State Representative Dave Rogers

On the Hill

The State Budget

On July 1st, the state budget for Fiscal Year 2014 was passed. The state fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th.   Local aid numbers for Belmont, Arlington, and Cambridge in the final budget will be as follows:

budget chart

Each of these numbers indicates an increase over last year’s aid numbers (the dramatic increase in Arlington Chapter 70 aid school funding was due in large part to adjustments in total school age population due to full day kindergarten enrollment).  In conjunction with the 50% increase in chapter 90 funding for local infrastructure projects, the final FY2014 Budget represents a noteworthy investment in the operations of municipal governments.

In addition to being a generally positive state budget for the three communities I represent, there are a number of other important social investments for which I strongly advocated in this year’s budget. Higher education is given a big boost this year with substantial new spending for the University of Massachusetts system, other state universities, and community colleges. Fortunately, state aid to substance abuse programs was increased significantly. Funding to the state’s environmental agencies was increased by 6%, a step in the right direction after years of cuts.  It is also a welcome relief to some of our state’s neediest citizens who receive their health care through Mass Health (Medicaid) that dental benefits -- cut during the recession -- will be partially restored, covering fillings, and certain other procedures. Aid to homelessness programs was also increased and this is something for which I vigorously advocated. 

The state budget is complex and covers an incredibly wide variety of agencies and policy initiatives. If there is any specific area about which you would like to know more, please contact me and we can either meet in person, talk on the phone, or exchange emails, whichever you would prefer. 

Revenue Status

On Wednesday, June 26th, the House passed the final transportation revenue package. That new revenue is already factored in to the state budget for the coming fiscal year. As many of you know, I opposed the original House/Senate plan because it did not fully address the needs of the transportation system (let alone our dire need for increased education and social services funding). After enough representatives opposed the bill to sustain Governor Patrick’s proposed veto, the Senate passed a larger package and the Governor personally thanked me for standing up for the future of the Commonwealth in the face of considerable pressure from the House leadership. 

The bill that passed was a compromise between the House and Senate plans. It more fully addresses the transportation needs of the Commonwealth than the original plan did, and yet still does not provide revenue for substantial investment in other underfunded areas. While I still would like to have seen a more substantial plan akin to the one proposed by Governor Patrick at the beginning of the session, I was pleased to be able to take this meaningful step towards solving what is one of the biggest challenges for the Commonwealth and our District. 

The Governor has announced that he plans to return the bill to the floor with an amendment, with the proposal that the gas tax would increase to compensate for the revenue lost if certain highway tolls phase out in the coming years.  I am supportive of measures to ensure that the bill eventually dedicates the necessary resources to repair and modernize our transportation and infrastructure systems, but am uncertain how I will vote on the Governor’s amendment.  I do not view the vote on the proposed amendment nearly as critical as the original vote on the House/Senate plan (i.e., before it improved in the Senate). 

Criminal Justice Reform

The House recently passed an important criminal justice reform to raise the age at which young offenders can be tried as an adult from 17 to 18. Not only did I vote for the legislation, but I was a co-sponsor. Here is a link to a piece I recently published in the Belmont Citizen-Herald, the Arlington Advocate, and the Cambridge Chronicle, as well as on several news websites.  The piece describes the legislation in more detail and explains why I supported it.

Election Roundup

Congratulations to Senator-Elect Ed Markey!
On June 25th, the people of Massachusetts – including many of you – made a clear choice.  When we elected Ed Markey to the US Senate, we sent a message about our beliefs to the rest of the country.  We told the rest of America that women do have a right to make personal health decisions free from government interference.  We told America that climate change demands urgent action.  We told America that we will work to ensure that society is made safer from the ravages of gun violence.  We told America that Massachusetts will continue to stand beside Main Street in resisting the powerful interests of Wall Street.  Congratulations to Senator Markey, and also to the tremendous work of the activists from Belmont, Arlington, and Cambridge who turned out so many needed votes.  As far as new senators go, I can hardly imagine a better pair than Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.

In the District

Farmer’s Markets

Come shop and enjoy the community atmosphere at Belmont’s weekly  farmers’ market!  With fresh, local produce and live performances, this is a great event for adults and kids alike.  Thursday afternoons from 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm in the parking lot behind Belmont Center.  Arlington hosts its farmer’s market Wednesdays from 2 – 6:30PM from now until late October.  Learn more about it here.

Robbins Farm Park fireworks

Staying home for the 4th of July?  Come celebrate America's birthday in style at Robbins Farm Park. There will be musical entertainment from a live band (starting at 7:00), refreshments, and of course, the Boston Pops Orchestra and Fireworks on the giant screen. The event is free and open to all.  More information here.

Friends of Spy Pond Work Day

Come help keep beautiful Spy pond a healthy environment for native plants!  Join with the Friends of Spy Pond and help remove invasive species.  July 13th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Spy Pond in Arlington. More information here.

TV Show

I am announcing the first episode of my local access cable show, produced and aired by the Belmont Media Center.  It is titled “The Rogers Report,” and will show on Comcast channels 8 and 28 at the following days and times:
  • Thursdays: 8:00 pm
  • Fridays: 7:00 pm
  • Saturdays: 3:30 pm
I plan to do this show every month or so. The basic format: I will provide a brief overview of developments in state government and then interview some of the many interesting people from the 24th Middlesex District (or from outside the 24th but who are otherwise interesting guests).  Visit the Media Center’s website to learn more.

Office Hours

Saturday July 13th 
10:00 to 11:00 am at Singa Bella Café (2401 Mass Ave, Cambridge)
Saturday July 13th 
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Sweet Peach Diner (628 Trapelo Road, Belmont)
Tuesday July 16th 
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Jam ’n Java (594 Mass Ave, Arlington)

Payson Park Music Festival

Enjoy live music and beautiful summer evenings at the Payson Park Music Festival.  In its 24th season, the festival has long been a weekly opportunity for community members to come together.  I encourage everyone to take an evening this summer to experience this wonderful concert series.  Wednesdays at 6:45 pm in Payson Park, Belmont.

Harvard Alumni Jazz Band at Robbins Farm Park

Come see a free jazz concert by the Alumni Jazz Band, a 15-piece jazz big band with members from Arlington and surrounding communities. Enjoy the music of Count Basie, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, and many others! July 19th at 6:30 pm at Robbins Farm Park in Arlington.
 More information here.

Contact Me

I welcome your input and hope to hear from you on issues of mutual concern. Email: State House office phone: 617-722-2400. Personal cell phone: 617-817-9395.
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