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麻州州長動態 - Awarded $14M



Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $14 Million in
Green Communities Grants
72 Communities Receive Grants for Clean Energy Projects

BOSTON – June 19, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $14,043,257 in Green Communities competitive grants to 72 municipalities across Massachusetts to fund clean energy projects. With today’s announcement, the largest in the program’s seven year history, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has awarded over $80 million to Green Communities grants since the program’s inception. 185 Massachusetts cities and towns have currently earned the Green Communities designation.

“Today’s grant announcement is the largest award in the Green Communities program history and represents our Administration’s commitment to supporting clean energy efforts for our partners in cities and towns across Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The projects funded by these grants will allow cities and towns across the Commonwealth to reinvest their energy savings in vital public services like schools, public safety, and local infrastructure.”

“As we work to meet our ambitious energy and emission reduction goals, the Green Communities program gives our municipal partners the resources they need to continue building upon the substantial energy progress each city and town has already made,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to the continued success in energy innovation these grants will ensure across the Commonwealth.”

Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding. The grants provide financial support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the designated communities’ clean energy goals. This sixth annual round of DOER Green Communities competitive grants is awarded to existing Green Communities that have successfully invested their initial designation grants and previous competitive grant awards. Grants are capped at $250,000 per municipality.

“DOER’s Green Communities program works with cities and towns from North Adams to Provincetown in an effort to fund programs that put Massachusetts on the forefront of clean energy innovation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to giving our municipal partners the tools they need to find clean energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen local economies.”

“The efforts of the 72 communities receiving over $14 million today are important as we work to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals set forth under the Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “These grants represent another milestone for both the communities and the Commonwealth as we continue to work collaboratively to build a clean, resilient, and affordable energy future.”

The grants announced today fund a range projects from ventilation system upgrades and high efficiency lighting to installation of insulation and energy management systems at municipal buildings and facilities. Also included are projects to install LED streetlights, oil-to-gas heating system conversions, electric vehicles, and electric vehicles charging stations.

Municipality Grants

Acton
$245,497
Harvard
$249,972
Pepperell
$250,000
Acushnet
$135,665
Hatfield
$66,216
Rockland
$250,000
Amesbury
$250,000
Holland
$150,085
Salem
$237,399
Andover
$156,440
Holliston
$247,228
Saugus
$242,903
Arlington
$179,698
Hopkinton
$224,812
Scituate
$246,733
Ashburnham
$217,300
Kingston
$250,000
Sherborn
$39,120
Ashby
$100,981
Lakeville
$247,500
Somerville
$250,000
Auburn
$213,804
Lenox
$245,189
Sudbury
$250,000
Barre
$116,199
Leverett
$68,437
Sunderland
$129,805
Belchertown
$195,358
Lexington
$168,132
Sutton
$204,888
Belmont
$250,000
Littleton
$250,000
Swampscott
$241,287
Beverly
$250,000
Manchester
$155,981
Tewksbury
$209,790
Bridgewater
$175,895
Mashpee
$98,932
Truro
$109,736
Brookline
$233,247
Maynard
$250,000
Tyngsborough
$250,000
Buckland
$74,439
Medford
$235,935
Wayland
$250,000
Cambridge
$250,000
Melrose
$217,484
Wellfleet
$120,423
Chelmsford
$199,330
Mendon
$89,579
Westford
$250,000
Cohasset
$177,400
Milton
$246,645
West Newbury
$133,154
Easton
$127,456
Monson
$249,886
Westwood
$183,136
Essex
$176,145
Montague
$168,610
Weymouth
$250,000
Gloucester
$207,443
Natick
$159,162
Whately
$164,310
Greenfield
$224,610
Newton
$196,157
Whitman
$197,408
Hanover
$226,772
Northampton
$247,507
Winchester
$236,050
Hardwick
$116,592
Palmer
$113,395
Woburn
$250,000

For additional information on awarded projects and funding amounts, please click here.

“Massachusetts leads the nation in protecting our environment and working towards a clean and sustainable future by reducing our energy consumption and cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “Green Communities Competitive Grants help us achieve our energy goals and continue to lead the nation in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
“Leadership and action at the municipal level are essential to our state's success in conserving resources and capturing renewable energy,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The awarded cities and towns are making an important commitment to our future by becoming Green Communities, and receiving significant grant funding to propel initiatives that work for people in each town and will make a difference for our Commonwealth.” 
“In order to meet the legal requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, we must make energy efficiency a pillar of our emissions reductions plans on both local and state levels,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), founding chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Our Green Communities have embraced a clean energy future by leading the way in best sustainability practices. I look forward to seeing the good that these grants will do for our economy and environment.”

“As the United States falters on the global stage in climate leadership, local communities continue to demonstrate their resolve to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy). “The Green Communities Act is just one example of how Massachusetts is contributing to climate solutions, and I commend the Town of Weymouth for its strong commitment to this global cause.”

“I would like to thank the Baker-Polito administration for dedicating key funding to empower cities and towns to reduce their energy use and embrace a clean energy future,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.  “The town of Chelmsford deserves recognition for its efforts and for receiving its fifth Green Communities grant, totaling over $930,000 in investments to the community since the start of the program.”

“Its selection as a recipient of a Green Communities grant is a great accomplishment for the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and the continued support for its efforts to lower energy consumption and reduce emissions, would not be possible without the generosity of the Baker-Polito Administration,” said State Representative Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich).

All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. These commitments amount to collective savings of 2,534,787 MMBtu, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 20,000 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 233,640 tons, equivalent to taking over 45,000 cars off the road.

Click here for more information on DOER's Green Communities program. The grants are funded through proceeds from Alternative Compliance Payments under the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Baker-Polito Administration Presents Green Communities Designation Awards to Western Massachusetts Municipalities
Seven Communities Receive $1,446,675 for Clean Energy Projects

Chicopee – March 15, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded Green Communities designation grants totaling $1,446,675 to Chicopee, Agawam, Blandford, Granville, Ware, Warren and Westfield. The awards will fund clean energy projects and were presented by Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton and Department of Energy Resource (DOER) Commissioner Judith Judson in a ceremony at Chicopee City Hall.

Earlier this year, 30 Massachusetts cities and towns were designated by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as Green Communities, committing to an ambitious renewable energy agenda to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Over half of the Commonwealth’s municipalities have earned their Green Communities designation and 64 percent of residents live in a Green Community. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded over $65 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.

“The Green Communities program is an excellent example of how state and local governments can work together to save taxpayer money and promote responsible energy policies,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our newest Green Communities will now have additional resources to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, locking in energy savings for residents and reducing their carbon footprints.”

“Our municipal partners continue to help us lead the way on renewable energy by adopting practices that allow them to reduce energy consumption, while saving money that can be directed to vital municipal functions, like public safety and education,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to continuing to provide cities and towns across the Commonwealth the tools they need to reduce energy costs, usage and emissions.”

The Commonwealth’s 185 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 64 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as Boston and as small as Rowe. Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding, including reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. The 30 newly designated Green Communities have committed to reducing their energy consumption amounting to savings of $6,241,862 of energy costs and 2,234,090 MMBtu in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,718 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 27,641 metric tons, equivalent to taking 5,819 cars off the roads. 

“When Massachusetts’ cities and towns invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs everyone wins, from taxpayers savings to a statewide reduction in emissions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton. “With these designations, DOER’s Green Communities program continues to prove an effective tool in building a clean, renewable energy future for the Commonwealth.”

“DOER is proud to work with cities and towns across Massachusetts as they take important steps in embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency at the local level,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judson. “These designations are simply the beginning of an important relationship between the Commonwealth and our municipal partners as we work towards our shared clean energy goals.”

DOER awarded funding for projects in these newly designated Green Communities include:

Municipality                        Award
Agawam                               $207,970
Blandford                            $138,425
Chicopee                              $367,160
Granville                              $139,280
Ware                                     $169,535
Warren                                 $157,740
Westfield                             $266,565

A full list of projects funded by the Green Communities program can be found here.

“Congratulations to Agawam, Chicopee, Granville, and Westfield for receiving this important designation from DOER,” said Senator Don Humason (R–Westfield). “This grant funding represents a partnership between the Baker-Polito Administration and these cities and towns, which will help strengthen each community’s continued efforts to improve energy efficiency, reduce local utility costs, and promote taxpayer savings.”

“The Green Communities Program is a sign of our state’s commitment to not only securing a clean energy future, but also creating sustainable local economies throughout the Commonwealth,” said State Senator James T. Welch (D-West Springfield). “We are proud of the work Chicopee has done to earn this designation and look forward to seeing how the city can leverage this support from the DOER into tangible benefits for the environment and residents.”

“I was pleased to learn that both Ware and Warren have earned the Green Communities designation,” said State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer).  “It takes a lot of hard work on each town’s part to become a Green Community and they are now set up to reap the benefits in the form of grant eligibility and utility cost savings.”

“I want to thank the Department of Energy Resources for recognizing the great work that is happening in Chicopee and across Western Mass to help make Massachusetts a clean energy leader,” said State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow). “Using our energy more efficiently not only saves taxpayer dollars but leaves our communities more sustainable for future generations. Chicopee is seeing the benefits on both sides of the equation and seizing that opportunity. This new grant from the Department of Energy Resources will reward Chicopee's smart thinking and bring further development opportunities to the city.”

“I’m thrilled that Blandford is now designated as a Green Community,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield). “Taking this step to improve the collective efforts to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy is good news for the entire Commonwealth.”

“It’s great to see Ware and Warren added to list of Green Communities in Massachusetts,” said State Representative Todd M. Smola (R-Palmer). “This designation shows a serious commitment to energy conservation and cleaner energy alternatives. Both communities should be proud of the steps they are taking to help protect and preserve our environment.”

“I'm extremely proud of the City of Westfield for being one of thirty cities designated as a Green Community this year,” said State Representative John C. Velis (D-Westfield). “The fact that 5 of our Hampden County cities and towns are being recognized really goes to show that Western Massachusetts is really at the forefront of green innovation and economic growth. Congratulations to all the communities being recognized.”

“I am pleased to see Chicopee become a Green Community, now they are eligible for grants to fund the clean energy projects of the future,” said State Representative Jose F. Tosado (D-Springfield). “These grants will spur a modern green economy, as well as a healthier community.”

“This is very exciting news for the small town of Blandford in my district. With new leadership in the community with a vision for the future this is welcome news,” said State Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox). “I want to thank DOER for recognizing the impacts, even in our smallest towns, of investing in renewable energy.” 

Under the Green Communities Act, DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant Program can provide up to $20 million annually to qualified cities and towns.  The goal of the Designation Grant Program is support communities’ investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the clean energy goals determined by the designated communities.  Initial Designation Grants are based on a $125,000 base for each designated Green Community, plus additional amounts tied to per capita income and population, and for municipalities that provide as-of-right siting for renewable energy generation.

“The Green Communities Program is an outstanding example of the strong partnership that the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature have forged with cities and towns,” said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. “Communities all across the state will use these grant funds for innovative programs to reduce energy usage and invest in renewable energy projects, and the benefits will flow to taxpayers and the environment.”

Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from carbon allowance auctions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.
Governor Baker Releases Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal
$40.5 billion budget invests in local aid, education, workforce development, and key support services without raising taxes; proposes new method for making deposits to the Stabilization fund, including a $98 million deposit in FY18

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration filed its Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget proposal, a $40.508 billion spending plan which funds key priorities including local aid, education, workforce development, housing and homelessness services, and substance misuse prevention programs, while keeping spending in line with recurring revenues and does not raise taxes. 
“This budget reaffirms our commitment to the hardworking people of the Commonwealth to propose a balanced budget that significantly invests in education, workforce development and funds to fight the opioid epidemic—without raising taxes,” said Governor Baker.  “While practicing fiscal discipline and reining in spending, we are also pleased to introduce new initiatives like the ‘Learn to Earn’ program to shrink the unemployment and underemployment gap in our state and a $4,000 tax-credit for employers hiring an unemployed veteran.  I look forward to working with our colleagues in the legislature so that we can all make Massachusetts a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
The FY18 proposal increases spending by 4.3%, or 2.7% net of MassHealth revenue, over Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) estimated spending, and relies on a consensus tax revenue estimate of $27.072 billion, which is 3.9% growth over the revised FY17 tax revenue projection. 
“Our administration has been pleased to deliver on our promise to give communities a voice and place at the table on Beacon Hill – and we remain committed to doing so going forward,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “Our budget proposal once again provides a promised increase in unrestricted local aid equal to consensus revenue growth, historic levels of Chapter 70 education aid, funding for the Community Compact program, and other grant programs to provide local government with the resources they need to be successful.”
 “Our Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal makes significant progress for the Commonwealth’s fiscal outlook,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore. “We nearly eliminate the structural deficit from a few years ago, significantly reduce the use of non-recurring revenue, hold the line on taxes, responsibly deposit money into our reserves, and pay down important long-term obligations like our unfunded pension liability.”
House 1 funds the administration’s past commitments of staff increases at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and substance misuse prevention efforts, and also increases funding for Chapter 70 education aid, unrestricted general government aid (UGGA) at 100% of consensus revenue growth, homelessness prevention services, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and recommends a new program to connect more job seekers with employment.
Stabilization Fund Reform and Deposit
House 1 also recommends a new method to increase the Stabilization Fund during periods of economic growth, providing for a $98 million deposit into the fund in FY18, with potential for an additional deposit based on year-end surplus. If enacted, the new law would provide for two phases of rainy day fund deposits: first, a budgeted transfer of 50% of the consensus revenue estimate’s projected excess capital gains, and second, a requirement that 50% of above-budget tax revenue at the end of a fiscal year be directed to the Stabilization Fund, prior to year-end closeout and the finalization of consolidated net surplus.
Chapter 70 Funding at an All-Time High
In the first two years of the Baker-Polito Administration, Chapter 70 aid to school districts has increased by $227 million to $4.628 billion, an all-time high, and Special Education Circuit Breaker funding has increased by nearly $20 million.
House 1 proposes a $91.4 million increase in Chapter 70 aid, providing at least a $20 per pupil increase to all 322 operating districts across the Commonwealth, supporting an 85% effort reduction to bring under-aided districts closer to their spending targets, and begins to address the rising cost of healthcare and retiree benefits in foundation budgets.
New “Learn to Earn” Program
House 1 recommends $4 million for a new Learn to Earn initiative, led by a broad cross-secretariat working group. This program will provide credentials and employment for unemployed and underemployed individuals in occupations in high demand fields through partnerships between public agencies, businesses, community-based organizations, and career centers. As part of the $4 million request, the administration proposes $1 million to be allocated to address barriers to employment commonly encountered by the underemployed and unemployed, including transportation and child care expenses.
Launch of Career Pathways Program to Train Future Workforce
The FY18 budget proposal includes nearly $200 million in funding across secretariats for workforce development programs, a $10.5 million increase from FY17. Part of that increase will go towards a coordinated strategy to expand and improve high quality career pathways, based on aligning and maximizing existing workforce training and career education capacity, and building stronger connections with employers. Five line items will be consolidated into the new “STEM Starter Academy and College and Career Pathways” account to allow for greater flexibility and coordination between college and career pathway investments and business sectors in need of trained employees. 
Increased Eligibility for Homelessness Voucher Program
House 1 continues the Baker-Polito Administration’s effort to fight homelessness by investing over $500 million for housing and homelessness prevention services. An $11 million increase in funding will be included for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), $3 million of which will increase supportive housing units by nearly 50% to a total of 620 units.
The proposal also includes language to allow families to keep their MRVP voucher eligibility as they work to grow their income, increasing qualifying standards from 50% of Area Median Income to 80%. This will ensure individuals do not lose housing supports before they are able to become self-sufficient.
Increased Support for Older Adults
The administration’s FY18 proposal includes a $10.7 million increase in funding for the state Home Care Program to provide seniors in need of a wide array of services. This increase will support coverage for over 1,200 new low-income seniors, ensuring that they are not placed on a waitlist to receive services.
House 1 will also continue to fund the Supportive Senior Housing program, which allows 6,000 elderly residents of state-aided housing to remain in their homes and receive assisted living level of care. We also provide $7.2 million in level funding for the Elder Nutrition Program, enabling the delivery of over 1.1 million meals.
The administration recommends $29.2 million, a $1.1 million increase over FY17, to investigate cases of elder abuse, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect or exploitation, in addition to $14 million in funding for local Councils on Aging (COA).
Governor Baker also plans to sign an Executive Order in the coming weeks that will establish a Council on Older Adults, that will focus on policies and programs that make it possible for even more older adults and seniors to live vibrant, purposeful lives.
New Proposal for Civilly Committed Males
The Baker-Polito Administration proposes an increase of $1.75 million, for a total of $10 million, to refocus Section 35 treatment for males in the Commonwealth by repurposing the MCI-Plymouth facility into the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center (MASAC) at Plymouth. This funding would increase available beds by 45, for a total of 255 beds. Men who have been civilly committed to the soon to be decommissioned MASAC center at Bridgewater will be transferred to the new facility in Plymouth.
Good Government Solutions
House 1 proposes capping sick time at 1,000 hours, or six months at work, for state employees in the Executive Branch, bringing Massachusetts in line with other states and to avoid excessive payouts for sick time to retiring employees
House 1 also includes an outside section authorizing the Pension Reserves Investment Management board to manage the assets for the MBTA retirees, which will benefit these retirees by increasing returns and lowering administrative costs.
THE BAKER-POLITO ADMINISTRATION’S FY18 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS BY THE NUMBERS
Fiscal Overview
  • Nearly eliminates the inherited structural deficit by reducing the budgeted use of one-time revenues to under $100 million, down from $1.2 billion in FY15
  • Deposits $98 million into the Stabilization Fund
  • Fully annualizes previous tax cuts, including the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit from 15% to 23% of the federal credit in FY16, and the reduction of the income tax rate from 5.15% to 5.10%
  • Holds the line on no new tax rate increases
Strengthening Our Communities
  • Once again increases UGGA by 100% of revenue growth (3.9%), or $40 million, to $1.062 billion total
  • Funds $6.8 million for Community Compact related programs
  • Increases funding for State Police anti-drug trafficking program by $1.2 million to expand the program from 9 to 20 communities
  • Supports $6 million for Shannon Grants for gang prevention initiatives
  • Funds a new State Police class for 130 recruits
Investing in Our Schools
  • Increases Chapter 70 education aid by $91.4 million, for a total of $4.719 billion in funding
  • Includes $7 million for rate increases for Early Education and Care for center-based child care providers
  • Supports teacher and leader development with a $2 million increase
  • Provides $31.1 million for the continued implementation of the next generation of the MCAS exam
  • Supports a $10.3 million increase for higher education campus budgets
Enhancing Workforce Skills, Job Training, and Economic Development
  • Funds a new “Learn to Earn” initiative for grants to partnerships to help unemployed and underemployed individuals gain credentials for occupations and employment in high demand fields
  • Increases funding for Connecting Activities by $500,000 that will double the number of STEM-related work-based learning experiences for high school participants
  • Provides $1.3 million in new funding for an Adult Basic Education Pay for Success program contract for vocational English for Speakers of Other Languages classes and skills training services
  • Increases funding by $1 million for Dual Enrollment, to allow under-served high school students to receive college credit while in high school
  • Provides $1.5 million for a new round of Urban Agenda Economic Development Grant Program
Mental Health Support at Bridgewater State Hospital
  • $37 million  increase for a new clinical contract to care for patients at Bridgewater State Hospital, and implementation of a new model to move Corrections Officers to the outside of the facility to provide security and expand the size and scale of the clinical program offered inside the hospital.
Fighting the Substance Misuse Epidemic
  • Repurposes MCI-Plymouth into the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center (MASAC) at Plymouth allowing men who have been civilly committed to the soon to be decommissioned MASAC center at Bridgewater to be transferred to the new facility, and provides an increase of $1.75 million in funding for an additional 45 treatment beds
  • Sustains $145 million in funding for DPH programming for substance misuse prevention and treatment services
  • Provides $13 million for DMH to continue its funding commitment of 45 beds for women’s addiction treatment services at Taunton State Hospital
  • $37 million  increase for a new clinical contract to care for patients at Bridgewater State Hospital
Addressing Homelessness and Housing Insecurity
  • Provides over $500 million in funding for housing and homelessness prevention services
  • Includes $11 million increase for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, $3 million of which will support 200 additional supportive housing units
  • Increases funding for DMH’s Safe Haven Program for the chronically homeless with mental illness by over $900,000 to annualize FY17 addition of 33 beds
Supporting the Department of Children and Families
  • Provides a $26.9 million increase to DCF
  • Includes $9.8 million to fully annualize additional social worker and support staff positions created in FY17
  • Recommends $6.4 million for projected caseload increases and the annualization of FY17 investment in 193 additional beds for clients

Governor Baker Delivers Second State of the Commonwealth Address

Today, Governor Charlie Baker delivers his second State of the Commonwealth address from the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Speaker. Mr. President. Members of the House and Senate. Distinguished elected officials and honored guests. And fellow Citizens.

“About 750 days ago, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and I stood right here and we pledged to work collaboratively with you and others to move this Commonwealth forward.   And we have done just that.

“We built a bipartisan team. Worked in partnership with the legislature. And looked for common ground.

“We worked to fix state government, passed groundbreaking legislation and focused on growing our economy. And it’s working.

“Our economy is among the strongest in the nation.

“Over the past two years we’ve added 120,000 jobs. Today more people are working than at any time in the past 20 years. And our welfare caseload has dropped 25 percent.

“The companies of the future are moving to Massachusetts, bringing millions in private investment. While new companies are born here every day.

“In fact, for the second year in a row, Bloomberg named Massachusetts the #1 state for innovation.

“GE’s decision to locate its world headquarters in Boston and North American Life Sciences headquarters in Marlborough was based on its belief in the talent and vision of our people.

“And believe me, any discussion of GE’s re-location won’t be complete without noting the extraordinary work and collaboration by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and his team. 

“Mr. Mayor, I look forward to working with you on the next Patriots’ Super Bowl parade.

“The job gains have benefitted every corner of our state.

“For example, New Bedford had the steepest unemployment decline in the entire country. With an unemployment rate that has fallen from 6.5 percent to 3.7 percent in just the past year.

“It’s not an accident that Massachusetts is such an attractive place to do business.  It’s a reflection of the quality of our people and the business climate we’ve created.

“The progress we made on energy is a perfect example.

“Together, we passed landmark legislation that will reduce our carbon footprint while maintaining a competitively priced and reliable supply of energy.

“And we’ve built on those efforts by issuing an Executive Order on Climate Change that directs state government to work with local governments, business, and non-profits to develop plans to further protect our environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Thanks to the hard work of state & local officials, teachers and parents our students are #1 in the nation in both math and reading for the sixth straight year.

“Our shared commitment to funding local schools has led to an all-time high in Chapter 70 education funding, representing an increase of $227 million over the last two years.

“We’ve also made attending a public college more affordable. Through the Commonwealth Commitment we’ve created a pathway for students to secure a bachelor’s degree from UMass or one of our state universities for half the price.

“Brockton’s own Jaclyn Bell is here tonight and she’s a great example of who this program is helping.

“She’s 26 years old, has a two-year old daughter, and is currently a straight A student at Massasoit Community College.  She said the Commonwealth Commitment ‘changed her family’s life.’

“Jaclyn – we all look forward to watching you build on your success.

“We’ve reviewed, updated and eliminated thousands of pages of outdated and obsolete state regulations. 

“Which has reduced red tape and made it easier for employers, non-profits and cities and towns to do their jobs.

“We all know that High-speed internet has become central to the ways we communicate, learn and do business. But too many communities in Western Mass still don’t have access to this essential service.

“That’s why this past May we completely overhauled the Last Mile program for our rural communities.

“We started with 53 towns lacking high speed internet access. 
   
“And while there’s still more work to be done, in just six months we’ve moved a dozen towns forward. 

“That’s more progress on local broadband access than in the last five years.

“And we’ve done all of that and more while closing a billion-dollar state budget gap without raising taxes.

“Fiscal responsibility is challenging work.  It’s not the stuff that wins popularity contests.

“By working together we’ve controlled the runaway growth in spending and nearly eliminated the structural deficit in just two years.  We’ve reduced the state’s bureaucracy, saving hundreds of millions of dollars.  And we’re working smarter and making state government more accountable to the people who pay the bills.

“We also ended the previous practice of using rainy day funds to bailout the state budget. Instead, we invested in this fund despite lower revenue growth. And have set the Commonwealth on solid financial footing going forward.

“We’ve proposed closing the tax loophole on Airbnb. But we will oppose any effort to pass a broad-based tax increase on the hardworking people of the Commonwealth.

“We’ve also made real progress in supporting those who need our help.

“Helping families fighting homelessness and ending the practice of putting homeless families into hotels and motels  has been a priority for us.

“To get there we’ve taken a different approach.  We’re working with housing authorities and other housing providers to help families avoid homelessness in the first place and relying more on permanent solutions.

“In two years, the population of homeless families in hotels and motels has been reduced from more than 1,500 to fewer than 100 families today.

“Two years ago the Department of Children and Families, which serves more than 50,000 at-risk kids was in crisis. Today, it’s a very different place.

“There are 270 more social workers on the job than there were just over one year ago.  Ninety-five percent are licensed, up from 50 percent when we took office.

“Caseloads are as low as they’ve been in decades. And long promised clinical and administrative supports are now in place.

“New policies concerning investigations, home based services, supervisory practices and missing children have been collaboratively implemented with the full support of DCF’s union workforce.

“But when it comes to at risk kids we can never rest easy.

“DCF still needs to recruit more foster homes and do a better job working with foster families.  

“And DCF will continue to work with the courts and legal community to reduce uncertainty for kids by shortening the time they have to wait for a permanent and loving home.

“DCF Commissioner Linda Spears is with us tonight.  Linda, you and your team are doing a great job.  And on behalf of the families and children you serve, thank you.

“As in other states, we continue dealing with the heinous crime of human trafficking.

“And through compassion for these young girls and boys my wife Lauren championed bringing back the State Police anti-human trafficking unit.

“For that, and so many other things she does every day I thank her tonight.

“We worked together to craft legislation for Uber, Lyft and other transportation networking companies.  

“This legislation respects the important role of the sharing economy while benefiting hundreds-of-thousands of passengers as well as drivers here in the Commonwealth.

“For example, people with disabilities often have trouble finding reliable transportation especially for unexpected trips. Making it difficult to complete their education or work full time. It’s a huge problem.

“The T’s RIDE took advantage of our new law, to set up a pilot with Uber and Lyft to serve about 400 people with disabilities. 

“So far, that pilot has delivered more than 7,000 rides.

“Manish Agrawal is blind and uses the RIDE.  He’s here with us tonight. He and his wife live in Arlington with their young daughter. 

“Recently, Manish had to take his daughter to the doctor unexpectedly. 

“He used the pilot program and called Uber instead of waiting for the RIDE. It was easy, prompt and cut his travel time in half. Thanks to this pilot program he was able to focus on the needs of his daughter instead of worrying about transportation.

“Manish thanks for being here with us and sharing your story.

“In fact, his story echoes those we've heard from many others. The overwhelming message from the participants couldn’t be more clear –“This program has changed my life”.

“We all know the opioid epidemic is ravaging individuals and families across the country.  And while this is going to be a prolonged battle, our efforts are making a difference.

“We know that four out of five heroin users first become addicted through prescription drugs.  And we’re seeing results from our efforts to close this front door to addiction.

“For the first time, medical, dental and nursing schools are requiring students to master opioid therapy and pain management. And continuing education on these issues is now a part of our state licensing programs.

“After years of increases, the number of opioids prescribed is now down by 15 percent.  

“Prescribers have made more than 2 million searches of the new Prescription Monitoring program.  

“This makes it harder for people to doctor shop for pain pills, or for pill mills to operate here in Massachusetts.

“Spending on addiction services has been increased by 50 percent. Hundreds of additional treatment beds and voluntary programs have come online. Family and peer support groups have doubled and been funded across the Commonwealth. And thousands of NARCAN kits have been distributed to first responders and family members.

“And our work has not gone unnoticed.  An unprecedented 46 Governors have signed on to a compact to fight opioid addiction—that’s based on our efforts here in Massachusetts. 

“Make no mistake, drug traffickers are part of the opioid epidemic. They prey on vulnerable people, selling them more and more deadly and addictive substances.

“We’ll also propose $2 million to expand law enforcement’s efforts to arrest and convict drug traffickers.

“With your help we also ended the decades old practice of sending women, who were civilly committed due to an addiction, to Framingham State Prison. 

“Instead, they now enter a treatment program including the new one at Taunton State Hospital. These programs have been a game changer for many of the women they serve.

“And based on this success, we’ll request an increase in state funding to support treatment for men who are committed due to an addiction as well. 

“The MBTA’s historic failure during the winter of 2015 laid bare the vital need for a complete overhaul.

“But never forget the T always had the money, but it lacked the capacity to turn its resources into an action plan – to deliver the safe and reliable transportation system that our people deserve.

“The Fiscal and Management Control Board, management team and staff at the T cut the MBTA’s operating deficit in half. These significant savings, along with existing funds, are being used to double the T’s investment in core infrastructure.

“While a lot of great work has been done in the past 18 months, anyone who rides the T will correctly tell you, we still have a long way to go.

“Everything that breaks is at least 50 years old.  Making the investments in tracks, signals, switches, power systems and vehicles will take years, not months. But we finally have the team on the ground and the plan in place to get the job done. 

“And after months of discussion the MBTA reached an agreement on a new contract with its largest union, the Carmen’s Union Local 589. 

“This is a win/win for all involved. Riders and taxpayers have a competitive contract that respects market standards. While union members have predictability and achievable ground rules for measuring performance.

“Both sides could have turned this into an epic brawl. Instead, they chose to be part of the answer.

“Jim O’Brien, the President of the Carmen’s Union, as well as Brian Shortsleeve and Joe Aiello of the T are here with us tonight.

“For their hard work, vision and leadership during these difficult and complicated times, they deserve our thanks.

“And remember those toll booths we used to have on the Turnpike?  Me neither.

“Going live with an All Electronic Tolling system and taking down the toll booths could’ve been a disaster. 

“In fact, many predicted it would be. 

“But a terrific engineering and planning effort across multiple agencies made sure work was done at night and on weekends. Assuring that commuters were not delayed going to and from work. 

“With a shared sense of purpose we’ve made real progress in job creation, fiscal discipline, education, child welfare, public health, transportation, public safety, environmental and energy policy and community building during the past two years. 

“And because of all that, I stand here tonight and say, the state of our Commonwealth is strong.

“We all know the world is becoming more and more dependent on technology.  Smart buildings. Smarter machines. Robotics. Autonomous vehicles. Digital health.  Precision manufacturing. And big data to name a few.

“These are the platforms of the next generation of great companies and new jobs.   And cyber security that moves as fast as the hackers, thieves and troublemakers is what makes this all possible.

“Success in protecting databases and smart machines will ensure that people benefit from the best ideas in science, engineering and technology for decades to come.

“We’re already one of the 3 most important players in cyber security in the world.  Businesses in Massachusetts protect proprietary information and secure smart machines and smart buildings from attack. But this industry is just taking off.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent over the next decade to protect information and assets. Massachusetts’ organizations should play a major role in driving these decisions.

“Over the next ten months we’ll bring together the best minds locally and globally to develop a blueprint for success here in Massachusetts.  And we will follow it.

“Our strength as a Commonwealth is based, in many ways, on our work with 351 cities and towns.

“The important reforms enacted last session give local leaders new tools to better serve their constituents.

“And you don’t have to take my word for it. The Massachusetts Municipal Association called those changes the most significant reform of municipal governance in more than 50 years.

“And thanks to the tireless work of Lieutenant Governor Polito more than 250 communities have joined with us to work on 600 best practices that will make local governments more successful. 

“Thank you Lieutenant Governor, for your extraordinary work on this initiative.

“Looking ahead, our budget will propose more than $130 million in new funding for cities and towns. Including increasing Chapter 70 support for K-12 education by more than $90 million, twice the amount required under state law.

“And for the first time we propose funding a down payment toward increasing state support for municipal health insurance.

“Our capital program will build on our previous efforts to invest in local communities. We’ll continue unprecedented levels of investment in roads, bridges, economic development and housing.

“These investments help our colleagues in local government build strong communities, leverage billions of dollars in private sector investment and create jobs.

“We should also be proud of our achievements in education. 

“But we must also recognize not every child in the Commonwealth gets to attend a first-class school. We have an obligation to every parent and child in Massachusetts. And in this effort, we must succeed.

“To assist struggling schools, we’ll work with Representative Peisch and Senator Lesser and their colleagues in the house and senate to create more “empowerment zones.”

“These zones create more flexibility in schools. And allow educators to make the changes necessary to provide a better learning environment for our kids. In Springfield, this model is already making a positive difference for teachers and students.

“In addition, the experience of struggling districts in Lawrence, Southbridge and Holyoke has demonstrated that state takeovers can offer significant benefits to students, parents and teachers in schools that need our support.

“We encourage the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to use this tool.

“For decades, mental health advocates have urged the Commonwealth to redesign the way it serves those who are committed to Bridgewater State Hospital.  Little has changed, and the results, in many cases, have been disastrous for all involved.

“We propose to do two things to address this longstanding and unacceptable situation.

“First, move Corrections Officers out of the hospital.  And instead deploy them outside the facility to provide security. 

“Second,  the size and scale of the clinical program offered inside the hospital will be significantly expanded. This reform will not come cheap, as spending on clinical services will increase by $37 million. It’s the right thing to do and we ask the legislature to support it.

“I would also like to extend our thanks to Jon Mograss and the Massachusetts Correctional Officers Federated Union for being a true partner in our efforts to make these reforms. This wouldn’t have happened without their support.

“We must also think differently about how we support and engage older adults.  The notion that people are fully retired at the age of 62 or 65 is inconsistent with what I see every day.

“And even if some have stepped back from what they spent most of their lives doing, most still have tons of time and talent available to do something else.

“Hey – I turned 60 in November. Sixty.
 
“I remember thinking that was ancient when my dad turned sixty.

“Now he’s 88 and still the smartest, most informed person I know.  And Dad –
nobody gives better advice than you do.

“There are thousands of citizens in Massachusetts who are still very much in the game in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s.  And there’ll be more as our population continues to age.

“I’ll be signing an Executive Order in the coming weeks that will establish a Council on Older Adults. It will focus on policies and programs that make it possible for even more older adults and seniors to live vibrant, purposeful lives.

“Finally, too many of our returning heroes struggle to find good jobs.

“Jesse Brown and Matt Mastroianni the founders of Heidrea Communications of Plymouth and Bellingham are with us tonight.  Heidrea constructs, maintains and repairs cell towers, a booming business in today’s wireless world.

“After serving our country as United States Marines they both joined a large firm in the cell tower space. In 2007, they left the comfort of a big company to start their own.

“The beginning was rocky, but today they employ 70 people.  Almost half of whom are veterans like them.  And their future is bright.

“Like many small businesses, they want to hire and employ our veterans.  We should make it easier for them to get it done.

“So we’ll be proposing a $4,000 tax credit for businesses hiring and retaining an unemployed veteran. 

“We all wish Jesse and Matt continued success and thank them and all veterans for their service to our country.

“In closing, on behalf of Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, our Cabinet, our team and the people of Massachusetts, I want to thank you, the legislature, for your goodwill.  This may seem like a small thing.  But it’s not.

“Too much of what passes for political dialogue these days isn’t dialogue at all.  It’s talking points. Character assassination. And deliberate misrepresentation.

“Wedge issues may be great for making headlines, but they do not move this Commonwealth forward.  Success is measured by what we accomplish together.

“Our obligation to the people we serve is too important to place politics and partisanship before progress and results.

“The changes in Washington don’t change this powerful obligation.  Our jobs remain the same.  That is to represent Massachusetts to Washington and not Washington to Massachusetts.

“We can and do disagree.

“But we listen, we learn  and we make the best decisions we can.

“On energy.  Public records.  Pay equity.  Addiction.  Economic development.  And a host of other issues. You’ve compromised with one another, and with us.

“Like other states, we have enormous challenges here in the Commonwealth.  Issues that are destined to create difficult discussions and opportunities for conflict.

“And we live in a time where what you oppose seems much more interesting than what you support.  Where compromising is often viewed as an act of weakness.   When, in fact, it’s a sign of strength.

“Our Founders worried a lot about the tyranny of the majority.

“They designed our form of government to provide a loud voice for minority points of view. They hated the idea of unilateral power. And wanted to force advocates and policy makers, through structure and process, to compromise.

“I’m with them.  As my mom always used to say – ‘You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.’

“It’s one thing to stand in a corner and shout insults at your opponents.  It’s quite another to climb into the arena and fight for common ground.

“I believe it’s this conversation that makes us strong. 

“Our economy is strong because we listen and we learn from the workers and employers who make it go.

“Our communities are strong because local leaders and active citizens listen and learn from the people they serve.

“And our Commonwealth is strong because we listen and we learn from one another. Knowing that our goodwill can make our disagreements a catalyst for better ideas and real results.

“Our team looks forward to working with you on the challenges and opportunities of the next two years.

“We will advocate.  We will engage.  We will learn from you and from others.  And we will all be better for it.

“God Bless This Commonwealth.

“God Bless the United States of America.”


###



Governor Baker, Delegation Return From Economic Development Mission to Israel
Two significant agreements signed solidifying mutually beneficial relationship between Massachusetts and Israel on cybersecurity and digital health

BOSTON-- Today, Governor Charlie Baker and a business delegation, including nearly 50 leaders and over 20 presidents and chief executive officers in digital health, cybersecurity, public policy, academia, and other industry sectors, returned from an Economic Development Mission to Israel. Over the course of four days, the delegation participated in various forums and site visits with Israeli partners to attract more business in the Commonwealth.

"Massachusetts has an opportunity to be a major player in both the digital health and cybersecurity spaces, and we are pleased to have formed new relationships and strengthened others in Israel over the course of this economic development mission,” said Governor Baker. "Digital health innovation, protected through cybersecurity breakthroughs, hold real potential to improve the delivery of care, and we were pleased to undertake this mission to show the global market that Massachusetts does not take a back seat to Silicon Valley when it comes to supporting and growing a high-tech economy."

Highlighting the importance of cybersecurity in digital health care and the protection of connected technologies, the Massachusetts Tech Collaborative and Israel's CyberSpark signed an agreement during a luncheon on the first day of the mission attended by executives from many of Israel's leading cybersecurity firms. The agreement focuses collaboration around applied research projects on healthcare related cyber issues and practical trainings for students in cybersecurity fields, among other key areas. This partnership builds on the work of the Baker-Polito Administration on the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative. 

On Monday, the delegation joined over 400 Israeli business leaders in the fields of cybersecurity and digital health for the U.S – Israel Growth Summit hosted by the Commonwealth at Tel Aviv University. Moderating a discussion entitled "From Startup to Fortune 500 Digital Health Company in the USA," Governor Baker engaged with Athena Health CEO and President, Jonathan Bush, and Optum Inc. CEO, Larry Renfro, to highlight all that Massachusetts has to offer Israeli companies looking for a home away from home. 

During the Summit, Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a member of the Mission delegation, announced a new project center in the "‘start-up nation’ of Israel," formalizing a growing collaboration focused on innovation in the STEM fields. Cybersecurity, water and energy are among the local problems the first WPI students to travel to Israel next year will work to solve. President Leshin said Israel was chosen as a project center because it is a place that "embrace[s] innovation as a means to positively impact people's lives."

Governor Baker, accompanied by First Lady Lauren Baker, Consul General Yehuda Yaakov and Brandeis President Ronald Liebowitz, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the economic futures and relationships of the Commonwealth and Israel. During a productive meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu shared why Israel was an early entrant into the cybersecurity field and the field's importance to Israel’s national security. The two leaders, who both spend time in Cambridge as students, also spoke about the amazing growth of Massachusetts' technology sector.

Renewing a longstanding special relationship between the Commonwealth and the State of Israel, Governor Baker and Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, along with Israeli Economic Minister to North America Inon Elroy, committed each government to strengthening economic, industrial, technological, and commercial cooperation. The new bilateral cooperation agreement engages both Massachusetts and Israel to identify and advance joint research and development efforts that will lead to the commercialization of new products in the global marketplace. 

Employing 500 people in Israel and boasting a dozen active investments in Israel through GE Ventures,General Electric hosted an event attended by nearly 300 from the Israeli tech industry as of the Mission. Governor Baker expressed his excitement about what GE's commitment to Massachusetts means for innovation in the Commonwealth and its relationship with Israel. Michael Idelchik (Vice President of Advanced Technologies, GE Global Research), Mark Hutchinson (CEO of GE Europe) and Oded Meirav (Manager of Israel Technology Center, GE Global Research) discussed GE’s future in the Israeli tech ecosystem, and their reasoning for choosing the Commonwealth as the home for its new global headquarters.

While the delegation was still in Israel, Be'er Sheva, Israel-based cybersecurity company Morphisecannounced that it would headquarter its U.S. operations in Massachusetts. Garnering accolades for its forward-thinking technology that masks corporate memory systems rather than adding layers of digital defense, the startup called Boston “an innovation hub” and the ideal location for it to “put down U.S. roots and set the stage for further growth.”

Other highlights from the Mission:

·       Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a leader in project-based education, announced a new project center in Israel during the US-Israel Growth Summit, formalizing a growing collaboration focused on innovation in the STEM fields;

·       Governor Baker met with cutting-edge cybersecurity firm Team8 executives, touring their facility and learning about how Israel is leading in the field;

·       Governor Baker and members of Massachusetts’ digital health cluster met with Sheba Medical Center’s leadership team, learning about their training programs and touring the medical simulation center; and

·       Visiting MassChallenge Israel, the most recent expansion of the Boston-founded startup accelerator.

The delegation included nearly 40 private sector partners, and members of the Baker-Polito Administration, including Assistant Secretary of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Katie Stebbins, Health Connector Executive Director Louis Gutierrez, MassIT Executive Director Mark Nunnelly and Senior Advisor for Anti-Terrorism and Cyber Security, Han Olsen. The administration partnered with the New England Israel Business Council (NEIBC), with the support of Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) to host the mission at no cost to taxpayers.

Baker-Polito Administration Awards over $1 Million in Community Compact Grants
First Round of Grants will aid over 70 municipalities focused on efficiency & regionalization

BOSTON— Today the Baker-Polito Administration awarded more than $1 million in grants from the Community Compact Cabinet, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, focused on efficiency and regionalization efforts in 72 municipalities and 10 school districts.

“Lieutenant Governor Polito and I formed the Community Compact Cabinet shortly after coming into office as a way for the state to serve as a more reliable partner for our cities and towns,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to announce several grants today that will help cities, towns, and school districts from across the Commonwealth share services and find efficiencies.” 

“The Community Compact Program is an important tool for the state to play a key role in helping local municipalities help themselves,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These regionalization and efficiency grants and previous Community Compact Grant programs focused on best practices and IT initiatives are all aimed at helping municipalities spur future success. The interest in this program and the high quality of applications shows that municipalities are focused on ways to deliver services to taxpayers in a more efficient manner, including regionalization and sharing services. I want to congratulate today’s recipients from across the state and encourage others to consider submitting an application for our second round of grants next month.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration has made supporting the Commonwealth’s communities a top priority, including increased investments in local aid, passage of the Municipal Modernization Act, and the creation of the Community Compact program,” said Kristen Lepore, Secretary of Administration and Finance. “We will continue to work with local governments to ensure they have the resources and tools to provide important municipal services.”

“As a former selectman, I see the Commonwealth’s cities and towns as vital to the people of Massachusetts,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “These grants will help our communities fund key needs and save money. I thank Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for their leadership with the Community Compact Program.”

“This is a great new program,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “Increasing efficiencies in all levels of government must remain one of our top priorities.”

The Community Compact Cabinet’s Efficiency & Regionalization grant program is a new program for Fiscal Year 2017 and provides financial support for governmental entities interested in implementing regionalization and other efficiency initiatives that allow for long-term sustainability. The grants will provide funds for one-time or transition costs for municipalities, regional school districts, school districts considering forming a regional school district or regionalizing services, regional planning agencies and councils of governments interested in such projects.

The first round of applications in 2016 was highly competitive, opening October 15thand closing on November 15th. The next round of applications will be open from January 1st until February 1st, 2017.

Today’s announcement comes one year after the Administration was joined by over one hundred municipal officials to introduce municipal modernization legislation. The Governor later signed the bill, An Act modernizing municipal finance and government (H. 4565), into law improving critical components of the partnership between state and municipal governments by eliminating or updating obsolete laws, promoting local independence, streamlining state oversight and providing municipalities with greater flexibility.

Grant Recipients:

Regionalization and Shared Services

  • Regional Animal Shelter / Animal Control (North Adams, Adams, Williamstown) - $200,000
  • Establish a SPED Collaborative for Northern Berkshire County Districts (North Adams Public Schools, Northern Berkshire School Union, Adams Cheshire Regional School District, Williamstown Public Schools, Lanesboro Public Schools, Mount Greylock Regional School District, Northern Berkshire Regional VocTech) - $148,099
  • Regional Dispatch (Gardner and Athol) - $103,279
  • MAPC Public Health Collaborative (Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop) - $50,150
  • Regionalize Fire and EMS (Winchendon and Templeton) - $50,000
  • MVPC Housing Production Plans (Amesbury, Andover, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Newbury, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, West Newbury) - $50,000
  • Shared Conservation Agent (Easthampton and Southampton) - $48,300
  • Establish the Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District (Deerfield, Greenfield, East Longmeadow Montague, Palmer, South Hadley, Southampton) - $35,310
  • Shared Planning Services (Millville and Uxbridge) - $30,000
  • Shared Highway Services (Phillipston and Royalston) - $12,500
  • Regional Dispatch (Dunstable and Groton) - $9,990

Municipal and School Efficiencies

  • Chicopee City/Schools HR and Facilities Management Integration - $60,000
  • Explore Hull Joining South Shore Regional VocTech - $22,700

Environmental

  • Regional Wastewater Management with Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) (Falmouth, Bourne, Mashpee, Sandwich) - $135,000
  • FRCOG Planning for Climate Resilient Communities in the Deerfield River Watershed (Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe, Shelburne) - $131,280
  • PVPC Regional Approach to Wastewater and Stormwater Management for Connecticut River Communities (Agawam, Chicopee, Granby, Hadley, Ludlow, Northampton, Southwick, Springfield, West Springfield) - $111,550
  • MAPC Regional Approach to Stormwater Management (Acton, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury) - $50,000
About the Community Compact Cabinet:
Formed in January 2015, the Community Compact Cabinet is chaired by Lt. Governor Polito and comprised of the secretaries of Housing & Economic Development, Education, Transportation, and Energy & Environmental Affairs, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services, the Assistant Secretary of Operational Services, and the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth. The Community Compact Cabinet elevates the Administration’s partnerships with cities and towns, and allows the Governor’s Office to work more closely with leaders from all municipalities. The Cabinet champions municipal interests across all executive secretariats and agencies, and develops, in consultation with cities and towns, mutual standards and best practices for both the state and municipalities.  The creation of Community Compacts creates clear standards, expectations and accountability for both partners.

Baker-Polito Administration Completes 24 Energy Efficiency Projects at State Sites
‘Simple Fix’ Projects Will Save Commonwealth $159,000 in Annual Energy Costs

NEWBURYPORT– December 16, 2016– The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the completion of an energy efficiency project at the Plum Island Shellfish Purification Plant and 23 additional “simple fix” efficiency projects at state facilities in Greater Boston and the Northeast that will reduce the Commonwealth’s annual energy costs by $159,000. These ‘Simple Fix’ projects, which take place at smaller sites and which are completed in a relatively short-time frame, are among hundreds of projects that make up the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance’s (DCAMM) efforts to implement efficiency measures at virtually all state properties. The interagency energy and cost-saving initiative is targeting energy efficiency efforts at 700 sites statewide, with Simple Fix projects comprising over two-thirds of the total number of sites. 

“The Simple Fix initiative brings together commonsense solutions from across state government for the benefit of all taxpayers and ratepayers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth is a national leader in energy efficiency and clean energy innovation and our administration is committed to ensuring that Massachusetts takes full advantage of the cost and energy savings currently available.”

“Massachusetts’ state agencies continue to lead by example by adopting clean energy innovations and building practices that support our goal of reducing energy costs, usage, and emissions,”  Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By making simple changes to our state facilities, ratepayers and taxpayers are able to realize substantial savings that allow our agencies to reinvest in essential programs and functions.”

The 24 completed projects received over $230,000 in utility incentives, in addition to a $1.07 million investment by the Commonwealth, with the energy savings surpassing total investment in seven years. The completed projects included measures such as efficient light bulbs and lighting controls, programmable thermostats, insulation and air sealing, water conservation fixtures, and many more. The projects are projected to reduce electricity consumption by more than 865,000kWh annually, equivalent to the electricity use of 114 Massachusetts homes. The Department of Energy Resources, through its Leading by Example Program, is supporting DCAMM’s efforts though technical advice and, in some cases like the Shellfish Purification Plant project, with direct funding for technical studies and project implementation.

“The investment in the Plum Island Shellfish Purification Plant and additional smaller facilities across Massachusetts is representative of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring that all state facilities are operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The interagency cooperation that is a cornerstone of this initiative will allow our environmental agencies to invest their precious resources in conservation and recreation, instead of energy costs.”

“By working across state government, DOER and our partners have been able to dramatically increase the integration of clean energy and energy efficiency innovations at state facilities, saving taxpayers and ratepayers millions,”  Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Judith Judson. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to giving state agencies the tools they need to help secure a clean energy future for the Commonwealth.”

“The Simple Fix program does just what its name implies: it allows DCAMM to make low-cost, high-impact investments in some of the Commonwealth’s smaller facilities, particularly ones that have environmental and recreational uses,” saidDivision of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) Commissioner Carol Gladstone. “This is consistent with the Baker-Polito Administration’s capital investment strategy of modernizing our existing assets.”

