GOP Reps Statements on Budget Votes

GOP representatives have taken to social media to opine on why they voted the way they did on the budget.  Here are a representative sample.

Brad Jones Statement from his Blog

While if left to the devices of House Republicans, the budget passed by the House of Representatives would certainly have some different priorities, the fiscal plan advanced by the Legislature, and free from tax increases, represents an increased level of commitment to Massachusetts taxpayers and communities.

Both the Fiscal Year 2015 budget that passed the House and the debate surrounding it affirms the Republican Caucus’ unwavering dedication to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns. Through thoughtful, targeted, and aggressive amendments, the spending plan reflects the necessity of providing municipalities with the appropriate amount of funding and legislative support.

Paramount in this year’s budget debate was the taxpayer. By embracing a Republican-led amendment to offer tax amnesty to individuals and businesses that are delinquent in their payments to the Department of Revenue, not only will taxpayers have an opportunity to avoid burdensome penalties, but Massachusetts is now in a position to collect overdue tax liabilities which might otherwise have been forgone.

Also given due attention in this year’s fiscal proposal was the ongoing and widespread drug epidemic facing the state. Initiatives offered by Republican legislators, and adopted by the House, aimed at substance abuse prevention and treatment, as well as funding for opioid overdose prevention and education demonstrate the Legislature’s eagerness to combat in smart and effective ways drug abuse and addiction within the Commonwealth.

I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, and remain optimistic in their ability to build upon the recommendations of the House of Representatives.

Here’s Jim Lyons Response via Facebook:

According to State House News, Minority Leader Brad Jones stated: “‘While if left to the devices of House Republicans, the budget passed by the House of Representatives would certainly have some different priorities, the fiscal plan advanced by the Legislature, and free from tax increases, represents an increased level of commitment to Massachusetts taxpayers and communities,’ the North Reading Republican said in a statement.”

The problem with this argument is that this year’s budget was built on tax increases put in place last year, a budget that all Republicans voted against. This type of tortured logic by the Minority Leader is why we are a state with out of control spending and one of the highest per capita debt loads in the country. We must change Beacon Hill in 2014

More after the jump…

Keiko Orrall:

My colleagues Shaunna O’Connell, Geoff Diehl, Leah Cole, Peter Durant, Kevin Kuros, Ryan Fattman, Nicholas Boldyga, Shawn Dooley, as well as Brad Jones and others supported this budget. We all have our reasons, but my main reason was because it did not include new tax increases. In addition, I had no one contact me prior to the vote asking me to oppose it.

Kevin Kuros

Let me offer some input, as I voted for the budget last night. Just one man’s opinion and not speaking for anyone else.

We were all outraged when the budget order came down a few weeks ago and we were prohibited from submitting amendments on unrestricted local aid, Chapter 70 funding and welfare reform. So rather than just bitch about NOT being able to help local aid, I asked my finance director to provide a list of OTHER municipal accounts that the state funds that were NOT subject to the gag order. I ended up submitting 9 or 10 amendments to try to increase those other municipal line items by 5%, rationalizing that any increase in other line items lessens the demands on unrestricted local aid and Ch 70.

I also filed two outside section (policy) amendments. One was to form a commission to investigate the impact of a potential tax credit for medical device manufacturers to offset the 2.3% tax they pay as a result of Obamacare. A potential credit would solidify the 100K jobs in MA in the industry, and possibly act as a magnet for additional investment by Med Device Co’s. You might ask why not just file for the tax credit directly, but we all know that that amendment would have been sent to a further study which would never happen, I chose to recommend a study first so that that argument cannot be used next year when I file the tax credit bill.

The second outside section amendment I filed would require Obamacare navigators in the state to have CORI checks. Navigators help people understand the coverage plans and options and navigate the connector website, etc and have access to sensitive information like SS#’s, income information, addresses, etc. all things an identity thief would want. 16 other states have regulations addressing Navigators. We did not.

Both of my outside section amendments were adopted.

Four of the 9 or 10 municipal aid line items I tried to amend upward WERE increased, albeit not by the full 5% that I requested, but by some.

So at the end of the day I voted to support the budget. There is a good chance that some of the items I advocated for will become conferencable items when the Senate completes its budget. Do I want to shove a stick in the eyes of the House conference committee members after they gave me 6 of my amendments? How hard will they argue to keep my stuff in there if they agreed to work with me on my amendments and I then turn around and vote against the budget?

The budget was going to pass whether there were 2 R votes against it, 3, or 29. For me, the downside of voting against it outweighed the upside. I have staunchly advocated for local aid since before I was even first elected. Four local aid items I supported were amended upward. I have advocated for a more attractive business environment forever. A pro-business amendment I offered was adopted. And I offered a common sense amendment that will help protect thousands of people who use an ACA navigator’s services, and the amendment was adopted.

It truly does bother me that this budget is $6B (or 20%) higher than the budget the Class of 2010 inherited. And yes most of that increased spending is not in areas where I’d direct it if I could wave a magic wand. But the answer is to add more Republicans, not to give up trying. One of the hotly contested amendments offered by Rep Lyons or Lombardo had nearly 50 votes. Add another 10-15 Republicans and more of the D’s in the middle will feel empowered to vote their conscience.

Lenny Mirra

I can only speak for myself, but I voted for it for two reasons. 1. No tax increases. 2. We put money towards our unfunded pensions, which are a ticking time bomb. Keep in mind that nobody gets everything they want in a budget, especially a Republican in MA.

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno