Tax Credit Transparency (OS): This amendment would require public disclosure of the results of refundable or transferable tax credit programs, including the identity of the corporation receiving the credit and data relevant to analyzing the effectiveness of the tax credit program. This measure would provide us with the information we need to be good stewards of the public’s money, and provide a measure of accountability as to the cost effectiveness of tax credits. This would be applied prospectively for all tax credits issued after January 2011.
ADDP Brain Injury Services (4120-6000): This line item funds critical support services to 1200 individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury as the result of an accident, serious fall, or an act of violence. These individuals are served by community providers funded through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission; funding for these services allows individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury to live safely in the least restrictive environment possible. This amendment would restore approximately $1.9 million dollars to this line item.
Bullying Bill Implementation (7010-0005): This amendment would allocate $100,000 to help implement training provisions in the bullying prevention bill recently passed by the Legislature. In particular, this funding would be allocated for the purposes of offering a no-cost method to schools and districts for professional development to build the skills of all staff members to prevent, identify and respond to bullying.
LGBT Aging (9110-9002): LGBT seniors face unique challenges as they age, including health care and elder service providers who do not know how to deal with the particular needs of this population. As a result, many seniors end up going “back into the closet” when they move to nursing homes or assisted living facilities, for fear of discrimination or harassment. This no-cost amendment would make it clear that some portion of funding for grants on councils on aging needs to be expended to provide much-needed training for service providers and outreach to LGBT elders and caregivers.
Educational Grant Rewards Program (7002-1084): This program was established as part of the 2006 Economic Stimulus bill to encourage and aid low-income students, especially part-time students, seeking education leading to jobs in high-demand occupations. Students receive grants – which can be used for tuition, fees, and books for degree and certificate programs – to help them transition into high-demand fields, including healthcare, engineering, computer specialists, construction/production; life science technician; administrative support; and personal care and service. This amendment would allocate $500,000 to keep the Educational Grant Rewards Program alive.
RAFT (7004-9316): Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) is a homelessness prevention program administered by DHCD that provides flexible funds to help low income families facing a temporary financial crisis (job loss, health problems) remain in their own homes. In the long run, RAFT can help save the state money it would otherwise spend on homeless shelters. This amendment would add $1.5 million to this line item.
Individual Development Account Program (7004-9317): Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are one tool to expand the asset-building system that has served America’s middle and upper classes so well. IDAs help to create an inclusive, universal system that enables more Americans to save, invest, and contribute to their communities’ and the nation’s economic growth. The entire process of family development, community building, and neighborhood revitalization begins with low-income people themselves – it is their investments in themselves that help trigger all other investments. This amendment would fund the line item 7004-9317 at $200,000.
Mass Rehab Extended Employment Supports (4120-3000): The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission provides long term employment supports to individuals who have significant disabilities that might prevent them from succeeding in competitive employment. Extended employment support is an industry best practice that enables people with disabilities to find solutions to obstacles they face on the job. This amendment will restore approximately $1.5 million to this line item, the level it was funded in FY10. Without this funding, approximately 650 people with significant disabilities will either never have the opportunity to work or will be unable to retain their employment because the supports they need cannot be funded.
District Local Technical Assistance (OS): District Local Technical Assistance Funds are distributed among the state’s 13 regional planning agencies (RPAs) to provide the Commonwealth’s cities and towns with technical assistance to help move municipalities forward in the Commonwealth’s key initiatives, including regional collaboration, promoting economic development & best practices in zoning, and protecting the environment. This funding is essential to assist cities and towns regionalize services. This amendment would fund DLTA at $2.8 million.
DEP Safe Drinking Water Act Compliance (2250-2000): This line item helps support the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act by training water suppliers on how to comply with the federal regulations and supporting efforts to safeguard the quality and quantity of drinking water. Local water suppliers pay an assessment fee every year that is intended to go towards this program, and the federal government provides a match for the state dollars. This amendment would add approximately $100,000 to this line item to restore funding to a level consistent with the amount of revenue that the state collects from the annual assessment on public water suppliers that is intended to be used to fund public drinking water programs.
Corporate Political Activity(OS): This amendment, which is intended to begin to address the problems created by the Citzens United Supreme Court case, would subject corporate sponsored political advertising to the same disclosure laws that apply to other political spending and require CEO’s to appear in the ads they pay for and tell the public that they “approved this message.”
Expanded Bottle Bill (OS): This amendment would expand the bottle bill to include bottled water, juice bottles, teas and energy drinks. In addition to increasing recycling rates and reducing litter, it is estimated to provide $20 million in new revenue for the Commonwealth in uncollected deposit fees.
Other Tobacco Products Tax (OS): This amendment will protect and improve the health of children in Massachusetts as well as raise $10 to $15 million dollars in revenue by closing tax loopholes for tobacco products like small cigars, chewing tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco. The amendment would tax these products at a rate equal to the tax on cigarettes. Tobacco companies often use a combination of lower prices and aggressive marketing campaigns to push these products into the hands of children and their use among younger consumers is growing. There is evidence that raising the cost of these products by a small amount would dramatically reduce their use amongst teenagers saving the Commonwealth millions in medical expenses down the road.
Prison Mitigation Funding(8900-000): This amendment will restore approximately $1 million for mitigation payments to communities that host prisons, as is the case with Shirley in the Middlesex & Worcester district.