July 1, 2014
Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross joined with the Senate in approving the Conference Committee’s state budget recommendation for the Fiscal Year 2015 yesterday. As one of the six members of the conference committee, and the Ranking Republican Member on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senator Ross worked to broker a compromise between both the Senate and the House versions of the appropriation legislation. The House of Representatives also voted to pass the Conference Committee budget this week.
“This budget is not perfect, but we as legislators came to a compromise on what we felt necessary for the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross. “My main goals with this budget were to contain spending and not raise taxes, but bring back assistance to the communities of my district through local aid, chapter 70 education reimbursement, and programs that will benefit the hardworking taxpayers.”
Despite voting for the $36.5 billion budget, Senator Ross voiced concerns regarding gaming revenues that are subject to a popular vote this coming November. Though Ross voted in support of the overall bill, he offered a note of caution, saying “a prudent, sustainable budget should always be the focus of my colleagues as it is mine. There are many great aspects to this budget, especially protecting important programs and services, and returning precious tax dollars to our communities, but we cannot neglect fiscal discipline as we move forward,” said Senator Ross.
Senator Ross was pleased to see a number of local initiatives he had fought hard to pass incorporated into the budget, including:
- $250,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County, which serves children in the greater Attleboro area
- $50,000 for the World War II Memorial Pool in North Attleboro
- $50,000 for athletic fields in Millis
- $60,000 for improvements to school safety zones in Franklin
- $30,000 for the Veterans’ Oral History Project at the Morse Institute Library in Natick
- $350,000 for aquatic invasive species control in Lake Cochituate in Natick
- A provision that would add the Lake Cochituate Head house (also known as the Gate House) in Wayland to DCR’s Historic Curatorship list. This would allow the Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee to enter into a public-private partnership in order to rehabilitate, manage and maintain the Gate House.
- A provision that will ensure that Plainville is included in the payments made by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to cities and towns
- A provision that would require the MBTA to preserve weekend service on the Needham line on Saturdays (between Needham Heights and South Station)
The budget also includes the creation of the Healthy Relationships Grant program, which will allow for innovative programs to address and prevent dating violence among Massachusetts teenagers. This program was brought to Senator Ross’s attention by Malcolm Astley of Wayland and Mary Dunne of Weston, founders of the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund and parents of Lauren Astley.
The budget will now be sent to Governor Deval Patrick for approval. The Governor has 10 days to look it over.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.