues to add jobs by investing in the future through economic development. In fact, at 7.0% and still dropping, unemployment here in the Bay State is among the lowest in the nation.