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  • Massachusetts State House

    Massachusetts State House

  • Senator Richard J. Ross

    Senator Richard J. Ross

Senator Ross in the News

Senator Ross in the News

Read about Senator Ross in the news and view press releases on legislation, upcoming events and community updates.
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Inside the State House

Inside the State House

Read about legislation that Senator Ross has sponsored and view upcoming events taking place at the State House.
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Senator Ross on the Go

Senator Ross on the Go

View photos of Senator Ross at the State House and at events throughout the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District.
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Voteross.org

Voteross.org

Looking for Senator Richard Ross’ campaign website? Click the link below to visit and learn more about Senator Ross on the campaign trail.
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Hello Friends,

Welcome to my State Senate website! Here you will find legislative and local updates, important state resources, and information on the ways that my office may be able to assist you. It is a true honor to represent the residents of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex district in the Massachusetts Senate. I encourage you to keep me informed of the issues that are most important to you, and to sign up for my newsletter to receive periodic updates from my Senate office.

 

Sincerely,

Richard J. Ross Signature

Richard J. Ross

State Senator

Ongoing Reforms at the MBTA

August 11, 2016

By Senator Richard J. Ross

Over a year ago I expressed concerns with the unstable finances of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Since then, I joined Senate Republicans in filing an amendment to the FY16 budget, which led to the creation of the Fiscal Management Control Board (FMCB). The amendment proposed that the board would provide strict oversight of the beleaguered agency.

Shortly after it was formed, the FMCB conducted a review of the major problems the MBTA was facing. From that review we learned that the T has an unsustainable operating budget while not preserving its core system and struggling to get projects completed. Not only did they have frequent leadership changes, but they also were found to have weak workplace protocols and lacked customer focus. The most significant finding was that the MBTA was not underfunded, but simply lacked the management and direction needed to effect serious reforms.

Fortunately, the Commonwealth endured a calm winter this year, and the MBTA had little to no operating issues caused by recent harsh weather conditions. However, over the past year, the MBTA has been weathering its own storm. As the agency’s FMCB finished its first year since it was enacted in 2015, we now have a clear understanding of the extent of reform necessary to transform this part of our transportation system.

The Commonwealth has been throwing money into a beast that cannot contain itself. The MBTA has been given various resources and opportunities to get back on track from state contracts to a well-rounded capital budget. The system has had the funding and resources, but has never been able to take advantage of them sufficiently.

With a flat lined operating budget the T required no additional funding increases for FY 16. But due to no increase in ridership, the T has yet again turned to a fare increase to make ends meet. Recently, the Legislature passed an amendment that would prohibit MBTA fares from being increased more than once within a two year period as well as being increased more than 7 percent during a two year period. I supported this amendment because I believe the T should not depend on its consumers to be the solution to the issue. The legislation also provides flexibility to the MBTA, rather than have the agency returning to the legislature with new requests.

New findings show that the T’s money management process contains serious risks. In a recent consultant’s review, it was discovered that the MBTA’s cash handling procedures were not secure. Doors to the money room where the facility handles nearly $200 million per year were found not alarmed or access controlled – a flaw that the system cannot be willing to risk or ignore under current circumstances.

Another major concern the MBTA is facing is the mismanagement and severe underproduction of its pension system. The system loses $89 million a year in assets. The public records bill that I supported made T records public, including details of their disappointing pension fund. After management’s frequently failed reforms, Governor Baker recommends it be managed by the state’s PRIM system this January.

Governor Baker’s administration has done a great job when it comes to turning these problems into solutions and giving the MBTA the momentum it needs. They have pushed the T to use state contracts to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of goods and services at lower costs. The administration also helped them save money in areas such as supporting the suspension of the Green Line Extension for its redesign, cutting off hundreds of unused wireless devices, and encouraging a digital advertising program to boost revenue.

We can only hope to have another mild winter, but this year we need to fully prepare for it. The T expects to double the funds spent on signals, switches, and tracks that are long overdue for replacement. With a focus on operating expenses and performance, any savings need to be invested into its infrastructure and construction so that we can see more projects on time and on budget.

It is clear that the MBTA will have to undergo substantial changes. With the T’s rising operating expense and plateaued ridership, I hope to see changes in the administrative processes, money management, the pension system, infrastructure and various other problematic issues setting back our transit authority. The hardworking citizens of Massachusetts deserve a reliable, sustainable and consistent transportation system and it is time we follow through with that promise.

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Small Business Spotlight: Simon’s Furniture, Franklin

Small Business Spotlight: Simon’s Furniture, Franklin

August 8, 2016

Pictured from left to right: myself, Jared Simon, Kirk Simon

I had the pleasure of meeting with both Kirk and Jared Simon, the father-son duo of Simon’s Furniture in Franklin. Originally named Simon and Sons, Inc., Kirk’s grandfather started the company in 1911. Since then, five generations of the Simon family have upheld the company’s promise to focus on high quality furniture with an affordable price.

In 1993, the company relocated to their current location in Franklin where they constructed a new addition to the business. The Simons employ about 20 employees and hold high standards when it comes to exceptional customer service. Simon’s Furniture also takes great pride in the fact that 85% of the furniture they sell is made in America.

Simon’s Furniture is a great place to purchase quality home furnishings with incomparable personal service, and I would recommend anyone in the area to visit their store.

For more information, please visit http://www.simonfurniture.com/.

Simons Furniture 2

Small Business Spotlight: Robert Matson, Chartered Financial Consultant of Millis

Small Business Spotlight: Robert Matson, Chartered Financial Consultant of Millis

 August 1, 2016

Robert Matson 2

I stopped by the office of Robert Matson, a Chartered Financial Consultant to talk to him more about his small business, specializing in financial services. Starting out in the field in 1981, Bob started his own financial services practice in 1988 and currently holds an office in Millis. He serves individual and business clients in the areas of retirement, estate and insurance planning and enjoys the gratification of assisting with the pursuit of client’s financial goals and objectives.

Robert Matson 1

Bob is a Registered Investment Provider, Registered Securities Principal and Licensed Insurance Adviser for the Commonwealth. In 2010, he was recognized by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils as an Accredited Estate Planner. If you or a family member is in need of assistance with financial planning, I urge you to call Bob, as his experience and involvement in this field is incomparable. 

For more information, please call Bob’s office at 508-376-2009