State Representative Dave Rogers

UPDATES

House FY2017 Budget


Much of the month of April was given over to crafting the House FY2017 Budget. While high profile legislation often grabs the headlines, the state budget is in many respects the most influential and far reaching work of your State Legislature. Budgets are not numbers on a piece of paper; they are a statement about our Commonwealth’s values. The way we spend reflects who and what we value making work on the budget of great import. 

The House FY2107 Budget is around $39.56 billion, an increase of roughly $1.12 billion or $2.92%. It features no new taxes or fees, places at least $210 million in the Stabilization Fund, and makes an additional $226 million in progress towards funding our unfunded pension liabilities. The House budget would also maintain Massachusetts' AA+ bond rating, which allows the state to borrow money at lower cost. Health care costs - which despite major legislation in 2006 and 2012 have ballooned in Massachusetts in similar fashion to the rest of the country - are held to 5% in the House budget without reducing member benefits and eligibility. Even held at 5% growth, health care cost increases remain a challenge as 5% far exceeds the 2.92% growth of the budget overall. To make targeted investments in our future, I support increasing revenue. And absent new taxes, our state budget remains tight, limiting our capacity to invest for the long-term. However, if the Legislature does not have the inclination to raise revenue now, this year's budget is a sound proposal given our current fiscal picture.

Local Aid: As always, my top budget priority was local aid for each of the communities I represent. The FY2016 House Budget includes substantial increases in local aid

 
Town


 
FY2017 Chapter 70 Local Aid for Education

 
Amount and % Increase over FY2016

 
FY2017 Unrestricted General Government Aid
 
Amount and % Increase over FY2016

 
Belmont

 
$7,096,024

 
$338,366 or 4.86%
 
$2,170,979

 
$89,503 or 4.3%
 
Arlington

 
$11,012,669

 
$296,110 or 2.76%
 
$6,993,777

 
$300,732 or 4.3%
 
Cambridge

 
$12,266,845

 
$1,473,545 or 13.65%
 
$20,655,784

 
$851,581 or 4.3%
 

In addition to these increases in local aid, the House FY2016 Budget also fully funds the special education circuit breaker and increased funding for METCO by $500,000 to support much-needed transportation improvements.

Chapter 90 Local Aid for Roads and Bridges: One of the primary ways that the state helps local government is by way of Chapter 90 Local Aid for roads and bridges. Chapter 90 Local Aid will be will revert to its tradition levels after and unusually robust FY2016 as Governor Baker authorized a one-time addition $130 million. The House and Senate have approved $200 million in Chapter 90 funding for FY2017, the same amount as provided in FY2015.
 
Community
 
Full FY2017 Chapter 90 Authorization % Increase over FY2016
 
Arlington $787,461 -39.16%
Belmont $535,089 -39.16%
Cambridge $2,564,541 -39.16%

The Senate will now begin its budget process. Once both budgets have passed a conference committee will resolve the differences between the two bills.

Ratepayer Financing of Natural Gas Infrastructure Letter


As many of you may know, we will soon be debating an omnibus energy bill on Beacon Hill. The bill will come to the floor in the context of much of our old coal, oil and nuclear capacity coming off-line. This capacity will need to be replaced. I believe – as do many experts including the Attorney General’s office – that the major procurement of offshore wind and hydro power from Canada can, along with increased energy efficiency be sufficient to meet our needs. There are many in our state, however, who do favor increased natural gas infrastructure to meet these needs and when legislation comes to the floor we may be asked to compromise. I will, of course, have to study the particulars of whatever proposal has come forward before making my decision. I have joined with many of my colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership, which you can read here. Specifically, the letter asserts that electric ratepayers in the Commonwealth should not pay for natural gas infrastructure projects, particularly given that those proposed are not supported by the market.

MassDOT and MBTA 5-Year Capital Investment Plan


MassDOT & the MBTA have released their Draft Five Year Capital Investment Plan (CIP). This document represents proposed strategic capital investments in roads, bridges, MBTA, Rail and Transit, Aeronautics and RMV Operations. You can access the draft CIP documents here. Under “CIP Documents” at the bottom of the page, click on FY2017 – FY2021 CIP – Draft for Public Review.

MBTA Performance Dashboard


The MBTA has released a new performance dashboard. The interactive site has a number of features and will allow riders to monitor a variety of performance metrics including ridership, whether the MBTA is on budget, and perhaps most usefully whether or not trains and buses are running on schedule.

MBTA Rider Census


The MBTA is currently conducting a system-wide census of its ridership. The census, which takes about 5 minutes to complete. helps the MBTA collect information that plays an important role in planning service and ensuring service is provided fairly. The MBTA will use the data collected in the Rider Census to evaluate current service, to plan future service, and to analyze the potential rider impacts of service or fare change proposals. In addition, the census satisfies a requirement to survey riders every five years about their demographics and trip-making characteristics.

