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CLT UPDATE
Sunday, April 29, 2018

House passes $41 Billion budget another $1B annual spending increase


Ever wonder how many of those clamoring for a “millionaires tax” in Massachusetts are themselves willing to pay a few more bucks as their “fair share”?

The answer is, practically none — less than one-twentieth of one percent of Massachusetts taxpayers are voluntarily paying more for … the children … or the infrastructure … or something.

I know this because of that special box on state income tax forms. Checking this box allows the millions of Social Justice Warriors here in Massachusetts to reject paying the 5.1 percent rate favored by evil deplorables, irredeemables, bitter clingers and other assorted Trump voters.

How satisfying it must be for the “woke” among us to virtue-signal by voluntarily paying at the old Dukakis-era rate of 5.85 percent!

Considering recent election returns here, not to mention postings on social media, one would expect that at least two-thirds of the state’s filers would eagerly part with more of their hard-earned wages — er, strike that, Your Honor — I meant to say, the dividends from their trust funds or, if they’re illegal immigrants, their welfare handouts.

Surely these Democrats who endlessly talk the CNN/MSNBC talk would gladly walk the walk.

Actually no, they would not.

According to the state Department of Revenue’s most recent numbers, as of March 31, 2,027,928 income tax returns had been filed in the state and 894 taxpayers had opted to pay at Dukakis’ old 5.85 percent rate.

The added state revenue from those 894 generous souls came to, drumroll please, $121,361.

The Boston Herald
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Those who push ‘millionaires tax’ don’t volunteer extra funds on state forms
By Howie Carr


A new group made up largely of organized labor has formed to oppose a proposed ballot question that would reduce the state sales tax by 20 percent, further solidifying the campaign as one pitting unions against Bay State retailers.

The Save Our Pubic Services Committee warned that reducing the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent would eliminate $1.25 billion in annual tax revenues collected by the state, jeopardizing funding for local schools, health programs and roads.

"If the sales tax cut passes, communities will be forced to lay off teachers, police officers, and firefighters. Mental health and addiction treatment programs will close, spending on parks and environmental protection will be cut, and important road and transit construction projects will be delayed for years," said Deb Fastino, executive director of the Coalition for Social Justice, in a statement.

The opposition committee was founded by 1199SEIU, A Better City, AFSCME Council 93, American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts, Boston Teachers Union, Coalition for Social Justice, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Mass. AFL-CIO, Massachusetts Communities Action Network, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, Transportation for Massachusetts, SEIU Local 509, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445....

The ballot question has been pitched by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

In addition to competition from online sellers, RAM President Jon Hurst has said small business owners faced added pressure from the state's earned sick time law and other questions moving toward the ballot to increase the minimum wage to $15 and institute a paid family and medical leave program.

The sales tax cut question, according to Hurst, is a response to multiple policy changes in the offing that could negatively impact retailers.

"Our members, small and large basically need two things to be successful: 1. Higher sales; and 2. Lower costs," Hurst wrote in a recent email to major state business groups and chambers of commerce. "And given a combination of increased competition coupled with an aggressive public policy agenda driven largely by unionized interests those two objectives are increasingly harder to obtain."

Hurst, in the March 19 email obtained by the News Service, described the decision to go to the ballot as "taking some pages out of the opposition’s playbook."

"We don’t take this effort lightly, and have only taken this extraordinary step to protect our members from government imposed discriminatory policies, and the costly, anti-small business agendas put forward by certain special interest labor groups," Hurst wrote.

State House News Service
Monday, April 23, 2018
Sales tax cut will force layoffs and service cuts, new oppo group says


The House rejected a pair of major tax cuts on Monday, including one that may be headed for this year's ballot.

Without debate or opposition, the House voted against proposals by Billerica Republican Rep. Marc Lombardo to reduce the sales tax (108) and income tax rates (109) to 5 percent.

Currently at 5.1 percent, the income tax remains on track to eventually fall to 5 percent - the level voters approved in 2000 - if the state hits economic triggers.

Retailers are pushing a ballot question this year to reduce the sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 5 percent and establish an annual sales tax holiday. The Legislature in 2009 raised the sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent.

Before the tax votes, Boston Democrat Rep. Angelo Scaccia also pulled back the curtain on the House's private budget deliberations, saying there was not enough money available in the budget to fund various priorities as he argued unsuccessfully to curb or eliminate the film tax credit.