The 24 Simple Fix projects include sites in Boston, Brookline, Danvers, Dover, Lawrence, Malden, Nahant, Newburyport, North Reading, Quincy, Revere, and Waltham. Simple Fix projects utilize utility-approved vendors, with streamlined contracting and approval processes, resulting in faster implementation of energy measures.  These regional energy projects took place at rinks, pools, and maintenance facilities, downtown Boston office buildings and a state lab facility. Additional information on the projects can be found here.

Site
Town
Estimated Annual Savings
Energy Efficiency Measures
McCormack State Building 9th Floor
Boston
$571.00
Lighting
Hurley Building
Boston
$8,107.00
Lighting
Eliot House
Revere
$1,160.00
Lighting, sensors and programmable thermostats
Maudslay State Park
Newburyport
$5,425.00
Lighting, sensors, and programmable thermostats
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Malden
$2,546.00
Lighting , sensors and programmable thermostats
Nahant Division Maint. Facility
Nahant
$5,538.00
Lighting and programmable thermostats
Revere Beach Reservation
Revere
$1,190.00
Lighting
Old Colony Div. Maint. Facility
Boston
$8,920.00
Lighting , sensors and programmable thermostats
Constitution Beach
Boston
$8,015.00
Lighting and sensors
Olsen Memorial Pool
Boston
$2,053.00
Lighting, sensors and VFDs
Southwest Corridor Park
Boston
$7,759.00
Lighting, sensors and windows
Veterans Rink
Waltham
$15,009.00
Lighting, sensors, vending misers and VFDs
Lawrence Heritage State Park
Lawrence
$8,500.00
Lighting , sensors and programmable thermostats
DEP Wall Environmental Research Lab
Lawrence
$28,294.00
Lighting, lighting controls
Amelia Earhart Dam
Boston
$5,048.00
Lighting, EMS, Domestic Water
Elm Bank Reservation
Dover
$13,014.00
Lighting, lighting controls, domestic water, VFD's
Plum Island Shellfish Purification Plant
Newburyport
$4,124.00
Boilers, HVAC
Daly Memorial Rink
Brighton
$7,649.00
Lighting
Shea Memorial Rink
Quincy
$6,694.00
Lighting
Paul Cronin Memorial Rink
Revere
$9,348.00
Lighting
West Roxbury Choice Housing
Brookline
$2,129.00
Lighting, EMS, insulation, weatherstripping, HVAC
Choice Housing Brookline
Brookline
$2,248.00
Lighting, domestic water, insulation, weatherstripping
LGR Region III Danvers
Danvers
$4,741.00
Lighting, insulation, weatherstripping
LGR Region III North Reading
North Reading
$1,869.00
Lighting, domestic water, insulation, weatherstripping

The Shellfish Purification Plant supports the depuration, or cleaning and purification, of shellfish collected in Northeast Massachusetts for shellfish farmers and diggers from the Boston Harbor to the Merrimack River. This plant is critically important to the local shellfish industry as it ensures quality control and food safety for the industry. In addition to reducing energy use and costs, the $88,735 investment in the Shellfish facility for heating and cooling equipment will also reduce time and resources spent on maintenance and will improve the facility’s ability to control temperature, eliminating temperature spikes that had adversely affected the performance of temperature-sensitive lab equipment previously.

“We are pleased to get the financial support and expertise of the Department of Energy Resources and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance as we implement sustainable improvements here at the Division of Marine Fisheries Shellfish Purification Plant and our other facilities in the Commonwealth,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George N. Peterson, Jr. “These projects are good for our employees and the environment, and in the long run save taxpayers’ money.”

“Energy efficiency is an important component to ensuring the state park system continues to be operated successfully,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy. “The ‘Simple Fix’ initiative is an excellent example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s dedication to not only capturing valuable savings, but also reducing the Commonwealth’s carbon footprint,”

At Plum Island, the installation of highly efficient cold climate air source heat pumps and the replacement of an oil boiler with cleaner burning propane, eliminated 100 percent of fuel oil use, or over 1,800 gallons annually and will reduce the facility’s Greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent. The Department of Energy Resources provided a $44,058 Leading by Example Renewable Thermal grant to support the heat pump portion of the project that will allow for more targeted heating and cooling in the office and lab spaces, with DCAMM and DFG providing the remaining funds to complete the project.

“I greatly appreciate the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to energy efficiency which is critical not just for the environment, but for the Commonwealth’s bottom line as well,” said State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport).  “The Plum Island Shellfish Purification Plant has boosted the shellfish industry in Massachusetts for decades, generating $4.6 million in revenue for the state annually, and the energy upgrades at the facility will have a positive impact on the local businesses that utilize the plant.”

"The Plum Island Shellfish Purification plant is one of only a few publicly-run shellfish purifications plants in the country," said State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). "We are very lucky to have it in our backyard, and appreciative the Baker-Polito Administration is investing in this facility to make it more energy efficient." 

In addition to the 24 Northeast Massachusetts Simple Fix projects completed as of this month, another 22 DCAMM Simple Fix projects, from Wareham to Williamstown, have been completed since June of this year. In total, these 46 projects will save an estimated $263,000 in energy costs each year and reduce electricity consumption by over 1.3 million kWh, equivalent to the electricity use of 180 Massachusetts homes. To date, 180 of 472 Simple Fix projects have been completed statewide.

The simple fix and broader energy efficiency projects are part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s overall efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of state government operations. Through the Leading by Example program, state facilities have reduced heating oil consumption 78%, or 18 million gallons since 2006, reduced energy use by square foot by 14% since 2004, increased the amount of installed solar on state property from 100kW in 2007 to more than 14 MW in 2016, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions 26% since 2004.


Governor Charlie Baker Meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Pictured, left to right: Brandeis President Ronald Liebowitz, Governor Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Consul General Yehuda Yaakov

Click here for more photos

JERUSALEM – Governor Charlie Baker met yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office. The Governor and Prime Minister, joined by First Lady Lauren Baker, Consul General Yehuda Yaakov and Brandeis President Ronald Liebowitz, discussed the economic futures and relationships of the Commonwealth and Israel, as well as the importance of face to face interactions between leaders when it comes to building relationships in business and politics. 

“I was thrilled to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu and discuss our ongoing commitment to strengthening the strong and unique relationship between Israel and Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker. “The existing economic, political and cultural relationships between the Commonwealth and Israel are important to the flow of ideas, innovation and industry, especially as our administration focuses on growth in the emerging digital health and cybersecurity sectors where Israel has excelled. It was an honor to discuss the amazing growth of Massachusetts' technology sector with the Prime Minister, an MIT graduate who has experienced and seen firsthand the Commonwealth’s success in these industries.”

During a productive meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu shared why Israel was an early entrant into the cyber security field and its importance to Israel’s national security. The Prime Minister spent time in Massachusetts while obtaining both his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He and the Governor discussed the progress that has been made at MIT and in Kendall Square over the years.

At the end of the meeting, President Ronald Liebowitz presented the Prime Minister with a copy of new university research released this week and a replica of the 1892 version of the flag that was hung at Zion Hall in Boston, 57 years before the founding of the modern state of Israel.

To view and download additional photos, click here.

Governor Baker Addresses Israeli Tech Industry at GE Forum
GE executives share reasons for choosing Massachusetts as home for global headquarters

TEL AVIV – Governor Charlie Baker today addressed nearly 300 attendees from the Israeli tech industry at an event hosted by GE as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Economic Development Mission to Israel. GE employs 500 people in Israel and shared their reasoning for choosing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as home for its new global headquarters. Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you all for joining us here today and for welcoming us into your country.

“We are all immensely proud of the special economic and cultural relationship that exists between Massachusetts and the State of Israel.

“This trade mission advances that relationship by forging new connections between the Commonwealth's leading minds in digital health and cyber security, and our Israeli counterparts.

“Together, we will accelerate the pace of technological innovation, cement our leadership in these two critical emerging technology sectors, and connect our citizens to greater prosperity.

“I’m especially pleased to be joined here today by colleagues, based in Israel and the US, from GE.

“Over the past year, GE has opened a new headquarters for its Health Care Life Sciences division in Massachusetts; decided to headquarter its energy and lighting division, Current, in Massachusetts; and selected Massachusetts as the new home for its corporate headquarters. 

“GE’s decision to leave its suburban headquarters, and relocate 800 jobs to Boston’s Seaport, speaks volumes about where GE’s corporate future lies, and about Massachusetts’ economic competitiveness.

“Today, I’d like to address why we knew the Commonwealth would be such a great fit for GE; why we’re so excited about the work that’s going to happen around GE’s new headquarters; and what it means for innovation in Massachusetts, and our relationship with Israel. 

“From the beginning, we were pitching GE on everything that makes Massachusetts special.

“And thanks to the hard work and brains of the folks in our business community, many of whom have traveled to Israel as part of our delegation, we had a lot to pitch GE on.

“This year, Bloomberg and the Milken Institute both named Massachusetts the most innovative state in the US -- and the US Chamber of Commerce has ranked Boston as the region best positioned to lead entrepreneurial growth and innovation in the digital economy.

“We produce the greatest density of science and technology graduates in the U.S., we have the country’s best-educated workforce, and we attract more federal funding for research and development than nearly any other state in the US. 

“The companies and institutions that call Massachusetts home do things no one else in the U.S. can do, and make things no one else in the US can make -- we innovate, we incubate new ideas, and we grow them to scale. 

“Massachusetts boasts an unrivaled startup culture -- we attract more venture capital investment, as a share of GDP, than anywhere else in the US.

“And just as importantly, we’ve built systems for nurturing and accelerating the growth of young companies:

                 “in Greentown Labs, the country’s largest cleantech incubator;

                 “in the Cambridge Innovation Center, which has launched $4 billion in new public companies, and helped companies like Google and Facebook scale up in Massachusetts;

                 “and in MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, and an institution we’re proud to say has successfully expanded to Jerusalem.

                 “Our administration has substantially increased Massachusetts’s investment in workforce development – including $45 million over the next three years in workforce training equipment.

“In close partnership with industry, this investment will prepare the next generation of Massachusetts workers to seize jobs in fields like computer science, robotics, advanced manufacturing, and engineering.

“Four in every ten Massachusetts workers, work in innovation -- and because we boast an innovation ecosystem of unparalleled density, there is no better place in the world for you to expand, and grow to scale, than Massachusetts. 

“We are home to many of the world’s most significant research and medical institutions, and some of the most innovative employers in the world.
We have a rich community of innovators, an unbeatable startup culture, and the incubators, accelerators, funders, and partners to help them grow to scale.

“We thought we had a compelling pitch about the power and diversity of our innovation ecosystem, the talent of our workforce, the vibrancy of our communities, and the promise of the new technologies our researchers unlock every day -- and we’re thrilled that GE agreed.

“When Jeff Immelt announced Boston as GE’s new headquarters, he said he wanted GE to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares GE’s aspirations.

“That’s as strong an endorsement as any government official could ever receive.

“GE’s new Boston headquarters is still under development.

“The full company operation, with 200 corporate staff, and 600 innovators working in the design and development of digital industrial products across Current, GE Digital, robotics, and Life Sciences, is still many months down the road. 

“But even though Jeff and his team have only been working from their temporary space in Boston for a little while now, we’ve already seen the promise of the work that will emanate from GE’s Massachusetts headquarters:

“In collaboration with GE and Massachusetts General Hospital, we have hosted a hackathon that explored new technological solutions to opioid addiction;

                 “For the first time, GE has launched a high-school-level internship in science, technology, engineering, and math, in coordination with our Administration’s STEM council;

                 “GE is engaging the Boston Public Schools in a $25 million effort to build career pipelines, in computer science and engineering;

                 “GE has partnered with Northeastern University to launch a pioneering new bachelor’s degree in Advanced Manufacturing, with the majority of learning happening on the job site;

                 “GE is collaborating with Boston Children’s Hospital, to deliver software solutions that will improve the diagnosis of pediatric brain disorders;

                 “GE is investing $7.5 million to advance MIT’s research into low-carbon energy solutions;

                 “GE has committed to opening a new innovation center, and has signed on as a diamond-level sponsor of MassChallenge;

“And GE is serving on a public-private advisory council that is helping me and my staff cement Massachusetts’s global leadership in digital health.

“GE’s presence in Boston is helping to grow jobs, improve our citizens’ health, and equip residents with the skills they need to secure jobs that unlock the future -- that’s a lot of impact in a few short months. 

“It shows what’s possible, when corporate citizenship and economic development align -- and demonstrates why we’re so excited to have a generation of GE leadership living and working in Massachusetts.

“Our administration is harnessing our innovation ecosystem to drive job growth in new technologies, investing in the development and commercialization of advanced materials and communications systems. 

“We welcomed GE, because GE is building its future in the same areas where Massachusetts is building our economic future: in life sciences and digital health; in cleantech; in advanced manufacturing; and in smart, connected machines and devices. 

“Our strengths, as a state, are GE’s strengths -- that’s why we’re so bullish on our collective futures.

“GE came to Massachusetts on the strengths of our innovation ecosystem, and GE’s work will make our innovation economy exponentially stronger.

“By working in the spaces GE works in, we expect Massachusetts, as a whole, will see greater inflows of talented workers, increased investment in research and development and venture capital, and expanded partnership opportunities for business. 

“And we expect that GE’s new headquarters will help strengthen the deep and enduring partnerships that exist between Massachusetts and Israel.

“The work happening here, at GE in Israel, is impressive -- delivering new advances in health care, cybersecurity, clean energy, and the industrial internet.

“GE Ventures, which will have a major Boston presence, has a dozen active investments in Israel.

“The connections that exist between GE and Israel -- in research, and in investment relationships -- are the same types of connections that we are here, in Israel, to advance.

“We are here to advance collaborative efforts on research and business development.

“We are here to increase the flow of investment between our two states, and to invite Israeli companies to grow in Massachusetts.
The deep, multi-layered ties between GE’s American and Israeli operations, and GE’s recent commitment to Massachusetts, make the bilateral innovation agenda we are advancing here even more significant. 

“GE makes those ties even more meaningful, forges stronger connection points, and expands the opportunities for collaboration that exist between our two states.”

Governor Baker and Israeli Chief Scientist Hasson Announce Bilateral Agreement to Spur Cooperation in Research and Development


TEL AVIV – Today, Governor Charlie Baker joined Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson and Economic Minister to North America Inon Elroy to announce a bilateral cooperation agreement between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Israel on partnerships in research and business development.

"This bilateral agreement reaffirms Massachusetts's special relationship with the State of Israel by renewing our commitment to work with our Israeli partners on research and business development," said Governor Baker. "By providing a new foundation for cooperative research and development activities, this agreement will enhance the Commonwealth's economic competitiveness, spur new innovations in emerging technology fields, and advance our commitment to growing jobs across Massachusetts." 

"The Israel-Massachusetts ongoing partnership is an essential pillar in R&D collaboration,” said Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy of the State of Israel. “These strong links play an important role in promoting innovation and creating innovative solutions. I am assured both industries, from Israel and Massachusetts, will benefit from such relations and will generate high quality innovative projects leading to the creation of strong economic ties. "
The new cooperation agreement between the two governments commits Massachusetts and Israel to strengthening their economic, industrial, technological, and commercial cooperation, by identifying and advancing joint research and development efforts that will lead to the commercialization of new products, in the global marketplace. The agreement also facilitates bilateral business development efforts. 

The Governor, Chief Scientist and Economic Minister met today for a discussion on government’s role in fostering innovation economies through the development of commercial research and public private partnerships prior to announcing the agreement. The agreement comes as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Economic Development Mission to Israel to focus on leveraging the Commonwealth’s unique and innovative economic climate to welcome Israel’s global leadership in cybersecurity and digital health.

The mission builds on the Commonwealth’s unique and existing relationship with Israel. According to the NEIBC’s 3rd edition economic impact study, Israeli-founded companies in Massachusetts booked over $9 billion in revenue in 2015 – nearly 4 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – and employed 9,000 workers. The study also found that the growth rate of Israeli companies in Massachusetts is four times that of the Massachusetts economy as a whole.




BOSTON – On December 13th, Governor Charlie Baker will participate in a discussion on government’s role in fostering innovation economies through the development of commercial research and public private partnerships, with Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson.

He will then address the General Electric (GE) Israel Breakfast where Michael Idelchik, Vice President of Advanced Technologies, GE Global Research, Mark Hutchinson, CEO of GE Europe and Oded Meirav, Manager of Israel Technology Center, GE Global Research will discuss with attendees GE’s future in the Israeli tech ecosystem, and reasoning for choosing the Commonwealth as the home for its new global headquarters. GE employs 500 people in Israel.

After that, he will participate in a Memorial Ceremony and Wreath Laying at Yad Vashem.