Belmont Light Energy Efficiency Grant Program


Belmont Light operates an energy efficiency grant program that many Belmont residents have taken advantage of to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. You can find out more on the town website.

Belmont Cultural Council Survey


The Belmont Cultural Council is conducting a survey of Belmont residents to get public input about how best distribute its funds. This is a great chance to give some input into what you want out of the arts in Belmont.

Register to Vote


Massachusetts residents can register to vote online. If you are not registered to vote or have family and friend that are yet to do so, be sure to encourage them to to register!

Unclaimed Property


As many as 1 in 10 citizens of the Commonwealth, including many of my constituents, are owners of unclaimed property. Unclaimed property includes savings accounts, checking accounts, unpaid wages or commissions, stocks, underlying shares, uncashed dividends, customer deposits or overpayments, certificates of deposit, credit balances, refunds, money orders, paid-up life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, and uncashed benefit checks, and gift certificates, all of which sat unused and were ultimately taken by the state. If you want to research whether or not you own unclaimed property, you can find out here.

Legislation


I have been using this newsletter as and opportunity to highlight one or more of the bills I have filed each month. I have now run through each of the 26 bills I filed for the 2015/2016 legislative session. As always, you can review all of the bills that I have filed on my website

Community Events

Raise Up Massachusetts Forum


As many of you know, Raise Up Massachusetts is seeking to amend the Massachusetts constitution to establish a "millionaires tax." I strongly support this effort and will work hard to get the issue on the ballot. Raise Up will be hosting a forum at the Middlesex Community College's Bedford campus on Saturday, May 7th beginning at 10:30. There are no silver bullets in public policy, but this ss as big as the opportunities get for the people of Massachusetts to improve the outlook of the future of the Commonwealth. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to attend and get involved in making a fair share millionaire's tax a reality in Massachusetts.

Stand Up Belmont Event


The Stand Up campaign will have its second event in Belmont on Sunday, May 1st from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Assembly Room of the Belmont Public Library's Main Branch.

Belmont Town Meeting


Belmont will be holding a Town Meeting on Monday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at Belmont high school. Belmont will also be holding a special Town Meeting to consider the Minuteman Regional Agreement on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00 p.m. at Chenery Middle School. You can read more about both here.

Mothers Out Front and allies for our Raise a Stink Gas Leaks Campaign kick-off with Cambridge City Council 
 

Massachusetts consumers pay $100 million for lost gas each year for over 20,000 gas leaks across the state. This leaking gas boosts the Commonwealth’s climate changing emissions by 10 percent. Mothers Out Front will be kicking off its Raise a Stink About Gas Leaks campaign outside Cambridge City Hall at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 2nd.

Belmont Town Democratic Committee Meeting


The Belmont Town Democratic Committee will be meeting on Thursday, May 5th in the Selectmen's Room of Town Hall.

Arlington Community Collection Day


Arlington Community Collection Day will be held on Saturday, May 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the DPW lot (51 Grove Street, Arlington). To find out more about what you can drop off, check out the listing for the event on the town website.

Arlington Town Democratic Committee


The Arlington Town Democratic Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:15 p.m. at the Arlington Senior Center.

Sustainable Arlington: The New Economy


Sustainable Arlington will be hosting an event on The New Economy on Thursday, May 19th at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Annex.

Other Events


There are a number of other places to find out about events in your community:

May Office Hours


I will hold office hours at the following times and places during May. I encourage any and all to stop by and speak with me about any concerns or to offer any input you might have.

Tuesday, May 10th from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Beech Street Center in Belmont
(266 Beech Street, Belmont, MA 02478).

Tuesday, May 10th from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kickstand Cafe in Arlington (594 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476)

Friday, May13th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Bruegger’s Bagels in Belmont (41 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02478).

Friday, May 13th from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Fiorella's Express in North Cambridge (2401 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140).

You can also always contact me at any time in my office at 617 722 2013 or at dave.rogers@mahouse.gov.

Local Media


Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge are vibrant communities that sport multiple local news platforms that are worth perusing to learn more about what is going on in your community.

Arlington:
Belmont Cambridge

Social Media


I am glad to have already connected with many of you on Facebook. Due to the limitations on personal Facebook pages, however, I plan to start to do more of my political and community outreach from my political page. Please like my official State Representative page here. You can also follow me on twitter to find out more about my representation of the 24th Middlesex District.

Contact Me


I welcome your input and hope to hear from you on issues of mutual concern. Email: rep.dave.rogers@gmail.com. State House office phone: 617-722-2013. Personal cell phone: 617-817-9395. Website: repdaverogers.com.
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