State House News Service
Monday, April 23, 2018
House rejects major reductions in income, sales taxes


The Massachusetts House on Wednesday approved legislation doing away with a restriction that prohibits families from receiving an extra $100 per-month cash assistance for a baby conceived while the family was receiving public assistance.

An amendment released just before 3:45 p.m. included language to circumvent the so-called Cap on Kids and instead mandate that "aid shall be provided for each such child or children without regard to whether the child was conceived or born after the parent began receiving aid." ...

The measure was included in a consolidated amendment put together by House Democrats after brokering deals with representatives who filed a cumulative 1,400 amendments to the House's $40.9 billion fiscal year 2019 spending plan (H 4400). The leadership-backed amendments receive swift approval. The consolidated amendment that included the change to the cap was adopted by a 152-0 roll call vote Tuesday....

Rep. Marjorie Decker, who had also filed standalone legislation to eliminate the cap, told her colleagues shortly before the change was approved that this marked "probably one of my proudest days to be here."

"Today, we have made an historic change. Twenty years ago there was a movement around the country that suggested that women of under resources and low-income women shouldn't have children," she said.

The Cambridge Democrat said she was a legislative aide at the State House when the cap was initially put in place. She said the debate included "wrath and disdain that was expressed about why low-income women choose to have children" and suggestions that women would have more babies in an attempt to secure additional state aid.

State House News Service
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
House agrees to extra aid for babies born on public assistance


The House passed its roughly $41 billion fiscal 2019 budget on Thursday by a 150-4 vote, devoting billions towards perennial priorities and much smaller amounts toward pet projects favored by lawmakers.

Among the changes to the document made over the course of four days of debate is an increase in the earned income tax credit that assists the working poor, fewer restrictions on welfare for young families, and more tax credits to put land into conservation.

The budget bill now heads to the Senate. House lawmakers added $81.3 million in spending to the budget bill this week through amendments, according to Ways and Means, bringing the final tally to $41.065 billion

State House News Service
Thursday, April 26, 2017
House passes $41B budget after four days of deliberation


By Tuesday, legislators who don't already know whether they have challengers will find out if they do. It's the biennial deadline for candidates to file nomination signatures and it coincides with another tradition: an uptick in lawmaking among incumbents eager to show constituents that they have accomplished something since the last election. The super-majorities long held by Democrats in both branches do not appear at risk this year, despite a session that started out with controversial pay raises and has proceeded at times at a halting pace, punctuated by leadership turmoil, turnover and near-chaos in the Senate....

While candidates will meet Tuesday's deadline to file signatures - 300 for Senate candidates and 150 for House - the Legislature is not poised to act by Wednesday on a series of high-profile ballot questions, which means petitioners will be free to begin collecting a second and final round of signatures needed to lock their questions in for the November ballot....

Major bills laying out new health care policies and addressing opioid addiction and housing production remain stalled at the committee level heading into the final three months of formal sessions. It's possible that the House will soon advance a health care proposal now that it has wrapped up its fiscal 2019 budget deliberations ... Senate leaders plan to unveil their annual budget on May 10, with debate planned the week before Memorial Day Weekend....

Tax collections are beating estimates over the first eight months of fiscal 2018 - April collection numbers are due out next week - and that's fueling both desire to spend more and calls for restraint.

State House News Service
Friday, April 27, 2017
Advances - Week of April 29, 2018
 


Wyoming in 2017 was the most politically conservative state in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. Forty-six percent of Wyoming residents identified as conservative and 13% as liberal, yielding a net-conservative score of +33. At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont and Massachusetts were the least conservative states, with liberals outnumbering conservatives by double-digit margins.

Nine states are more liberal than conservative. Within this group, Maryland, Washington and Connecticut barely lean that way, while Massachusetts and Vermont have double-digit liberal advantages.

The map below indicates how each state's net-conservative score compares with the national average of +9 . . .

Gallup
February 6, 2018
Wyoming Still Most Conservative; Vermont, Massachusetts Still Most Liberal


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

CLT's "Voluntary Tax Check-Off" (filed and introduced by CLT on December 6, 2000; adopted and passed into law on July 20, 2002) is serving its intended purpose.  It has been effectively calling out all those Takers who asserted during our income tax rollback ballot campaign that they "don't need or want" the income tax reduction our successful 2000 ballot question was proposing.  Year after year since our tax rollback ballot question passed overwhelmingly by the voters we have exposed their demonstrated blatant hypocrisy.  Fortunately for taxpayers like us, Howie Carr has almost annually followed up and publicized it.  How deliciously satisfying!