Later, he will attend a Social Entrepreneurship Dinner with delegation members and the leaders of MAOZ, including Chairman Jeff Swartz. MAOZ is an organization which seeks to address the challenges facing the State of Israel’s socio-economic future by building a diverse network of leaders who work together to advance meaningful initiatives and reforms.


Governor Baker Moderates Digital Health Discussion at U.S.- Israel Growth Summit

TEL AVIV – Governor Charlie Baker today moderated a discussion between Athena Health CEO and President, Jonathan Bush, and Optum Inc. CEO, Larry Renfro, entitled “From Startup to Fortune 500 Digital Health Company in the USA” at the U.S.-Israel Growth Summit held at Tel Aviv University. The U.S.-Israel Growth Summit brings an unprecedented number of CEOs, CIOs, government officials, and higher education officials together with Israeli digital health and cybersecurity businesses of all sizes for the first time ever. 

“Our administration is committed to investing in the revolutionary technologies that will underpin the next generation of digital health developments,” said Governor Baker. “Showcasing two very successful members of the Massachusetts digital health economy and highlighting our talent pool, innovative economy, investment opportunities, and collaborative environment before the Israeli business community was a tremendous opportunity.” 

“Together with Governor Baker and the members of the Massachusetts Digital Health Council, we are looking forward to exploring the enormous technological innovations taking place in Israel and across other geographic and market sectors,” said Jonathan Bush, CEO of athenahealth, “Massachusetts continues to be a breeding ground for healthcare talent and breakthroughs. Now, as we experience the effects of networks and the power of the cloud – we have the opportunity to blend our existing knowledge with global technology expertise and capabilities to drive new levels of clinical and financial performance across the healthcare industry."
“We know from experience that bringing Israeli and Bay State leaders together, face to face, is a critically important means of forging strong bonds and real, bilateral economic engagement over the long term,” said Dan Trajman, CEO of the New England Israel Business Council. “Our mission's particular focus on digital health is a testament to the many synergies and opportunities presented by innovators in Israel and Massachusetts that are making tremendous strides in this field."
The half-day conference showcased Massachusetts’ burgeoning digital health and cybersecurity industries. In January, the Governor announced a comprehensive public-private initiative aimed at making Massachusetts the national leader in digital health. Massachusetts’ existing strength in medical devices, information technology, health care delivery, the life sciences, and insurance, combined with the region’s research leadership in emerging fields like big data, advanced materials, and the internet of things, puts the Commonwealth Massachusetts in a unique position to capitalize on the technological convergence trends that are creating digital health. 

Earlier this year, Bloomberg and the Milken Institute named Massachusetts the most innovative state in the country and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Boston as the place best positioned to lead the digital economy.

A strong cybersecurity underpinning is also necessary for digital health to reach its potential. Home to thirty-five of the most innovative cybersecurity companies in the country and several advanced academic programs focused on the topic, Massachusetts is a natural partner and presents tremendous opportunity for Israeli companies seeking foreign customers or a location to grow to scale outside of their country. More than 200 Israeli-founded businesses already operate in greater Boston, generating $9.3 billion worth of revenue, which accounted for 4% of the state’s GDP in 2015.

Cybersecurity is a foundational piece for Massachusetts’ larger emerging technology economy. The Commonwealth’s researchers and employers are advancing a world where many daily functions, from using a medical device, to self-driving cars, to heavy industrial machinery, are wired to the internet and in need of electronic security.


The Summit was organized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Economic Mission to Israel, led by Governor Baker and the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, with an aim on connecting the Israeli digital health and cybersecurity businesses ecosystem with high-ranking members of the delegation. Several topics were discussed throughout the Summit in addition to cybersecurity and digital health, including: U.S. market access, emerging trends, industry challenges, the investment landscape, and opportunities for growth. 

Baker-Polito Administration Reaches Agreement with Transportation Network Companies to Begin Implementation of Nation's Most Comprehensive State Background Checks
Voluntary agreements with Uber and Lyft begins implementation of public safety requirements of new TNC law one year ahead of schedule

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that the two largest Transportation Network Companies (TNC) in Massachusetts have entered into agreements with the state, ensuring the immediate implementation of the most stringent ride-for-hire background check system of any state in the country. 

The agreements were executed individually between the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and Uber and Lyft. The agreements require the companies to begin background checks for all TNC drivers operating within the Commonwealth by January 6, 2017, and guarantees that every TNC driver in the Commonwealth will have passed the state background check no later than April 3, 2017.  

“The safety and security of the riding public is our top priority, and I am pleased this agreement will set a national standard for the most comprehensive state background checks for TNC drivers in the country,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the signing of these agreements, consumers who take advantage of the innovative technology services provided by Transportation Network Companies can have confidence that the driver has undergone a thorough background check that includes both criminal and driving records.”

Background checks will begin a year ahead of schedule, highlighting the administration’s commitment to prioritizing the safety of consumers utilizing transportation network services in accordance with An Act Regulating Transportation Network Companies.

“It is incredibly important that drivers employed with Transportation Network Companies are fully vetted before transporting people, along with their families, to their destinations,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By taking proactive steps with Uber and Lyft, our Administration is underscoring our dedication to safe travel options for all.”

Under the voluntary agreements, background checks will be conducted by the DPU’s newly created Transportation Network Company Division. Drivers employed by Uber and Lyft will undergo a full state Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background check, including confirmation that the driver is not a registered sex offender. Additionally, drivers will be subjected to a bi-annual national commercial background check conducted by the TNC companies. Drivers who do not meet the suitability standards set forth in the agreements will not be permitted to operate in Massachusetts.
  
“Transportation network companies have driven a tremendous amount of change in this industry, and with that change comes a responsibility to make sure that passengers using these services are as safe as they can be,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “I am pleased that the leading transportation network companies have agreed to have their drivers undergo a full state Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background check.”

In August, Governor Charlie Baker signed bipartisan legislation that created a modern statewide regulatory framework for TNCs within Massachusetts. The legislation, H. 4570, includes several components for the protection of consumers including support for transparent pricing, properly marked and inspected vehicles, clear insurance standards, authorization of service at Boston Logan International Airport and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), and the strongest state background check requirements in the nation.

“Public safety is the highest priority of the Department of Public Utilities’ Transportation Network Company Division,” said Department of Public Utilities Chairman Angela O’Connor. “By entering into these agreements, the TNC Division can immediately implement a comprehensive background check system that will protect consumers and enhance public safety, while allowing cutting edge technology companies to succeed here in the Commonwealth.”

As public safety aspects are implemented under these agreements, the DPU will continue to prepare draft regulations for public review and comment in 2017, ensuring that all remaining aspects of the TNC law are implemented on schedule.  

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $250,000 in Conservation District Innovation Grants

BOSTON - November 28, 2016 - The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a total of $250,000 in grant funding for eight of Massachusetts’ 13 conservation districts located throughout the Commonwealth. Conservation districts are not for profit entities comprised of locally elected boards dedicated to the conservation of natural resources within a region or area, that work cooperatively with municipal, state and federal agencies to preserve and protect natural resources at the local level by promoting best management land practices.

“Conservation District Innovation Grants will not only give financial support to local conservation districts who work incredibly hard to promote good stewardship practices within the Commonwealth, but they also underscore our administration’s commitment to serving as a reliable partner to cities, towns and local entities like these districts,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

“The Baker-Polito Administration places a high priority on taking care of the soil, water and other natural resources in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By providing these grants, we‘re supporting local grass roots organizations in communities throughout the Commonwealth and their important mission to conserve our natural resources for future generations to benefit from.”

The Conservation District Innovation Grant funds are provided by the 2014 Environmental Bond Bill, and distributed by the Division of Conservation Services’ (DCS) State Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water & Related Resources within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).

“Protecting our state’s natural resources is an important part of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ mission, and I am proud that these grants will truly benefit worthwhile causes throughout our state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.“Importantly, these funds provide districts critical financial support as they prioritize vital land conservation projects across the Commonwealth.”

Historically, conservation districts formed not long after the 1930s’ “Dust Bowl” as a way to promote and implement good land stewardship practices. Today, almost 3,000 conservation districts are organized throughout the country and within every state. Work conducted by conservation districts includes conservation planning assistance on public and private property, soil survey reports, conservation tree seedling sales, training workshops, sediment and erosion control technical assistance, and conservation education programs.

The following districts are recipients of the Conservation District Innovation Grant Awards:

Conservation District
Grant Proposals
District
Project Description
Funding
Cape Cod
This project will continue work on the Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project Plan. Existing projects will be inspected and inventoried. Additionally, the implementation of remaining projects will be prioritized.
$42,000
Worcester
The CDI will promote healthy soils and conservation practices. Additionally, assistance to landowners will provided to help navigate nutrient management regulations by facilitating testing and interpretation of results. Conservation and nutrient management plans will be developed with a special focus on land within the Long Island Sound watershed.
$42,000
Franklin
A pilot erosion hazard mapping tool for use at a municipal scale will be developed. This tool will be based off of The Nature Conservancy's Active River Area system but on a much smaller scale, and fine-tuned for use within single river corridors.
$42,000
Hampden/Hampshire
The Healthy Watershed Initiative intends to provide outreach, education, and technical assistance to Hampden and Hampshire county landowners to address issues such as soil health within the Lake Warner/Mill River area.
$42,000
Plymouth
The CDI grant will facilitate the development of a pollinator habitat demonstration site located at the USDA/NRCS Service Center in West Wareham. The total area is approximately a half acre of native vegetation, and the project will provide educational and training opportunities for farmers throughout the region.
$42,000
Dukes
The CDI will focus on the 500 acre Tisbury Great Pond watershed and the agricultural impacts from nitrogen and other practices as previously prioritized in the Mass. Estuaries Project. Additionally, the funding will help develop conservation plans and explore opportunities for farmers to receive funding assistance.
$26,000
Berkshire
The CDI “Basic” level grant will be combined with District funds and used to hire a part-time administrator to develop work plans, budgets, and a five year strategic plan.
$7,000
Middlesex
The “Basic” level grant will used to work with Agricultural Commissions and urban agricultural groups to preserve agricultural land, support local food production, and increase access to land for beginning farmers.
$7,000

“As stewards of the environment we have a duty to protect our natural resources by supporting the work of local Conservation Districts,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “The grant funding for these organizations will help protect and conserve our natural environment for future generations.”

“These innovation grants are another example of the commitment that the Baker administration has made to environmental preservation,” said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). “These funds will help promote conservation efforts at the local level and advance projects that promote our natural resources. I applaud Governor Baker and his team for their dedication to this effort.”

“As Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, I made it a priority to include funding for conservation districts in the 2014 Environmental Bond Bill,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer). “Conservation districts play an important role in preserving natural resources and I commend the Baker-Polito Administration for making the commitment to support them.”

“I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for its commitment to improving conservation practices across the Commonwealth,” said State Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “I am pleased that Worcester is a recipient of a Conservation District Innovation Grant and look forward to seeing how assistance to landowners will be provided and how conservation and nutrient management plans will be developed.”

“I thank Secretary Beaton and the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting these innovative land stewardship initiatives through our region's Conservation Districts,” said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). “The protection and conservation of property, especially productive agricultural lands, through improved management of our rivers and waterways is a smart investment for both the environment and our region's economy.”

“These grant awards will help to support many important farming and conservation initiatives, not only in Middlesex County, but throughout the Commonwealth,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading).  “I commend Secretary Beaton and the Baker-Polito Administration for their continuing efforts to protect our natural resources for both current and future generations.”



Governor Baker Addresses Progress and Future of MBTA Reforms as Fiscal and Management Control Board Completes First Year


BOSTON -- Governor Charlie Baker today delivered remarks regarding the reforms, progress and future of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) as the agency's Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) completes the first year since its enactment in 2015. Remarks as prepared for delivery:


“Good morning.  It’s been a year since the Fiscal and Management Control Board of the MBTA met for the first time.

“We’ve all learned a lot. And done a lot. But much more remains to be done.

“This story began about 18 months ago – 20 days after we took office.

“For 30 days – from the end of January, 2015 through the end of February, it snowed. Nine feet in all.  The T stopped running for a week.  And then staggered forward for the next several months.  An expert panel did a quick, but thorough, review on what happened, and they concluded – and I quote – ‘The catastrophic winter breakdowns were symptomatic of structural problems that require fundamental change in virtually all aspects of the MBTA.’

“Their 9 key findings – just words on page 6 of their April 2015 report – have proven to be profoundly prophetic:

“The T has an unsustainable operating budget,

“Has been unable to spend available capital dollars, and therefore underinvests in its core system,

“Struggles to get projects of all types out the door,

“Has weak workplace customs and practices,

“Has a shortsighted expansion program,

“Is hobbled by frequent leadership changes and organizational insularity,

“Lacks customer focus,

“Has flawed procurement and contracting processes,

“Is not accountable to the Governor or the Legislature, even though the state funds more than half its operating budget.

“What they did not say is that the T was underfunded.  It wasn’t.  It isn’t.  It won’t be.

“What it was, was poorly led and horribly managed. There are a lot of terrific people working at the T.  But it was still broken.

“Thankfully, the legislature responded to this crisis by supporting our call for the creation of the Fiscal and Management Control Board, and a number of other key operational reforms.

“They incorporated them into FY 2016 budget, which I signed into law in mid-July of last year.

“Here’s what we’ve learned and what we’ve done since then:

“The good news?  Every day, the T manages to safely move over a million riders from where they are to where they need to go.  And there is spectacular room for improvement.

“The bad news?  The T was in – and is still in – very tough shape.  As time went by, and one incredible – almost unbelievable – story after another landed on top of us, I turned to Steve Kadish – a guy I had worked with on the Harvard Pilgrim turnaround in the late 1990s – and said something I thought I would never ever say: ’This place is in worse shape than Harvard Pilgrim was in back in 1999 when it went into receivership.’

“There is very little 21st century business process. Procurement is on paper.  One very large vendor told Brian Shortsleeve that he would be happy to give the T a discount, but only if the T ordered off their website like every other enterprise customer in North America. 

“Benefits enrollment is on paper. The process by which bus drivers pick which routes they will drive is on paper – even though software was purchased years ago to automate the process.  Supervisors at bus garages enter data on who is or isn't working, dropped trips, etc. on handwritten 11 by 17 sheets of paper every day.  Since the T keeps those paper records for years, at some garages they are actually stored in trailers, since there is no room in the bus garages to store them.

“Turnarounds –and this is a turnaround – take years. The first step is usually about putting out immediate fires.  Grabbing low hanging fruit.  And stalling the downward slide into the abyss.  Step Two is about cranking the crank.  Climbing back up the hill.  Creating positive movement where there is none.  And Step Three is usually when the work of steps One and Two starts to create real momentum.  We have a very long way to go.  We are at the start of Step Two.

“So let’s talk about some of the fires.

“The T’s operating expense had gone up 5% per year for the past fifteen years – far faster than the rate of inflation – with virtually no increase in ridership.  It was more expensive than virtually every other transit system in the country, and its budget only worked going forward if the Commonwealth wrote bigger and bigger checks to support it.

“Thankfully, the T flatlined the year over year growth in its operating budget this past year – delivering FY 2016 at virtually the same cost as FY 2015.  First time in almost 20 years.  This does two things.  First, it limits the draw on state government resources that goes beyond the $1 billion from the sales tax, the $187 MM in annual contract assistance and $160 MM from cities and towns.  Second, it begins to make it possible for the T to invest operating savings in pay as you go capital projects.

“Second, for years, the T never spent its allocated capital budget.  Think about that.  All this very old infrastructure, and the T was never able to spend all the money it had to upgrade it.

“For the next five years, the T will double the $$ it spends on signals, switches, tracks, power systems, cabling, trains and buses.  This deficiency is where many of the T’s reliability problems come from.  Under Jeff Gonneville’s leadership, the Operations folks do a magnificent job of recovery every single day.  But they are working with signals, switches, cables and power systems that are older than I am, and in some cases, older than my dad.

“Third, the T’s administrative processes are light-years behind the times.

“The T’s history of not managing overtime and unanticipated absences is well known.  Its FMLA certification in 2015 was three times higher than other state agencies.  On bus service alone, this led to 40,455 dropped bus trips last year.

“For the first six months of 2016, operator absenteeism is down nearly 25% and total overtime expense is down by over 30%.  Weekday dropped bus trips are down by over a third – which means the number of bus trips during the first six months of this year is up by almost 9,500 rides over last year.  That’s progress.  But the T’s usage of 5 or more days of FMLA rate is still twice as high as the executive branch.

“Much of what the T buys, the state already buys, usually with better prices and terms.  But the T has underutilized the state’s contracts.

“Going forward, the T will use state contracts to purchase millions of dollars worth of goods and services – thereby saving time and money every single year.

“The T’s recent history on major procurements has been underwhelming.  Almost everyone has its own major problems and requires after the fact fixes.  Locomotives.  The Commuter Rail contract.  The Green Line Extension.  Phone and wireless service, and Parking lots, just to name a few.

