Legislature fails to act on Romney's Bill to Cut Chapter 70 and Higher Education Funding
The Legislature failed to act today on Gov. Mitt Romney's bill (H2000) that would permit him to slash Chapter 70 -- state aid to local school districts -- and higher education.
Members of the House of Representatives met in Republican and Democratic caucuses to discuss the proposed legislation. There was no consensus in the three-hour Democratic caucus, though Speaker Tom Finneran indicated his support for bill. Finneran agreed to ask the governor for more details on what he will cut if the Legislature cedes him the power to slash local aid.
It is important that all representatives and senators understand how harmful these cuts will be to the students of the Commonwealth. Legislators need to hear that there are alternatives to making these cuts. The debate should not just be around whether the governor's power should be expanded. It must focus on the options that are available to avoid harmful reductions in spending.
In the short term, there is still money in the Rainy Day Fund, and there are other reserves that should be examined before the cuts are made. Borrowing is another option that should be considered before the state rushes to make cuts to our schools, our colleges and the University. These cuts will erode the progress that has been made in public education.
Although the Senate has not met in caucus, new Senate President Robert Travaglini declared his support for the bill during the afternoon. However, other senators expressed concern.
While no date has been set for a vote on H2000, it is likely to be brought up for consideration this week.
At a press conference late in the day, Romney admitted that he would break his campaign promise of not protecting "core services" from cuts because of the budget shortfall. Romney is still refusing to discuss increasing revenues.
Time Is Short
Please contact your representative and senator. Urge them to reject H2000 and support the consideration of revenue options that will prevent disastrous cuts to public education. Call 617-722-2000 or e-mail your representative and senator today (using the form below).