In response to Sen. Jamie Eldridge: AN ACT BEYOND the PROPOSED CLAWBACK BILL

( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

TO: Sen. J. Eldridge (D-Acton)

FR: Dean Cavaretta

DT: March 22, 2011

RE: Please file this bill on my behalf

Jamie:

Below, please find the text of a bill I am formally requesting you file on my behalf as soon as possible. My legislation is in response to your proposed Clawback Bill and comments in your recent newsletter. Far from perfect, my bill moves the debate to much larger issues affecting us all: the viability of our local and state economy in the years ahead.

I salute the effort, but while a stronger clawback law may be warranted to attempt to recoup a portion of the monies you YOURSELF voted to appropriate (to firms like Evergreen Solar), your bill does absolutely nothing to solve the overall fragile business climate in MetroWest, the empty commercial space along the Route 495 Corridor, or help the Commonwealth become a more competitive location for entrepreneurs, relative to other states.

In short, my bill addresses the PROBLEM, your bill addresses the SYMPTOM.

As the old adage goes, “people vote with their feet.”  By that measure, in your nine years in the Legislature, both people (young and old) and businesses (big and small) are fleeing our state and your District.  In this brutal, Great Recession its time for bold action.

Beyond the citizen petition, I welcome you as the lead or co-sponsor on my bill, or however that process works.

Best Regards,

Dean Cavaretta

Acton

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March 2011  (DRAFT LEGISLATION)

Filed by PETITION. For Dean Cavaretta of Acton by request Sen. Eldridge of Acton.

AN ACT BEYOND the PROPOSED CLAWBACK BILL: MAKING MASSACHUSETTS COMPETITIVE FOR NEW JOBS AND PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS.

Part One

The General Court shall hereby repeal relevant sections of M.G.L. in order to phase out incrementally or eliminate immediately all taxpayer subsidies, credits or allowances appropriated to corporations, in excess of an annual dollar amount determined by and at the discretion of the Speaker, Senate President, Governor, or the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development in all relevant programs associated with Massachusetts Economic Development.

This Act would include, but not be limited to taxpayer funded subsidies, credits or allowances originating from legislation or programs sponsored by:

1. The Legislature

2. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

3. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

OR

4. Any other executive department involved with Smart Growth and Sustainable Energy initiatives where taxpayer dollars are expended to corporations or small businesses.

Part Two

The General Court shall hereby amend relevant sections of M.G.L. to enact in this current fiscal year, or phased in over the next three fiscal years, ONE, A COMBINATION or ALL four of the following tax and regulatory proposals necessary to make the Commonwealth’s business climate conducive to economic growth and job creation, while motivating companies and small business employers (S Corporations) to remain in our state:

A. Lower the state’s personal income tax to 5%

and/or

B. Lower the state’s sales tax from 6.25% to 5%

and/or

C. Lower the state’s corporate tax rate to 5%

Additionally, the General Court shall at the time of this bill’s enactment –

D. Freeze all business regulations administered or managed by the Executive Branch or Independent Authorities as defined by statute in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a period of 36 months, to foster predictability for in-state employers.

Part Three

This Act shall be implemented by the General Court in one to three years, using a pay as you go method (PAYGO), from operating budget savings associated with eliminating the above referenced subsidies, tax credits, or allowances in Part 1, monies recuperated from any separate Clawback legislation enacted, and additional budget reductions offered in companion legislation authored by the Governor, Legislature, Speaker, Senate President, Chairmen of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, or Secretary of Administration and Finance REQUIRED to adhere to Part 2’s PAYGO provision.  

(See addendum below for companion legislation recommendations)

The following policy proposals are presented to you Senator as policy suggestions for separate legislation required to keep the tax decreases and regulatory proposals in Part 2 of this Act budget neutral, as determined by the Joint Ways and Means Committee, Secretary of Administration and Finance or their designees:

A. Starting in this fiscal year, direct the Treasurer and Receiver General to begin the process of moving ALL state employees employed by the Commonwealth, hired AFTER January 1, 2012 out of a defined benefit plan for State Retirement and into a 401K style plan, mirroring the vast majority of retirement and benefit plans in the private sector.  State elected officials, as defined by the state Constitution, are to depart the State Retirement System first in the current fiscal year. The General Court shall repeal or re-negotiate any Collective Bargaining Agreement(s) now in effect to implement this proposal.  

If necessary, the Governor is urged to declare a fiscal state of emergency and suspend any contract necessary to avoid a looming financial meltdown in the U.S. Bond Market.

A1. The General Court shall cap all state public pensions before SFY 2012 at $125,000 annually. The General Court shall cap all state public pensions after SFY 2012 at $95,000 annually.

A2.  Governor Patrick’s current pension bill should be adopted, but with a much more faster and aggressive raising of the state retirement age.  ALL new state and local workers should retire at 62 if hired after January 1, 2012. No exceptions except military, police and fire for cause.  

B. The Legislature shall propose and pass by majority vote immediately a new local option law allowing any municipality in the Commonwealth to join the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) without local union approval.

C. The General Court shall adopt a 2 year state fiscal budget to assist city/town municipalities with local forecasting that too often must guess or project as to the actual level of Local Aid and Lottery proceeds appropriated in any one year.

D. A Bi-Partisan Commission created by the Governor and Legislature is hereby established in this ACT to identify closing other ‘corporate loopholes’ not referred to in Part 1 of the ACT to facilitate the tax reductions and regulatory freezes necessary for economic growth and private sector job creation.  The Commission, by charter, is to define ‘corporate loophole’ and be approved by the Governor and Legislature.

E.  Institute a state employee hiring freeze until SFY 2015 and included in that freeze is any new net consultant contract where the Commonwealth is the client and must spend additional monies in the state’s budget to secure said services.

F. Require proof of legal residence for all state benefits. Proposal to be phased in and starting in SFY 2013 as a deadline for commencement, to be in full effect by the end of 2015.

G. The General Court shall verify financial need, by using traditional federal government guidelines, for state benefit eligibility in any current health/welfare/social program not means tested already, as determined by the referenced Commission in Proposal D.  

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