“We suspended the Green Line Extension and completely redesigned it, saving the T almost $1 billion.  Version 2.0 is now before the Feds for their review.  Hundreds of unused – but paid for – wireless devices were shut off, saving $500,000 a year.  The commuter rail contract has been renegotiated, incorporating key elements that were missing before, and focusing on customer experience.  Advertising procurements have been revamped, and annual revenue jumped by over 30% year to date. That includes an innovative digital advertising program that has resulted in over 100% growth in digital revenue.

“Fourth, unlike other transit systems in America, the T has never been able to reconcile cash to calculated collections, and its money management process contains serious risks.  In fact, someone cut sunroofs into two of the armored trucks used by the T to transport money, the doors to the money room were rarely locked, no one wore the required uniform, and lunch boxes were never inspected.

“All of the issues raised by the audit that was done are being addressed for the near term and the T plans to contract this service out to a firm that focuses on moving and managing cash.

“Fifth, the T’s warehouse is a colossal underperformer – delivering parts 4 or more business days after the order – while other suppliers deliver parts in less than a day.  Other systems can match actual inventory to purchased inventory 95% of the time, while the T can only do it 56% of the time.

“The T plans to put this out to bid soon duplicating the service model used by almost every other public transportation system in the country.

“Sixth, its pension system is in freefall.  A $1.5 billion system with a $1 billion shortfall that is losing $89 MM a year in assets.  This really shouldn’t be a surprise, since eligible employees paid in $47,000 in contributions, and take out $1.65 MM in pension and healthcare benefits.  After its recent round of reforms, new employees will contribute $67,000 to take out $1.49 MM in benefits.  Still a huge problem.

“We believe the T’s pension system cannot survive as a standalone entity, and will be recommending it be managed by the state’s PRIM system when the legislature returns in January.

“Seventh, the T lacked many of the basic management reports and daily metrics of operation that would be necessary to determine how the system was doing in meeting the needs and expectations of its riders.

“Much work has been done to build daily dashboards and operating metrics for workers, managers, and riders.  There is far more public information for riders than there used to be, and much more reliable and useable metrics for T staff. But more needs to be done here, and additional work is under development.

“Eighth, the T was not prepared for any winter in 2015, much less the winter we had.  The third rail on the Red and Orange Lines was in terrible shape, its snow removal equipment was decades old and in disrepair, and no one had inspected the heating coils on the third rail for a long time.

“The above ground third rail has been replaced, dozens of attachable snow plows have been acquired, and a number of supersized, free standing snow plows have also been purchased.  We were so ready for winter in 2016, Mother Nature gave us a pass. I fully expect to see her again in 2017.

“Finally, for the first time in a long time, the T is being managed.  New leadership is in place.  A new General Manager, Chief Administrator, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Procurement Officer.  There is a Chief Technology Officer for the first time ever.  In both the warehouse and the cash room, executive managers -- not union members, but managers accountable to the General Manager -- have been put in place.

“A third party leave administrator has been hired, so that when employees call in for leaves or unscheduled absences, their requests will be processed by specialists, not by a foreman or a supervisor – who needs to focus on running the system.

“The T is being governed by a board that is not a rubber stamp.  In its first year, the FMCB met 52 times and staff made 274 presentations.  The FMCB conducted its oversight in the glare of the public and media, and opened every single meeting with public comment sessions, some of which ran over an hour. They are without a doubt the five hardest working volunteers in state government and without them, this past year would not be possible. The FMCB also made tough decisions – cancelling a late night service pilot and raising fares, but changing the fare construct to address equity concerns for bus riders, students and users of The Ride.

“The Ride is a case study in the new approach to decision making.  When the FMCB first started meeting, the cost of the Ride was exploding.  It forced a conversation about what to do about it.  Advocates repeatedly came to FMCB meetings to make their case for a more nuanced approach to solve the problem – beyond cutting service and raising fares. Eventually, they acknowledged the need to save money and volunteered to work with the T toward a specific savings goal of $10 MM.

“Since then, the T has put in place a new contract for an integrated RIDE call center that will save money and provide better service.  It has also launched pilot programs that will save money using taxis and on-demand services that will provide Ride customers with better service – because they will not have to book trips 24 hours in advance.

“The T is also putting safety first.  For years, the T failed to meet a federal mandate to install Positive Train Control on the commuter rail system, hoping that no one would enforce a December 2015 compliance deadline that was set years ago.  After a horrific crash in Philadelphia made it obvious that PTC was a must, the T put together a finance plan and successfully applied for two different federal loan programs to ensure that the MBTA will be in compliance with the recently-extended compliance deadlines.

“The T had similarly postponed making a decision on how to respond to National Transportation Safety Board findings from two Green Line collisions.  The new five year capital plan includes funding for a needed Green Line collision avoidance system.

“The T is also becoming more nimble.  On June 24th, a fire on the Longfellow Bridge in a power cable occurred around two o’clock in the morning.  Had that fire occurred in 2015 rather than in 2016, the T would have run buses instead of the Red Line for the morning rush hour, and then acted to repair the damage.  And the buses would have run from Harvard Square to Broadway, due to a combination of how the power system is segmented and where Red Line trains can turn around.  And it would have been a mess.

“Instead, cable repairs began immediately, and a bus bridge was put into place.  The buses only had to operate from Kendall Square to Park Street, because the T had installed relatively simple traction power supply switches, which allow shorter segments of the Red Line to be shut down at any one time.

“And the repairs were done so efficiently, the entire Red Line was operational by 7 AM.

“So what’s up for this year?  Much of it will focus on more of the same – and it should.

“Aggressive focus on operating expenses and operating performance.  Any savings can and will be plowed back into pay as you go capital investments or other opportunities to improve rider experience.

“The T has to deploy available capital funds and invest in its infrastructure.  More specifically, it needs to reinvent design and construction processes to deliver more projects on time and on budget and performing as expected.

“Bid out the money room and the warehouse to determine if the T can both save money and improve performance.  All indications about market standards suggest the answer to both questions will be yes.

“Don’t be afraid to change how services are delivered and vehicles are maintained.  Actively seek out private partners – even let them make unsolicited proposals – to help the T find new and smarter ways to deliver for its customers.

“Find some more talented people to manage some of its critical functions.  The FMCB and the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation have both indicated that the T does not have the managerial depth it requires to deliver on its stated agenda.

“Improve service in ways that customers can see.  There is too much work to be done at the T to expect gigantic service improvements immediately, but there are things the T can be doing every day to improve operating performance and the reliability of its services.

“One final thought.  There are many talented, committed and dedicated people working at the T.  They have been badly let down by a culture from the top of the organization to the bottom that has allowed the T to deteriorate – operationally and financially – over a long period of time.

“Climbing out of this mess will take time and tons of work.  On that we can all agree.  But it will also take a change in attitude at every level throughout the T.  On almost every benchmark imaginable, the T underperforms against its peers.  Peers that have the same unions and in many cases, very similar tasks and equipment.  The T is among the few state agencies left in Massachusetts where people routinely get paid overtime even if they work less than 40 hours a week.

“I don’t care if a service is provided publicly or privately.  What I care about is performance, productivity and ensuring the money riders, taxpayers and cities and towns pay in to the system is well managed.  The old way of doing things at the T is no longer viable or sensible. 

“Everybody wins if the T delivers a reliable, dependable, affordable service to the region’s riders.  Everybody wins if the T gets its act together operationally and financially.  And everybody wins if the T takes the task of becoming a 21st century public transportation system to heart, and works hard to learn from each other, and from its peers.

“Thanks very much.”

Governor Baker Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Proposal
$39.6 billion budget invests in education, workforce development, and local aid without raising taxes; budgets for Stabilization Fund deposit and significantly reduces reliance on one-time solutions

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration filed its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), known as “House 2,” which continues the multi-year effort of bringing state spending in line with revenues, significantly reducing the state’s reliance on one-time solutions, and budgeting for a sizable deposit into the stabilization fund. The administration’s plan recommends key investments in education, local aid, addressing substance misuse, workforce development, transportation, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF), all without raising taxes or fees.

“This year’s budget sets the table for fiscal responsibility and a strong economic environment, without raising taxes or fees on our hardworking families,” said Governor Baker.  “Our proposal makes targeted investments in transportation, education, the Department of Children and Families and fulfills our commitment to cities and towns to bolster local aid as we aim to make Massachusetts great in every community.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration understands we can only be as strong as the communities we serve and our budget plan increases local aid and education funding, including a new IT program for the Community Compact Cabinet,”said Lt. Governor Polito. “As chair of the Governor’s Council to address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, I am also pleased to announce new investments to support law enforcement training to strengthen resources and make our communities safer for families across the Commonwealth.”  

“This budget proposal continues the administration’s progress to getting the Commonwealth back on the path of fiscal sustainability,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore.  “The state’s long term fiscal health depends on the Commonwealth getting to structural balance and our ability to put money into the Stabilization Fund while the economy is growing.”


INVESTING IN MASSACHUSETTS

Investing in Great Communities:
·       Increases unrestricted local aid by 4.3%, equal to 100% of the consensus revenue growth rate for state tax revenue. 
·       Continues the Community Compact program to provide technical assistance to over 100 communities in financial planning, economic development, regionalization and a new program to create a domestic violence prevention training toolkit for communities.
·       Funds the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Fun and Safe Summer Program, to extend hours and offer safe, productive alternatives for families at certain pools and athletic complexes in the Commonwealth’s cities.
·       Funds over 20 million meals through the Department of Agricultural Resources’ Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program for members of the Commonwealth in need.
·       Provides $2 million in assistance to the Department of Veterans Services for housing programs. 
·       $3 million of Urban Agenda grants will fund grassroots economic development in urban communities and unlock community-driven responses to local economic opportunities through partnership building, problem solving, and shared accountability.
·       Provides $200,000 for an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under the Governor’s Office and Executive Office for Administration and Finance to engage and assist community, faith-based, and not-for-profit organizations in identifying resources that advance their service offerings and promote volunteerism, civic engagement, and grassroots community development.
Making Massachusetts Schools Great:
·       Increases Chapter 70 education funding by $72.1 million.
·       Supports $18.6 million for a redesigned quality kindergarten grant program to assist communities in achieving tuition-free, full-day kindergarten.
·       Adds over $20 million for a revised charter school reimbursement formula to reimburse towns.
·       Supports the development of a next generation MCAS with $5.6 million.
·       Directs funds to support children and families who are most at risk in a number of ways, including:
o   $8.3 million for over 1,500 vouchers for the Department of Transitional Assistance’s (DTA) Stabilizing the Working Poor initiative;
o   $4.3 million to fund 600 childcare vouchers for children in DCF care;
o   $1 million for quality improvements at Early Education and Care for better assessments, accreditation assistance, and professional development.
Preparing Massachusetts Workers for Great Jobs:
·       More than $136 million in the proposal is dedicated to workforce training initiatives across several secretariats, including:
o   $5 million to support recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Persons Facing Chronically Higher Rates of Unemployment;
o   $17 million for career technical education and STEM programs;
o   $11.5 million for the Summer Jobs for At Risk Youth program;
o   $12 million for the Pathways to Self-Sufficiency Program.
Battling the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic:
·       Funds 150 adult residential treatment beds that will come online to help address the Commonwealth’s substance misuse epidemic.
·        Over $140 million to support investments in substance misuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services at the Department of Public Health (DPH).
·       $13 million in new funding for the Department of Mental Health (DMH) will support 45 substance use treatment beds (beyond the 150) at the Taunton State Hospital, in order to end the long standing practice of civilly committing women to MCI-Framingham. 
Investing in the Department of Children and Families:
·       The Department of Children and Families will receive $30.5 million in new funding under the Governor’s proposal.
·       The FY17 budget supports 281 new hires at DCF, which will mark 600 new employees at the agency since the beginning of the Baker-Polito Administration.
·       Another $5 million in new funding will go toward initiatives to decouple area offices, achieve a 4:1 ratio of supervisors to area program managers, and support additional domestic violence and substance abuse specialists.
Investing in Public Transportation:
·       As recommended by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, House 2 directs $187 million in additional contract assistance to the MBTA, sustaining the 50% ($64 million) increase made in FY16 – in addition to the $1.001B the T will receive from sales tax and other general revenue.
·       $500,000 increase for reforms at the Registry of Motor Vehicles to reduce wait times and update IT systems. 
Public Safety Support:
·       Funding for new positions at the State Police crime lab, the Sex Offender Registry Board, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 
·       The FY17 budget proposal also provides $1.4 million to aid state and local police in their fight against drug traffickers, particularly in many Gateway Cities.  

FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE REFORMS

·       The budget plans for at least a $206 million deposit into the state’s Stabilization Fund. The deposit could increase to $282.5 million should the Mass Gaming Commission issue a license to the Region C (Southeastern, MA) Facility in FY17. 
·       The FY17 House 2 budget proposal makes significant progress towards eliminating the long-term structural imbalance identified last year by reducing the identified gap from $1.8 billion in FY16 to $635 million in FY17. 
·       The use of one-time budget solutions is down by nearly $1 billion over the past two years, from $1.2 billion in FY15 to $253 million in FY17.
·       Spending growth in this proposal is around 3.5% above the FY16 General Appropriations Act and continues progress in keeping MassHealth spending, which accounts for over one-third of the state budget, to 5% gross growth over the FY16 GAA.
·       Along with announcing today’s budget proposal, the Governor simultaneously filed a bill that would largely return the film tax to its original form by reinstituting a per-project cap and making them no longer refundable. The budget proposes reinvesting the savings from this bill into increasing the supply of affordable and workforce housing and improving the state’s economic competitiveness and job growth opportunities.


Baker-Polito Administration Announces Housing Vouchers For Homeless Veterans

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a program that will provide homeless veterans with housing services. Under the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, the administration is allocating 65 rental vouchers to chronically homeless veterans who were identified by the local veterans’ committees across the Commonwealth. These vouchers can be used to pay for rental units and will assist the Commonwealth in its goal of ending veteran’s homelessness.

“Veterans Day is not only a day to recognize the invaluable contribution our veterans have made to our state and our country, but to consider the services necessary to enable their success later in life,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “What better way to repay our veterans for their sacrifices than to ensure they have a place to call their own.”

To receive vouchers, individuals were identified by the local Continuum of Care’s (CoC)’s veterans’ committees. The CoC’s worked closely with the Department of Veterans Services to create accurate lists of individuals who would immediately benefit from this community-based response to veteran homelessness.

Governor Dean Backs Governor Baker’s Hydro Energy Bill 
Hydropower Legislation was Filed to Increase Access to Clean, Cost-Effective Renewable Energy

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton met with former Vermont Governor Howard Dean to discuss the Baker-Polito Administrations hydropower energy legislation that was filed earlier this year. During a media availability immediately following the meeting, Governor Dean backed the bill, calling it groundbreaking and an extraordinary opportunity" to support non-carbon emitting power. 

Governor Baker and Governor Dean
Room 360Massachusetts State House
October 28, 2015




Transcription:
GOVERNOR BAKER: He expressed tremendous optimism about Hydro as a big part and a significant part of both a Massachusetts and New England region energy strategy, based on his experience in Vermont.  He gave me some very good advice about how that could work and I said you know what, I really would rather have this as a broader conversation.

GOVERNOR DEAN: I am very excited about the Governor's bill here, for a couple of reasons. First of all, what he is proposing in the bill, this notion of opening up the bidding process and essentially putting the shoe on the other foot, instead of doing all of our negotiating with a single entity in Canada, having a RFP go out is groundbreaking. I don't know of another place that has done this. I think it would be an extraordinary opportunity and it would also lower the cost of transmission. So that’s the first thing that I thought was very interesting about this bill. Secondly, I think that if you care about solar and wind, which I do, I care deeply about renewable energy, we have very high renewable energy standard in Vermont. You have to have base-load power and if the base-load power is carbon emitting, that's a problem. This is base-load power that is not carbon emitting and it's the perfect compliment. At some point, you can’t have wind or solar unless you have a base-load that is going to be reliable when wind or solar is not producing. This is a constant problem in New England. Massachusetts has made huge strides in the creation of solar and wind. That can't continue unless you have a strong base load and a strong base load and a reliable base load ought to be non-carbon emitting. Thirdly, this was enormously helpful to us when Vermont Yankee went off-line. I understand that Pilgrim is going off-line. That’s a 600-megawatt deficit in electricity. What do you want to replace that with? It's already non-carbon emitting. And do you want to replace that with carbon emitting sources? And the answer I think is probably no for most citizens of Massachusetts.

GOVERNOR BAKER: Best case, we put it out to bid, it's competitive, a whole bunch of people respond, we get some really great proposals, we pick one and we go forward as a region to implement it. And it creates a huge opportunity for us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time provide the residents of Massachusetts and New England with an affordable source of twenty-four seven energy.

