Weekly Political Report – Week Ending May 13, 2011

Week Ending May 13, 2011

Senate President Murray calls FY2012 toughest year for budget

Following last week’s announcement of the budget timeline, Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said this week that the FY2012 budget will be the “toughest budget” since the recession began.  The Senate budget bill is expected to be released next week on Wednesday, May 18th and amendments will be due by noon on Friday, May 20th. Floor debate will then begin on Wednesday, May 25th. During her remarks, Senate President Murray stated that despite tax collection figures in April that were $587 million above benchmarks, 2011 tax collections cannot be spent in FY2012. Murray said that the Senate version of the budget to be released next week will attempt to close a $1.8 billion gap between revenues and expected spending. Last month the House approved their own version of the $30.51 billion budget bill, which contained cuts across almost all line items.


Newton Mayor announces his candidacy for US Senate

Setti Warren, the current Mayor of Newton and a former aide to John Kerry announced his candidacy to run against Sen. Scott Brown in the 2012 election for US Senate. Warren was the first African American Mayor elected in Massachusetts, when he was elected Mayor in 2009. He is the third Democrat to announce his intention to run against Brown; he joins City Year co-founder Alan Khazei (who lost in the Democratic primary for the United States Senate to Attorney General Martha Coakley last year), and 1994 Lt. Governor candidate Robert Massie. Most recent polls have shown Brown with a significant lead over potential Democratic opponents for the 2012 election. In a Suffolk/7NEWS poll from April, 55% of voters believe Brown deserves to be re-elected. Brown presently has $8.3 million in his campaign account. The Democratic primary is scheduled for September 18, 2012.

House and Senate pass $85 million in Emergency Supplemental Budget

Both the House and Senate this week passed an $85 million supplemental budget bill to fund end-of-year spending deficits. The bill includes $42.2 million for Public Counsel Services, $3.3 million for snow and ice removal and $15 million for case-load driven account such as transitional assistance. The Senate version also includes $25 million to fund an underground storage tank removal program in the state. Senate Ways and Means Chair Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) said that he did not expect any additional deficit spending during FY2011.

Court Management Bill Passes Unanimously in the House

HB 3395 would reorganize the Massachusetts Trial Court and aims to reform the Probation Department following a Boston Globe series on alleged corruption. HB 3395 passed the House by a vote 152-0 on Wednesday.  The bill, which had an expedited hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary last week, did not include the Governor’s proposal to merge the probation department into an agency within the executive branch. The Senate President has generally been supportive of the reorganization of the Trial Court; the Senate is expected to take up the bill next week.

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301

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