But that doesn't slow The Takers' determination to extract more from hard-working taxpayers and the usual deep-pockets of the teachers unions and government employees' unions are pouring on millions again as usual to squeeze even more out of us.  Besides providing tremendous funding for the expected ballot questions to increase the minimum wage, provide family medical leave, and the sixth attempt to repeal our constitutional flat-tax and impose a graduated income tax, the wealthy unions are now funding opposition to rolling back the sales tax.  It must be comforting to have the funds to so easily finance so much political action, and on so many fronts.

I suppose it's somewhat gratifying to recognize how much CLT has accomplished for such a vast number of taxpayers over the decades with so little to work with and with such minimal support.

Once again the House has given the middle-finger Beacon Hill salute to that vast majority of voters who, in 2000, ordered state government which allegedly serves its citizens, not rules over its subjects to roll back the 5.85% income tax to 5% by 2003.  Eighteen years after the voters ordered the income tax be rolled back it remains still higher, now at 5.1 percent.  Despite the House's proposal to again increase spending annually by another billion of our dollars, despite state spending doubling since our rollback, despite revenues pouring into the state's coffers higher than anticipated, still Beacon Hill autocrats refuse to respect the voters' mandate, again rejected a bill CLT files every year and has since our rollback was “frozen” in 2002.

But they've got the money to in what they Orwellian call "welfare reform" provide additional benefits to mothers of children born after they are already receiving public assistance for children they could not and cannot afford to provide for.  Legislators have chosen to reject:  "If you want less of something, tax it; if you want more of something, subsidize it."

The recent Gallup poll explains our plight as abused taxpayers who fund all of state government and its insuppressible excesses.  Along with Vermont, it found Massachusetts to be the most liberal state in the nation.  As usual The Pay State moguls are striving to again make this state Number One in notoriety, profligate and insatiable spending, and abysmal mismanagement.

Chip Ford
Executive Director


 
The Boston Herald
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Those who push ‘millionaires tax’ don’t volunteer extra funds on state forms
By Howie Carr


Ever wonder how many of those clamoring for a “millionaires tax” in Massachusetts are themselves willing to pay a few more bucks as their “fair share”?

The answer is, practically none — less than one-twentieth of one percent of Massachusetts taxpayers are voluntarily paying more for … the children … or the infrastructure … or something.

I know this because of that special box on state income tax forms. Checking this box allows the millions of Social Justice Warriors here in Massachusetts to reject paying the 5.1 percent rate favored by evil deplorables, irredeemables, bitter clingers and other assorted Trump voters.

How satisfying it must be for the “woke” among us to virtue-signal by voluntarily paying at the old Dukakis-era rate of 5.85 percent!

Considering recent election returns here, not to mention postings on social media, one would expect that at least two-thirds of the state’s filers would eagerly part with more of their hard-earned wages — er, strike that, Your Honor — I meant to say, the dividends from their trust funds or, if they’re illegal immigrants, their welfare handouts.

Surely these Democrats who endlessly talk the CNN/MSNBC talk would gladly walk the walk.

Actually no, they would not.

According to the state Department of Revenue’s most recent numbers, as of March 31, 2,027,928 income tax returns had been filed in the state and 894 taxpayers had opted to pay at Dukakis’ old 5.85 percent rate.

The added state revenue from those 894 generous souls came to, drumroll please, $121,361.

By my calculations, which may be what George W. Bush would call “fuzzy math,” that means the average liberal who wants to pay higher taxes averages somewhere under $20,000 in annual income.

In other words, Abigail Johnson and Bob Kraft, among so many others, are most assuredly not checking the box.

How often do you read about how the “Resistance” is rising in righteous wrath against Trump? We are told by the alt-left media that politicians are proudly embracing the label of “Socialist.” Pablum-puking liberal Democrat incumbents face primary challengers from even further left.

Yet paradoxically, none of the woke community want to pay their, dare I say it, fair share.

And those penurious numbers haven’t budged since their hero, Barack Obama, who as we all know never once squandered a tax dollar, vacated the White House.

Last year, of 3,642,896 filers, a mere 1,619 opted to pay more money for the care and feeding of Sen. and Mr. Stanley Rosenberg et al. Two years ago, in the waning months of the Obama junta, the comparable numbers were 3,783,209 and 1,663.