Baker-Polito Administration to Host Supplier Diversity Series

5 regional opportunities for small and diverse businesses to expand networks and state procurement

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced today that Governor Charlie Baker’s Office of Access and Opportunity (OAO) in coordination with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) and Operational Services Division (OSD), will host five Supplier Diversity Regional Series across the Commonwealth to engage small and diverse business enterprises with private buyers, educational institutions, medical facilities and state agency and municipal procurement officials. 

“Increasing the Commonwealth’s supplier diversity starts with opportunities like these to strengthen our partnership and engagement with small and diverse businesses in their communities throughout Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker. “We encourage anyone interested in the Supplier Diversity Series to join our administration in the coming weeks to learn more about the state and local business opportunities available for small and diverse enterprises.”

These series will be hosted bi-annually in the Spring and Fall across the Commonwealth.  The series offer networking opportunities for buyers to meet small and diverse business owners, as well as capacity-building workshops designed to aid in awareness and competitiveness to win procurement opportunities.

“Our goal in convening major private and municipal buyers, including the cities of Boston, Springfield, Worcester, Lawrence and New Bedford, and small and diverse businesses is to become a leader in supplier diversity,” said Jabes Rojas, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Access and Opportunity. “We look forward to the opportunities and discussions this bi-annual series will offer."

In February, Governor Baker signed Executive Order No. 559, elevating the Office of Access and Opportunity to the Governor’s Office under the direction of a Deputy Chief of Staff to further the administration’s priority of increasing diversity and inclusion within state government employment and procurement. The Executive Order also established a cross-administration Steering Committee for Access and Opportunity to coordinate best practices.

The first Supplier Diversity Series will be held tomorrow, October 27th, in Lawrence, with additional events to follow in Worcester, Roxbury, New Bedford and Springfield. Additional details are available below and attendees are encouraged to register at the accompanying links. Over 700 exhibitors and attendees have registered to date.

Lawrence Supplier Diversity Series
Relief’s In
October 27, 2015

Worcester Supplier Diversity Series
College of Holy Cross
November 3, 2015

Roxbury Supplier Diversity Series
Reggie Lewis Center
November 5, 2015

New Bedford Supplier Diversity Series
Fort Taber Community Center
November 13, 2015

Springfield Supplier Diversity Series
UMASS Center at Springfield
November 18, 2015

The mission of the Office of Access and Opportunity is to foster non-discrimination and equal opportunity irrespective of race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or express, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran’s status or socio-economic background. The Office of Access and Opportunity was first created by Executive Order 519 in January 2010 and was further modified by Executive Order 527 in February of 2011.
Governor Baker: “Expanding Provider Use for Treatment”
Bill Boosts Opioid Education, Tightens Prescribing, and Adds Pathway to Treatment

BOSTON – Continuing the series of initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, Governor Baker today unveiled legislation to provide medical personnel with the power to intervene with patients suffering from addiction, control the spread of addictive prescription opioids and increase education about substance use disorder (SUD) for providers and in the community.  The bill, titled “An Act Relative to Substance Use Treatment, Education and Prevention,” contains several additional provisions developed by the Governor’s Opioid Working Group to address prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.

Governor Baker
Press Briefing RoomMassachusetts State House
October 15, 2015


Transcription:
GOVERNOR BAKER: This legislation brings many important reforms to the fore, ranging from a new curriculum to educate student athletes on opioid use to amending the civil commitment statute to improve patient treatment options. First of all, our legislation will limit the prescribing practices for first-time opioid prescriptions to allow only a 72-hour supply of medication, with few exceptions. This means the first time a doctor prescribes an opioid prescription, or when you visit a new doctor, he or she will only supply you with a limited quantity. This bill will grant medical professionals the authority to involuntarily hold patients for 72 hours if they pose a danger to themselves or others. Right now, someone suffering from substance use disorders can only be held for treatment through a court order, and those orders must be granted while the court is in session and it prevents people from seeking help on nights, weekends, and holidays when the court is not in session. This limits access for families and patients in need of a 24-hour front door to treatment for substance abuse emergencies and we want to change that to get more help to people faster. I’ve talked to many people in the Commonwealth – moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors – who’ve spent many sleepless nights trying to help a family member or a friend deal with addiction. That 72 hours period is an opportunity to help folks find their way to a better path. And I get the fact that this is also a reasonably controversial notion, but it’s a conversation worth having, and having spent a lot of time talking to a lot of people who have been personally affected by this, I think it’s the right thing to do.
Governor Baker Announces Appointments to the Health Information and Analysis Oversight Council

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced three appointments to the Health Information and Analysis Oversight Council charged with developing the Center for Health Information and Analysis’ (CHIA) research agenda and analytic priorities.

“I’m pleased to appoint three of the brightest minds in healthcare, big data and financing to positions on the Oversight Council,” said Governor Baker. “I look forward to their ideas for improving the cost effectiveness and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our healthcare system.”

The three appointees – Fay Donohue, Bill Geary and Colin Hill – bring a wealth of experience in health care delivery and management, data, and analytics and financing and budgeting, as required by statute establishing the 11-member council in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore will both serve as council members.

In addition to developing CHIA’s research agenda, the Oversight Council meets for the first time today and quarterly thereafter to establish guidelines for the collection, storage and maintenance of the agency’s health care data and manage its budget.

About CHIA and the Council Members:

About Fay Donohue:

Until her recent retirement, Fay Donohue served as C.E.O. of oral health enterprise DSM/Dentaquest, where she developed cost- and quality-focused systems that have won approval for oral health plan businesses across the county. Ms. Donohue anticipated and filled needs created through state exchanges as part of the U.S. Affordable Care Act, pioneering a cost-effective expansion of oral health services to under-served populations and contributing to a quadrupling of plan size in seven years.She serves as a strategic and operations leadership advisor on boards of diverse non- and for-profit organizations, including the National Institute of Children’s Health Care Quality, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and Commonwealth Institute. Ms. Donohue has received the National Association of Dental Plans Gabriel Award, the Boston YW Academy of Women Achievers, and has been listed as a Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts. She holds an MBA from Boston College, a master’s degree from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College.

About Bill Geary:

Bill Geary is a partner and co-founder at Flare Capital Partners, a team of healthcare technology venture capital investors delivering strategic industry resources and insight to partnering entrepreneurs. Previously, Mr. Geary was with North Bridge Venture Partners since its inception in 1994. During Mr. Geary’s twenty-year tenure investing in emerging healthcare technology companies, he has served on the boards of numerous industry-leading companies and played a critical role, actively helping and working closely with management teams. Mr. Geary has held previous positions with Hambro International Equity Partners, MathSoft, Congoleum Corporation, and Arthur Andersen & Company. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Boston College where he was former Chair, and on the Board of Trustees of MGH Institute of Health Professions. Mr. Geary holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

About Colin Hill:

Since 2000, Colin C. Hill has served as Chairman, C.E.O. and co-founder of GNS Healthcare Inc. in Cambridge, MA, a nationally recognized innovator in the use of Big Data to study population health and precision medicine. Since 2012, Mr. Hill has also served as Chairman and co-founder of Via Science, applying machine learning applications to the Internet of Things, precision agriculture, and consumer behavior. Previously, Mr. Hill applied this machine learning platform to quantitative finance and e-commerce as Chairman and co-founder of Fina Technologies. Additionally, Mr. Hill was a founding member of the Board of Directors of AesRx, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of new treatment for sickle cell disease. Mr. Hill holds a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Physics from Cornell University, a Master’s of Science in physics from McGill University, and a bachelor’s of science earned cum laude with honors from Virginia Tech. Mr. Hill was named to Powerful Media and J.P. Morgan’s “25 Most Influential African Americans” list in 2009 and MIT Technology Review Magazine’s “Top 100 Innovators Under 35 Years Old” in 2004.

About The Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA):

The Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) is an independent agency established pursuant to M.G.L. c. 12C and serves as the primary hub for health care data and a primary source of health care analytics that support policy development. CHIA was created by Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012 which was enacted to improve health care quality and contain health care costs through transparency, efficiency and innovation.

Baker-Polito Administration Welcomes Travis McCready as Life Sciences CEO

Travis brings extensive experience with the innovation economy to the Massachusetts Life Sciences sector

Boston – Thursday, September 17, 2015 – Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash are pleased to welcome Travis to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center as its second president and chief executive officer.
                                
“I congratulate Travis McCready on his appointment today as the next CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center,” said Governor Baker. “The Baker-Polito Administration is firmly committed to deepening the Commonwealth’s nationally leading position in life sciences research, and to broadening the industry’s geographic footprint, and the Life Sciences Center as the Commonwealth's primary vehicle for advancing these goals.”

“Travis’s experience as the executive director of the Kendall Square Association, where he worked to deepen and broaden the reach of the most innovative square mile in the world, is the kind of expertise we need for our life sciences ecosystem,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I anticipate productive cooperation between the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, academic institutions, the startup community, and established life science firms.”

“Travis is uniquely qualified to lead the Life Sciences Center forward - he is a highly accomplished individual who has run innovation economy and economic development efforts in both Kendall and Dudley Square,” said Secretary Ash. “He has compelling experience in the public, private, institutional and nonprofit sectors. Just as importantly, he knows the key players value of our life sciences industry, and he values the industry's role in feeding the Commonwealth's larger innovation ecosystem, and in growing our state's economy. I look forward to working with him.”

Travis McCready has served as Vice President for Programs at the Boston Foundation since 2013, and served as Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association from 2010-2013. Travis also spent several years at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, serving as both CFO and COO. He has also worked as director of community affairs at Harvard University, and as a private attorney. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University Of Iowa College Of Law. He lives in Lexington with his wife and two teenage daughters.

Governor Baker Signs Fiscal Year 2016 Budget; Enacts MBTA Reforms
Administration also files Fiscal Year 2015 year-end supplemental legislation which includes funding for local snow relief, homelessness, opioid prevention

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today signed the Fiscal Year 2016 budget into law, reflecting the administration’s priorities for responsible, smarter government and better communities, schools and jobs for Massachusetts.  The $38.117 billion spending plan, which holds growth to a responsible 3% over the previous fiscal year, solves a $1.8 billion structural deficit without new taxes, makes critical investments in local aid, education and transportation, and gives the administration many new tools to fix the troubled MBTA including the creation of the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board and the three-year suspension of the Commonwealth’s anti-privatization law.

Additionally, a year-end supplemental budget was filed today to support the Commonwealth’s cities and towns for historic winter weather and snow removal costs, family homelessness prevention and combatting opioid abuse, while paying down debt in advance and increasing the balance of the Stabilization Fund for the first time in three years.

“I’m proud to have signed a fiscally responsible budget that prioritizes Massachusetts’ jobs, communities and schools, without raising taxes, by investing in transportation, local aid, education and providing tax relief for over 400,000 working individuals and families,” said Governor Baker. “As we implement our vision for a greater Massachusetts, we look forward to beginning the work of fixing the MBTA, investing in vital services for our most vulnerable, and curbing the opioid epidemic that has claimed far too many lives.  Putting the state back on solid fiscal footing will play a major role in making our Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise our families.”

In addition to avoiding new taxes, the Fiscal Year 2016 budget protects the anticipated reduction in the state income tax to 5.1% on January 1, 2016 and boosts the Earned Income Tax Credit from 15% to 23%, helping over 400,000 low income individuals and working families.

“This budget delivers on our commitment to our cities and towns, increasing local aid in a way that reflects the Commonwealth’s growing economy and invests $2.6 million worth of Community Compact Cabinet grants we initiated early in our administration,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to expand on our partnership with municipal officials statewide, promoting best practices and providing critical levels of local support, in order to drive economic growth and stronger communities throughout the Commonwealth.”

Other highlights of the signed budget include an increase in unrestricted local aid by 75% of tax revenue growth, support for an additional $111 million in Chapter 70 local education funding to its highest level ever, and funding for summer jobs up to an historic high of $11.5 million. Additionally, the budget invests $10 million in the I-Cubed public private partnership program for economic development, $2 million in development grants in urban communities as part of the administration’s Urban Agenda and $1 million for the Transformative Development Initiative’s support of Gateway Cities.

“I want to thank our colleagues in the Legislature for their collaboration on fixing a serious spending problem,” said Secretary for Administration and Finance, Kristen Lepore. “Our ability to keep spending responsibly below revenue projections and implement sound budgeting practices, like reducing our use of one-time solutions and not drawing down on the rainy day fund, will have a positive impact on the long-term fiscal health of the Commonwealth.”

Recognizing the growing opioid epidemic and the work of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group, the budget supports $111 million in substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts, with an additional $28 million included in the supplemental budget. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget includes more than $21 billion in support for Health and Human Services and increases support for the mission of the Department of Children and Families by 4.3%. The budget signed by the governor also supports increased funding for autism services and veterans.

While the administration is proud to achieve so many accomplishments in its first budget enactment, it also recognizes several revenue and spending items within the conference committee report which require corrective action.

The administration has identified $83 million in additional spending over its original House 1 proposal, and recognizes several underfunded accounts, such as the Committee for Public Counsel Services and the Emergency Assistance program, which need to be funded at higher levels later in the fiscal year. It also anticipates that non-tax, departmental revenue will come in lower than initially projected for Fiscal Year 2016. 

Accordingly, this budget reflects $162 million in line-item and outside sections vetoes, including $38 million in earmarks, and proposes to use surplus money from Fiscal Year 2015 to make advance payments and retire debt early to achieve upfront savings.



The budget will be updated at the following link after the Governor signs it:http://www.mass.gov/bb/h1/fy16h1/

Governor Baker Appoints 5-Member MBTA Fiscal Management & Control Board

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today appointed the five-member Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) and designated Joe Aiello as Chair immediately after signing into law the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. A key reform recommended by the Governor’s MBTA Special Panel following unprecedented winter weather that crippled service at the MBTA, the FMCB is set to begin working immediately, holding its first meeting on Tuesday, July 21st.

“Fixing the MBTA will be a complex task, but moving forward with a Fiscal Management and Control Board dedicated solely to the T’s operations and finances is an important step toward delivering accountability for taxpayers and riders,” said Governor Baker. “I want to thank the legislature for putting this board in place with other measures that will allow us to begin fixing the T. I especially want to thank the five talented individuals who have agreed to serve in this crucial capacity, and who bring decades of combined experience and different but complementary perspectives as they get to work fixing the status quo at the MBTA, and begin the process of delivering a world-class public transit system that the people of Massachusetts can be proud of, and deserve.”

“By signing this bill into law we now have two crucial tools to begin fixing the MBTA, a dedicated group focused solely on the T and new tools that will allow the MBTA to operate more reliable services, repair critical infrastructure and explore more efficient ways to serve our riders,” said MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “Board members will be meeting on Tuesday, along with the expanded MassDOT Board, for briefings that will help them quickly begin their work to get the MBTA back on track.”

Governor Baker appointed in February a Special Panel to carry out an extensive analysis of the underlying functions of the MBTA’s governance, finances and capital planning which became apparent throughout historic snowfall and persistent freezing temperatures earlier this year. Among thepanel’s recommendations were the call for a FMCB to assume control of the MBTA, a reconstituted Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors, lifting of efficiency restrictions at the MBTA, and a separation of the MBTA’s capital and operating budgets among a number of recommendations.

By statute, the MBTA FMCB will consist of five members, one with experience in transportation finance, one with experience in mass transit operations and three members of the MassDOT Board. Lisa Calise, Steve Poftak and Monica Tibbits-Nutt will also be serving roles on the MassDOT Board. The Chair is appointed by the Secretary of Transportation.

About the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board Members:
Joseph “Joe” Aiello (Chair) is currently a partner and Director of Business Development North America at Meridiam Infrastructure where he has worked since 2007, overseeing strategic development and investments in transportation, water and social infrastructure. Before joining Meridiam, Aiello served in several capacities for 13 years with DMJM Harris prior to its acquisition by AECOM Enterprises, Inc. where he was most recently President for the firm’s global, public private partnership business. Aiello also worked at the MBTA as Assistant General Manager of Planning and Budget and Assistant Director of Construction for Special Projects and Finance. He holds his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University.

Lisa Calise is the Chief Financial Officer at Watertown-based Perkins School for the Blind, focusing on global services and education for those living with blindness and deafblindness. Before joining Perkins in 2010, Calise served the City of Boston for over a decade, most recently as the Director of Administration and Finance, and previously as Chief Financial Officer and Collector-Treasurer and Budget Director, implementing government efficiency programming. Calise also served in the White House Office of Management and Budget as a budget examiner. A Massachusetts native, Calise obtained her B.A. from Boston College and a Master’s Degree in Public Management from the University of Maryland.

