On the eve of the Massachusetts State Senate’s debate of a
Senate Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal to Fiscal Year 2014 that had
garnered over 700 amendments, the Senate Republican Caucus have filed several
amendments that would put controls and cuts on taxes, raise revenue without
raising taxes, and promote responsible spending measures and fiscal discipline.
laudable efforts of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to level fund or
reduce the funding for more than 300 line items, the overall cost of the budget
now before us represents a 4.4% increase for Fiscal Year 2014 over the current
year. Given the uncertainty of the
continuing economic recovery and the proposed $350 million withdrawal from the
stabilization fund, we need to exhaust every option to save money, capture
efficiencies, boost economic growth and generate revenue that doesn’t come from
the committee’s budget proposal does not offer meaningful reforms to public
subsidy and government welfare programs that are wracked with fraud and
Seeking to provide
safeguards on such precious and needed programs, the Senate Republican Caucus
offered several amendments aimed to achieve that goal.
Those amendments include:
Amendment #76 would allow the
Attorney General to seek recovery of any previously issued public assistance
benefits from a recipient convicted under state or federal law for the use of a
weapon of mass destruction, with the recovered money going to benefit the
victims of the acts of terror.
Amendment #549 would require all
future EBT cards issued by the Department of Transitional Assistance to include
the fraud detection phone number and web address.
Amendment #573 would authorize the
Department of Transitional Assistance to terminate the benefits of recipients
of welfare benefits if their mailing address becomes unknown.
The amendment would also prohibit the
Department of Transitional Assistance to continue using numerical placeholders
instead of valid social security numbers for a prolonged period of time.
Amendment #583 requires the nearly
operational Integrated Eligibility System (IES) maintained by the Executive
Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to cross-check social security
numbers of applicants from state and federal data sources and to track
eligibility of public subsidies.
of public assistance provides needed help to those in difficult economic
circumstances, and we need to ensure that every dollar we allocate to that
purpose gets to them, rather than being consumed by any waste, fraud or abuse.
amendments filed by the Senate Republican Caucus include cuts to the budget,
jobs creation incentives, meaningful reforms to higher education funding, and
revenue gains provided by online gaming.
Some of those proposals include:
Amendment #157 creates a job
incentive tax credit eligible to companies that increase their net employment
figures in the Commonwealth.
Amendment #143 would require certain
government agencies, departments, and offices to reduce its spending by 1% for
Fiscal Year 2014.
Amendment #330 would provide tuition
and fee waivers for Massachusetts veterans and active duty service members who
are permanent and legal residents of the Commonwealth.
Amendment #346 level funds several public
university and state schools line items and places the FY14 budget proposal
increases to be placed in a special fund to be distributed on merit based
measures such as graduation rates, improved operation efficiencies, and
increased academic successes.
Amendment #123 would create 4 online
gaming licenses to be made available to the 3 fully licensed casinos and the
single slot parlor, and tax online gaming revenue at a rate of 20%, placing
Massachusetts in the forefront of an evolving industry.
The amendments filed by the Senate
Republican Caucus are part of an initiative to make government more efficient.
If you would like to read the actual text of these
amendments and the amendments filed by all the members of the Senate, please