What seems to be the problem here, moonbats? How come you want people who work for a living to pay more, but those of you in the nonworking classes refuse to pony up?

Remember the old saying: “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree.”

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, if you have a real job, you’re the fellow behind the tree — that’s why the hackerama has put the so-called “millionaires tax” on the ballot this fall. If passed by the dumbed-down electorate of Massachusetts, a graduated income tax would be imposed on the commonwealth, but only on “millionaires,” wink wink nudge nudge.

And of course the extra money would be “earmarked” for education and infrastructure, double wink wink, double nudge nudge.

The effect of this “millionaires tax” — up to 9 percent on incomes of over $1 million — would have the same impact on tax revenue that it’s had in every other state where it’s been imposed. Suddenly the number of “millionaires” would plummet — thousands would flee, and many more thousands would make sure they didn’t reach the confiscatory threshold.

And so the definition of millionaire would evolve, as the liberals say, to anyone who made over $500,000, and then $100,000, and then, everybody! Every man a king, as Huey Long used to say, although in a very different context.

If you filed for an extension this week, remember, it’s not too late to send Donald Trump and his Russian masters a message — check the box and send more of your own money to the hackerama! That’ll show ’em, as well as the rest of us.

Moonbats, we will all follow your example — of what you do, not what you say, or post on Facebook.

Buy Howie’s new book, “What Really Happened,” at howiecarrshow.com.
 

State House News Service
Monday, April 23, 2018

Sales tax cut will force layoffs and service cuts, new oppo group says
By Matt Murphy


A new group made up largely of organized labor has formed to oppose a proposed ballot question that would reduce the state sales tax by 20 percent, further solidifying the campaign as one pitting unions against Bay State retailers.

The Save Our Pubic Services Committee warned that reducing the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent would eliminate $1.25 billion in annual tax revenues collected by the state, jeopardizing funding for local schools, health programs and roads.

"If the sales tax cut passes, communities will be forced to lay off teachers, police officers, and firefighters. Mental health and addiction treatment programs will close, spending on parks and environmental protection will be cut, and important road and transit construction projects will be delayed for years," said Deb Fastino, executive director of the Coalition for Social Justice, in a statement.

The opposition committee was founded by 1199SEIU, A Better City, AFSCME Council 93, American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts, Boston Teachers Union, Coalition for Social Justice, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Mass. AFL-CIO, Massachusetts Communities Action Network, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, Transportation for Massachusetts, SEIU Local 509, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445.

Extraordinary Step

The ballot question has been pitched by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

In addition to competition from online sellers, RAM President Jon Hurst has said small business owners faced added pressure from the state's earned sick time law and other questions moving toward the ballot to increase the minimum wage to $15 and institute a paid family and medical leave program.

The sales tax cut question, according to Hurst, is a response to multiple policy changes in the offing that could negatively impact retailers.

"Our members, small and large basically need two things to be successful: 1. Higher sales; and 2. Lower costs," Hurst wrote in a recent email to major state business groups and chambers of commerce. "And given a combination of increased competition coupled with an aggressive public policy agenda driven largely by unionized interests those two objectives are increasingly harder to obtain."

Hurst, in the March 19 email obtained by the News Service, described the decision to go to the ballot as "taking some pages out of the opposition’s playbook."

"We don’t take this effort lightly, and have only taken this extraordinary step to protect our members from government imposed discriminatory policies, and the costly, anti-small business agendas put forward by certain special interest labor groups," Hurst wrote.

The last time a sales tax cut was put on the ballot opponents successfully beat back a proposal to cut the sales tax rate all the way to 3 percent. That question lost in 2010 with 57 percent opposed.

Gov. Charlie Baker, who in his 2010 campaign supported a 5 percent sales tax rate, has not yet taken a position, and said he hopes the issue, along with others targeted for the ballot, can be resolved by the Legislature before voters are asked to decide in November.

The Supreme Judicial Court is expected to rule shortly on whether a proposed constitutional amendment to impose a 4 percent surtax on income over $1 million to pay for education and transportation is appropriate for the ballot, while House and Senate lawmakers are actively trying to negotiate a compromise with advocates and the business community for paid family and medical leave.

Some Democratic leaders, including Senate President Harriette Chandler, have also expressed interest in addressing the minimum wage before the Legislature recesses from formal sessions in July.


