The Massachusetts Municipal Association‘s alert today tries to focus candidates for office on the broken elements in the state and municipality relationship. Having watched and lived the problems for fourteen years now as a selectman, I agree that all of the ten issues are deserving of repair.
September 11, 2014
MMA ISSUES 10 PARTNERSHIP POLICIES TO BUILD A STRONGER COMMONWEALTH
MMA Urges All Candidates for Governor and the Legislature to Support These Important Policies to Ensure a Powerful and Productive State-Local Partnership
Please Encourage All Candidates Seeking Office to Embrace These 10 Partnership Policies to Invest In and Support Local Government
Local leaders across Massachusetts are committed to working very closely with the Commonwealth’s next Governor and all incoming legislators to deepen and strengthen the partnership between cities and towns and state government, because a powerful state-local partnership is absolutely essential in order for Massachusetts to achieve lasting social and economic progress and prosperity for our communities and residents.
On behalf of the cities and towns of Massachusetts, the MMA has issued 10 Partnership Policies to Build a Stronger Commonwealth, and is asking all of the candidates for Governor and the Legislature to publicly embrace this powerful agenda. These policies cover a wide range of vital issues, reflecting the extraordinary breadth of shared responsibilities that are held by state and local leaders.
The MMA’s 10 Partnership Policies are explained in a special 12-page publication that was posted on the MMA website and mailed to local officials, legislators and the candidates for Governor earlier today. You can download a copy of the MMA’s 10 Partnership Policies to Build a Stronger Commonwealth by clicking here.
Taken together, these 10 Partnership Policies will rebuild a strong and lasting state-local financial relationship, invest in communities for economic development and progress, ensure effective and sustainable government administration, and create a working state-local partnership for the future.
THE 10 PARTNERSHIP POLICIES TO BUILD A STRONGER COMMONWEALTH ARE:
1 – RESTORE REVENUE SHARING. We must build a new and enduring state-local fiscal partnership that shares future state tax revenue growth with cities and towns in order to fund local government services and reduce our overreliance on the property tax.
2 – FIX THE SCHOOL FINANCE LAW. We must update and modernize the Chapter 70 school finance law to ensure that all students have access to high-quality and adequately funded public education programs, and state and local governments share fairly in the cost.
3 – FUND KEY PROGRAMS AND OBLIGATIONS. The state must meet its commitments and obligations to fund essential aid accounts for targeted municipal and school programs, including full funding of all state mandates.
4 – SUPPORT FAIRNESS IN LOCAL TAXATION. We should reform and improve the cumbersome state-local system of property exemptions, abatements and tax relief to ensure that needy taxpayers are protected from an excessive property tax burden, and to provide that local property tax exemptions are only granted where truly warranted.
5 – OPPOSE UNFUNDED MANDATES. State government must fully fund all mandated programs, laws and regulations, and must commit to a process that reviews and identifies the cost of all proposed mandates and regulatory changes prior to their enactment.
6 – INVEST IN ESSENTIAL PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE. State government needs to increase its investment in the “bricks and mortar” underpinnings of our public infrastructure at the local and state level to ensure that we can sustain and expand a modern economy and vibrant communities.
7 – INVEST IN ESSENTIAL PUBLIC TECHNOLOGY. State government needs to invest in public technology at the local and state level to ensure that Massachusetts will be competitive in the modern global economy.
8 – EMPOWER CITIZEN-DRIVEN PLANNING AND ZONING. State government should carefully update the state’s Zoning Act and related laws to provide cities and towns with new authority and flexibility to guide residential and business land use decisions toward local and state goals.
9 – ALLOW CITIES AND TOWNS TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE. State government should recognize that the archaic personnel management and benefit system in Massachusetts imposes burdens on municipal budgets, makes it difficult to attract and retain qualified employees, and is in need of “stem to stern” modernization.
10 – COMMIT TO CONSTANT COMMUNICATION AND DIRECT DIALOGUE. Municipal leaders ask the Governor and Lt. Governor to both attend and actively participate in the Local Government Advisory Commission.
A strong and enduring partnership between cities and towns and state government is essential to a healthy and expanding economy and to the ability of local government to provide world-class education and municipal services, ensure safe streets and neighborhoods, and maintain local roads and vital infrastructure. This partnership is fundamental to our state’s economic success and competitiveness, which is why the MMA is offering these 10 Partnership Policies.
By Working Together, Local and State Leaders Can Build a Strong and Prosperous Future for Massachusetts
Please Encourage All Candidates and Community Residents to Embrace These 10 Partnership Policies to Invest In and Support Local Government