Monday, May 10, 2010

Sen. Tisei's Statement on Municipal Relief Bill

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s proposed Municipal Relief Bill, which was released today and is scheduled for debate on May 13:

“With local aid being cut and the economy continuing to stall, cities and towns across the Commonwealth are struggling to balance their budgets and preserve essential municipal services. Unfortunately, communities are going to be very disappointed because they won’t find much relief in the proposal the Senate released today.

The municipal relief bill somehow has morphed into a statewide pension reform proposal and now does very little to actually help cities and towns, which I thought was the whole purpose behind municipal relief. But what really stands out is what is not included in the bill. The fact that there are no provisions in this bill to address rising municipal health care costs says all you need to know about how much this proposal falls short of its stated goal. If we are serious about providing true budgetary relief to cities and towns, how can we ignore one of the biggest cost factors responsible for driving up municipal spending?

Mayors and local officials have been pleading with the Governor and the Legislature to give them the power to design their own health plans, essentially the same tool state government has been using to keep its health care costs manageable.

The time for talk is over and the time to take decisive action on municipal health care spending is now. The Senate Republican Caucus plans to address rising health care costs and other issues when the bill is debated on Thursday, with the goal of providing both immediate and long-term fiscal relief to our cities and towns.”