State House News Service
Monday, April 23, 2018

House rejects major reductions in income, sales taxes
By Andy Metzger


The House rejected a pair of major tax cuts on Monday, including one that may be headed for this year's ballot.

Without debate or opposition, the House voted against proposals by Billerica Republican Rep. Marc Lombardo to reduce the sales tax (108) and income tax rates (109) to 5 percent.

Currently at 5.1 percent, the income tax remains on track to eventually fall to 5 percent - the level voters approved in 2000 - if the state hits economic triggers.

Retailers are pushing a ballot question this year to reduce the sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 5 percent and establish an annual sales tax holiday. The Legislature in 2009 raised the sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent.

Before the tax votes, Boston Democrat Rep. Angelo Scaccia also pulled back the curtain on the House's private budget deliberations, saying there was not enough money available in the budget to fund various priorities as he argued unsuccessfully to curb or eliminate the film tax credit.

Scaccia, the longest-serving House member and an occasional thorn in Speaker Robert DeLeo's side, said that while in the House Members Lounge Monday afternoon he saw amendments intended to help children and others that would not be included in the budget because the state cannot afford to pay for them even though its unemployment rate is holding at a low 3.5 percent rate.

"I was in 347 a few minutes ago, and there had to be at least $500 million in amendments that were being offered," Scaccia said. He said, "They're not going to get those amendments, because we don't have the money, and it's sad."

During his unsuccessful 2010 run for governor, Gov. Charlie Baker called for reducing the sales and income tax rates to 5 percent. As governor, Baker has not joined other Republicans who still support those measures.

The House largely debates its budget in private; members gathered in a nearby lounge can lobby the Ways and Means Committee for inclusion of their budget amendments, which shields the back-and-forth from public view.

Scaccia argued that if filmmakers didn't have access to those tax credits, there would be more money available for government spending priorities.

House Majority Leader Ron Mariano responded to Scaccia's criticism of the tax incentive program on the floor, saying that he would like to make the film tax credit permanent beyond its scheduled sunset in 2023.

Mariano filed an amendment (1264) that would remove the sunset clause from the film tax credit law.

According to the Quincy Democrat, making the film tax credit permanent would address one of Scaccia's criticisms – that the benefits of the tax credit accrue to out-of-state film stars. A permanent tax credit would encourage TV series to film in Massachusetts, which would provide more stable employment as they typically film 8 to 10 months per year, Mariano said.


State House News Service
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

House agrees to extra aid for babies born on public assistance
By Colin A. Young

The Massachusetts House on Wednesday approved legislation doing away with a restriction that prohibits families from receiving an extra $100 per-month cash assistance for a baby conceived while the family was receiving public assistance.

An amendment released just before 3:45 p.m. included language to circumvent the so-called Cap on Kids and instead mandate that "aid shall be provided for each such child or children without regard to whether the child was conceived or born after the parent began receiving aid."

The change, which advocacy groups and lawmakers have sought for years for on Beacon Hill, would take effect July 1, 2019 if it is included in the final budget.

The measure was included in a consolidated amendment put together by House Democrats after brokering deals with representatives who filed a cumulative 1,400 amendments to the House's $40.9 billion fiscal year 2019 spending plan (H 4400). The leadership-backed amendments receive swift approval. The consolidated amendment that included the change to the cap was adopted by a 152-0 roll call vote Tuesday.

Welfare benefits increase $100 per month as family size increases, but families do not receive that additional money if a child is conceived after the family is already receiving public assistance. The cap, according to the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, "denies welfare benefits to children conceived while – or soon after – the family received benefits."

The organization said the current cap denies benefits to 9,400 children in Massachusetts. According to the Coalition to Lift the Cap on Kids, Massachusetts is one of 17 states that still has such a rule, which denies benefits to 8,700 children.

Rep. Marjorie Decker, who had also filed standalone legislation to eliminate the cap, told her colleagues shortly before the change was approved that this marked "probably one of my proudest days to be here."

"Today, we have made an historic change. Twenty years ago there was a movement around the country that suggested that women of under resources and low-income women shouldn't have children," she said.

The Cambridge Democrat said she was a legislative aide at the State House when the cap was initially put in place. She said the debate included "wrath and disdain that was expressed about why low-income women choose to have children" and suggestions that women would have more babies in an attempt to secure additional state aid.

