February 13, 2014
Boston – Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) voted today to pass a supplemental budget providing $196.4 million in midyear spending. The budget will fund outstanding snow and ice removal costs and ongoing deficiencies in the emergency assistance system, among others. The Supplemental Budget passed unanimously in the Senate. A conference committee will now be appointed to resolve differences between the bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“This funding is important to support several programs and services that Massachusetts residents rely upon,” said Senator Ross. “I am disappointed that the level of local aid that my colleagues in the Republican Caucus and I advocated for was not included in the final legislation. It is imperative that we do all we can to provide our municipalities with the tools and resources they need to operate well and efficiently.”
Senator Ross filed an amendment to the supplemental budget requiring that funding appropriated for Governor Deval Patrick’s office be withheld until such time as he released the remaining $100 million in Chapter 90 funding to the cities and towns. He spoke of the importance of Chapter 90 funding to municipalities, and of the need to provide municipalities with the level of funding agreed to by the Legislature. Senator Ross was also a co-sponsor of an amendment, filed by Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) calling for an increase of $20 million in unrestricted local aid. Senator Ross was disappointed to see both of these amendments rejected by the Senate.
In light of the failure of the Health Connector’s enrollment website, Senator Ross filed an amendment calling for a review of the financial impact, including an assessment of the costs expended by the Commonwealth to provide temporary coverage. Unfortunately, this amendment did not pass. Senator Ross co-sponsored an amendment filed by Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield) that would require the Board of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector to file a monthly report on the website’s status, including the level of functionality and progress toward specified milestones. This amendment was adopted by the Senate.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.