On Wednesday, the House "acknowledged that women have children out of love, out of joy and sometimes not always out of choice, but that low-income women have babies for the same reasons any other woman does," Decker said.

A majority of the House -- at least 85 members -- had signed onto a Decker amendment (1361) that would have also increased the appropriation for Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children by $13 million, bringing its total to more than $205 million.

The House's consolidated amendment appears to adopt the policy changes prescribed in Decker's amendment and standalone legislation without including her proposal for additional funding.

The policy change would take effect the first day of fiscal year 2020, meaning the additional costs would not arise during the budget year for which the House is currently debating a spending plan.


State House News Service
Thursday, April 26, 2017

House passes $41B budget after four days of deliberation
By Andy Metzger


The House passed its roughly $41 billion fiscal 2019 budget on Thursday by a 150-4 vote, devoting billions towards perennial priorities and much smaller amounts toward pet projects favored by lawmakers.

Among the changes to the document made over the course of four days of debate is an increase in the earned income tax credit that assists the working poor, fewer restrictions on welfare for young families, and more tax credits to put land into conservation.

The budget bill now heads to the Senate. House lawmakers added $81.3 million in spending to the budget bill this week through amendments, according to Ways and Means, bringing the final tally to $41.065 billion.

It was Jamaica Plain Democrat Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez's first cycle as chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, a position he attained last summer after the departure of Brian Dempsey for a top position at the lobbying firm ML Strategies. House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Sanchez did an "outstanding job," and the House members gave the chairman a standing ovation. Sanchez returned the admiration, telling the speaker, "Te quiero mucho," which translates from Spanish to "I love you very much."

The fiscal 2019 budget provides for the "most vulnerable amongst us," while accounting for the state's financial circumstances, Sanchez said before the vote just after 7 p.m.

"This is a balanced budget," Sanchez said.

Republican Reps. Nick Boldyga, Kate Campanale, Kevin Kuros and James Lyons cast votes against the spending bill.

The vote to pass the bill occurred after four solid days of deliberations – nearly all of which occurred in private rooms off the House floor. After the vote, reps had just enough time to make it to Wilmington for the Thursday night wake of the late Rep. James Miceli, who was the longest continuously-serving member of the House and who died on Saturday.


State House News Service
Friday, April 27, 2017

Advances - Week of April 29, 2018


By Tuesday, legislators who don't already know whether they have challengers will find out if they do. It's the biennial deadline for candidates to file nomination signatures and it coincides with another tradition: an uptick in lawmaking among incumbents eager to show constituents that they have accomplished something since the last election. The super-majorities long held by Democrats in both branches do not appear at risk this year, despite a session that started out with controversial pay raises and has proceeded at times at a halting pace, punctuated by leadership turmoil, turnover and near-chaos in the Senate. With Rep. Nick Collins poised to win a Senate seat Tuesday in this year's last special election, it appears the Senate will go down the legislative stretch with Democrats outnumbering Republicans 32-7. In the House, six vacancies caused by departures or deaths will leave Democrats with 118 members working with 34 Republicans and two independents.

Initiative Petition Milestone

While candidates will meet Tuesday's deadline to file signatures - 300 for Senate candidates and 150 for House - the Legislature is not poised to act by Wednesday on a series of high-profile ballot questions, which means petitioners will be free to begin collecting a second and final round of signatures needed to lock their questions in for the November ballot. Lawmakers are just getting around to holding a hearing on a nurse staffing initiative petition, which will go before the Joint Committee on Public Health on Monday. Proponents of questions raising the sales tax, instituting a paid family and medical leave program and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will also be free next week to gather their final rounds of signatures. So it's the time of year for lawmakers to either act to appease petitioners or risk having voters decide the language of potentially major new laws, as they did in 2016 with the proposal to legalize adult marijuana use.

The Legislature Agenda

Major bills laying out new health care policies and addressing opioid addiction and housing production remain stalled at the committee level heading into the final three months of formal sessions. It's possible that the House will soon advance a health care proposal now that it has wrapped up its fiscal 2019 budget deliberations ... Senate leaders plan to unveil their annual budget on May 10, with debate planned the week before Memorial Day Weekend. Also, House and Senate leaders are poised to try to reconcile a fiscal 2018 supplemental budget after differing versions have passed in each branch. Tax collections are beating estimates over the first eight months of fiscal 2018 - April collection numbers are due out next week - and that's fueling both desire to spend more and calls for restraint …

 

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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