Brian Lang currently serves as President of UNITE HERE Local 26, Boston’s hotel and food service union. Lang has spent a total of seventeen years representing the union’s 7,000 members, starting as organizing director and eventually being elected as president in 2011. Before joining the UNITE HERE Local 26 team, Lang was already involved as a union organizer for SEIU Local 285. His previous work experience as a meatpacker and a bellman has given Lang a strong understanding for the needs of hotel and food service employees that he uses to advocate for workers’ rights.

Steve Poftak is Executive Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard Kennedy School.  Poftak was Director of Research and Director of the Center for Better Government at the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research.  He has led research projects and authored a number of papers on transportation policy, government efficiency, municipal finance, and job creation.  Previously, Poftak worked at the Commonwealth's Executive Office for Administration and Finance, where he managed the $1.3 billion capital budget, prepared the state's quarterly cash flow reporting, and monitored non-tax revenue receipts.

Monica Tibbits-Nutt is the Executive Director of the 128 Business Council where she has worked since 2010, advising communities in the 128 Corridor in transit planning and overseeing the operation of 12 shuttle routes with nearly half a million in annual ridership. Tibbits-Nutt also has experience with the MBTA, where she served as a Transportation Planning Consultant to the MBTA Advisory Board, and as Executive Director and Transportation Planner for TransitWorks, providing research evaluation for the MBTA and Secretary of Transportation. She holds a B.S. from the University of Southern Indiana and a Masters of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University.
Governor Charlie Baker Appoints New State Police Superintendent
Major Richard McKeon to assume command of 2,300 Massachusetts State Police Troopers

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced the appointment of Major Richard McKeon to serve as Superintendent and Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police (MSP). A 33-year veteran of the State Police, Major McKeon currently serves as Deputy Division Commander of the Division of Investigative Services. Governor Baker also thanked retiring Superintendent, Colonel Timothy Alben, for his leadership and over three decades of service to the Commonwealth as a member of the Massachusetts State Police.

“Keeping the people of Massachusetts safe is paramount to my administration and I look forward to Major McKeon building upon our State Police force’s stellar professionalism and diligence,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Fostering trust between the community and law enforcement is essential to public safety and McKeon will be essential to strengthening those relationships. I thank Colonel Alben for his decades of service to the State Police and the people of the Commonwealth, and look forward to seeing their strong tradition continue under the leadership of Major McKeon as we continue striving to make Massachusetts a safer place to live, work and raise our families.”

“Having seen firsthand Major McKeon’s work with the Worcester County District Attorney’s office, his dedication, integrity and respect for his fellow law enforcement, members of the community and victims of crime will serve the Commonwealth well as Superintendent of the State Police,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “I also want to thank Colonel Alben for all he has done to advance the mission of the State Police and for his leadership of the men and women that put their lives on the line every day.”

Major McKeon’s appointment will be effective July 12.

“I would like to thank Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and Secretary Bennett for putting their faith in me to lead this proud organization forward,” said Major Richard McKeon. “During my 33 years in the State Police I have been fortunate to receive a great deal of knowledge and guidance from the many professionals within the Department, and I look forward to putting all that I have learned to work on behalf of the public that we serve each day.”

About Major Richard McKeon:

Major Richard McKeon joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1982 and is currently the Deputy Division Commander of the Division of Investigative Services where he is responsible for oversight of investigative units, administrative resources and intergovernmental coordination with local, state and federal law enforcement, most notably, throughout the response and investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings.  Prior to his promotion in 2011, McKeon served as a Captain and Unit Commander for the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office in Auburn.  Major McKeon graduated from Framingham State College and obtained his Masters in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts.
Governor Baker Nominates Justice Scott Kafker Appeals Court Chief Justice

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced the nomination of Justice Scott Kafker to serve as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Justice Kafker has served as an Associate Justice of the Appeals Court since 2001, and is nominated to fill the vacancy being created by the retirement of Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza,announced in February, and effective today. This is Governor Baker’s first judicial nomination since taking office.

“Justice Kafker is an esteemed jurist that I am confident has the ability to lead this influential court, in its mission of rendering thoughtful, well-reasoned appellate decisions timely and efficiently and treating all those who come before the court fairly and impartially,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It is my honor to nominate him as Chief Justice of the Appeals Court and Lt. Governor Polito and I thank him for his willingness to serve the Commonwealth in this important role.”

"I am deeply honored and humbled to be nominated by Governor Baker to be Chief Justice of the Appeals Court,” said Justice Scott Kafker. “I consider leadership of the Appeals Court at this critical time to be a wonderful opportunity to advance the administration of justice in the Commonwealth and serve all of its citizens. I also look forward to meeting with the Governor's Council to discuss the inner-workings of the Court and my ideas for its advancement. It is truly a privilege to be considered. A Chief Justice must wake up every morning committed to making a difference in the lives of the people of the Commonwealth by inspiring and requiring the court to live up to the highest standards of the judiciary. I aspire to this most important responsibility."

Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth's diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April.

About Associate Justice Scott L. Kafker:

Associate Justice Scott L. Kafker joined the Massachusetts Appeals Court in March of 2001, appointed by then Governor Paul Cellucci. Prior to joining the Appeals Court, Justice Kafker served as chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and deputy chief legal counsel to Governor William F. Weld. Before joining the Boston law firm of Foley, Hoag & Elliot as an associate, Justice Kafker served as a law clerk to Judge Mark L. Wolf of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Justice Kafker has taught constitutional law at Boston College Law School since 2009 and serves on the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure. He graduated from Amherst College in 1981 and obtained his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985.

Additional biography information is available here.

Baker-Polito Administration Pledges Funding to Allow for Full Redevelopment of Union Station
$12 million commitment fills remaining gap to realize vision of modern intermodal transportation center
SPRINGFIELD – Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito committed the remaining funds necessary to reach the total goal required to complete the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield.  Lt. Governor Polito joined Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard E. Neal and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack for today’s announcement.
The $12 million commitment is a combined sum from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that brings the total amount of federal, state and local funding to $88.5 million, the amount needed to achieve the complete station redevelopment project.
 “With access to the east-west and north-south interstate highways, and corresponding rail corridors, the city of Springfield is strategically situated at the transportation crossroads of New England,” said Governor Baker.  “The funding we are pledging today will allow for the redevelopment of Union Station to capitalize on those connections, and rebuild the station into a regional transit hub that provides more options in a modernized building with space for new economic activity and growth.”
When complete, the revitalized Union Station will have 66,000 square feet of leasable commercial space, a 26-bay open-air bus terminal, a new six-level parking garage, a completely renovated terminal building, a reactivated passenger tunnel and a new ADA-compliant rail boarding platform.  The redeveloped Union Station is expected to support approximately 200 permanent jobs. 
“Springfield plays a key role in the regional economy, and by providing this funding support, we are sending a strong signal that we value this city’s importance to the region, and can see its future potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “In addition to serving as a transit hub, Union Station also holds the promise of sparking a revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood.” 
The Springfield Redevelopment Authority is the owner and designated developer of Union Station, and has been leading efforts to advocate for resources to advance this project since 2010.  Initial construction efforts began in early 2014, and this $12 million commitment will ensure that an economically viable infrastructure project, that has the potential to fuel economic development, will be fully operational in 2016.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “I would like to thank Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito for this significant grant that will allow for the full redevelopment of Springfield Union Station. With substantial money secured by Congressman Richard E. Neal this grant will allow for a full build of the planned two phase redevelopment. When completed the region will have a modern Intermodal transportation center and Springfield will have long time vacant building completely redeveloped.”  
“Nearly 38 years ago to the day, I stood in the grand concourse of Union Station and talked about its place in our city’s history, but how it could also become a significant part of Springfield’s future. Roughly four decades later, after a considerable amount of time and effort, that vision has become a reality. With today’s final funding announcement, we are one step closer to the completion of a new $90 million intermodal transportation center that has the potential of transforming the city’s north blocks. I look forward to the historic re-opening of this iconic structure in the fall of next year,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
“I’m excited that we can help push this project over the last funding hurdle so that Union Station can begin a new era as a transit hub for Springfield and the region, and that can also lead to new partnerships that will result in the development of transit-oriented development, new economic activity, and more transportation choices for region,” said MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack.
“The redevelopment of Union Station transforms a once dormant, blighted property into a vibrant mixed-use multimodal regional transit hub, creating new opportunities and supporting existing development efforts in the city. The $2.4 million in MassWorks funds leverage MassDOT’s available federal funding, and will ensure the completion of this regionally significant project,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. 
Of the $12 million, $9.6 million has been allocated by MassDOT from Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality federal funding, the remaining $2.4 million, which represents a required match to leverage the federal funds, has been allocated by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. Construction is expected to reach full build out and be complete by the fall of 2016.

Governor Baker Releases Opioid Working Group Recommendations
Administration targets serious reforms to combat opioid epidemic

BOSTON – Vowing to change the way the Commonwealth treats and even thinks about substance addiction, Governor Charlie Baker today released the findings of his Opioid Working Group, a comprehensive report detailing 65 actionable steps to curb the deadly opioid epidemic.

The findings by the 18-member Working Group include short and long term action items to be implemented between now and the next three years, some requiring legislative action and funding and some will be achieved through partnerships with private industry and federal leaders.

“Opioid abuse is a public health epidemic and I applaud our working group for producing these recommendations based on a comprehensive analysis,”said Governor Baker.  “The solution to eradicating opioids is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and will require all of us to rethink the way we treat addiction.  Today’s announcements are a first step and we will aggressively pursue reforms to save lives.”

“This epidemic has already torn apart too many families and communities in the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Polito.  “This report contains recommendations that were carefully and thoroughly collected from every corner of our state and we look forward to taking swift actions to combat the opioid epidemic.”

“While opioid addiction is an urgent problem, it is also a chronic medical disease, not unlike diabetes or heart disease,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Chair of the Working Group. “The solution requires a strong public health approach focusing on prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. We must also target education and awareness about the potential misuse of opioids to students and their families.”

“The opiate crisis is impacting families from every community across the Commonwealth,” Attorney General Healey said. “Today’s report is a roadmap to comprehensively addressing this public health crisis and offering help to families who truly need it. I want to thank Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders, and every member of this commission for their collaboration, dedication and leadership on this issue. Now the real work begins to implement these recommendations.”

The announcement comes just days after the launch of a statewide public service campaign to alert parents about the dangers of prescription opioid misuse by their kids. The report calls for additional public awareness initiatives to decrease stigma of the disease.

The cost of implementing the initiatives will currently be $27 million in Fiscal Year ‘16, which will be paid for through a combination of new state funds, MassHealth, and reprioritization of existing state and federal grant funds.

The Commonwealth started addressing the opioid epidemic in 2004, when 456 individuals died of opioid overdoses.  Since then, more than 6,600 members of our communities have died, in addition to an overwhelming amount of hospital stays, emergency department visits and human suffering.  According to the Department of Public Health, there were over 1,000 estimated unintentional opioid related deaths in 2015, representing a significant increase from the estimated 967 deaths in 2014.  The number of opioid-related overdose deaths was nearly triple the amount of motor vehicle-related injuries recorded in 2013.

Key Initiatives:
Prevention: Support substance use prevention education in schools, medical communities, all communities

·       Provide state funding for evidence-based opioid prevention programs in schools

·       Create a public awareness campaign focused on reframing addiction as a medical disease

·       Appoint addiction specialists to state medical boards of registration for medicine, nursing, physicians assistants and dentistry

·       Partner with a chain pharmacy to pilot statewide drug take-back program

·       Implement a training program about neonatal abstinence syndrome and addiction for DCF and improve outreach to prenatal and postpartum care providers to increase training on screening, intervention and care for substance use disorder (SUD).

·       Encourage the American College of Graduate Medical Education to adopt requirements for pain management and substance use disorder education**

Intervention: Require manufacturers and pharmacies to utilize data, dispose of unused medication

·       Improve the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and ensure data compatibility with other states

·       Require PMP data to be submitted within 24 hours by pharmacies*

·       Require timely reporting from the state of overdose death data to the public, including requirements for emergency medical service providers to submit overdose data to the state

·       Promote the Good Samaritan Law

·       Improve affordability of naloxone through bulk purchasing*

·       Amend the civil commitment statute (Sec. 12 of Chapter 123) to include SUD as a criteria to allow for the involuntary transport and assessment of an individual at substantial harm by reason of substance use disorder

Treatment: Create new pathways to treatment; acknowledge addiction as chronic medical condition
MassHealth
·       Develop a statewide database of available treatment services accessible to clinicians and consumers by phone and internet

·       Expand mobile emergency service programs to support individuals in crisis

·       Enroll uninsured patients receiving certain treatments in MassHealth or other insurance
Department of Public Health
·       Add 100 new treatment beds by July 2016. Expand access to patient navigators

·       Create a pilot program for walk-in access to a trained clinician in community-based outpatient provider settings

·       Create a pilot program to make recovery coaches available in emergency departments and hot spots

Department of Corrections
·       Transfer women civilly committed under Section 35 from the correctional facility at MCI-Framingham to a hospital operated under HHS

·       Increase treatment beds for civilly committed patients under Section 35

·       Bulk purchase opioid agonist and naltrexone therapies for correctional facilities
Group Insurance Commission
·       Review GIC insurance plans, removing fail-first policies and prior authorization protocols that may impede access to treatment

Recovery Support: Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all approach; create multiple entry points to treatment and recovery

·       Certify and register alcohol and drug-free housing to increase accountability and credibility

·       Expand community coalitions to address the opioid epidemic

·       Enforce and strengthen requirements that all licensed addiction treatment programs accept patients on methadone or buprenorphine medication

·       Remove barriers to integration for treatment by creating a consistent public behavioral health licensing policy (through review of DPH, and DMH programs)

·       Establish revised rates for residential recovery homes, effective July 1, 2015

·       Establish a single point of accountability for addiction and recovery policy within HHS

·       Report publicly on progress of implementing working group’s recommendations

·       Increase federal support for substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery efforts uniquely tailored for our veterans**

*requires legislative action in Massachusetts 
**requires federal action


18 Members of the Working Group:

·       Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services
·       Maura Healey, Attorney General
·       George Bell, General Catalyst Partners
·       Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health
·       Honorable Paula M. Carey, Chief Justice of the Trial Court
·       Bill Carpenter, Mayor of Brockton
·       Colleen Labelle BSN, RN-BC, CARN, Program Director of the State Technical Assistance Treatment Expansion Office Based Opioid Treatment with Buprenorphine (STATE OBOT B) program at Boston Medical Center; Executive Director of the Massachusetts chapter of the International Nurses Society on Addictions.
·       Alan Ingram, Ed.D., Deputy Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
·       Judy Lawler, Probation Officer, Chelsea District Drug Court
·       Joseph D. McDonald, Sheriff, Plymouth County
·       John McGahan, The Gavin Foundation
·       Honorable Rosemary B. Minehan, Plymouth District Court
·       Fred Newton, President & CEO of Hope House, Inc.
·       Robert Roose, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of Addiction Services at the Sisters of Providence Health System
·       Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy & Advocacy, U.S. Pain Foundation; Chair, Policy Council, Massachusetts Pain Initiative
·       Ray Tamasi, President and CEO of The Gosnold on Cape Cod
·       Steve Tolman, President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO
·       Sarah Wakeman, MD, Medical Director, Substance Use Disorders, Center for Community Health Improvement, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Baker Administration Secures One-Year Waiver from Affordable Care Act Provision
Delays rate hikes for Massachusetts small businesses, employees due to federal healthcare reform

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has secured a one-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), authorizing the Commonwealth to maintain the use of its existing rating factors that are otherwise prohibited under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Governor Baker made the request to Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell in April because of the concern about the impact the ACA market rules will have on small businesses.

“Protecting small businesses from massive insurance rate hikes is essential to making sure job creators continue to thrive here and I am grateful the Obama administration granted Massachusetts this flexibility,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth has been a national leader when it comes to making sure our residents are insured and able to receive the care they deserve and we must protect that progress.”

The waiver from U.S. HHS extends the Commonwealth’s current transition period first granted in 2013 and extended in 2014, allowing small group market issuers to continue using 2/3 of current ratings factors through January 1, 2017, after which the ratings factors will be reduced to 1/3, before being phased out entirely on January 1, 2018.

Massachusetts insured a majority of its residents under healthcare reform in 2006, establishing a state marketplace that merged small group and individual insurance markets. The ratings factors served as a protection for small employers who took on risks from the individual insurance market.


Baker-Polito Administration Launches First Community Compact Applications
Cities and towns pledge to implement best practices, eligible for state assistance and other incentives

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration launched the application process for the Community Compact, an opportunity for cities and towns to enter into partnerships with the state to accomplish mutually agreed upon goals. The Community Compact is the result of Governor Charlie Baker’s first Executive Ordersigned in January which created a cabinet to strengthen the Administration’s partnerships with cities and towns. An online portal will be available to local leaders that details the process, commitments, and incentives.

“We have traveled to every corner of the Commonwealth to meet with municipal leaders and learn more about the best ways to partner with our communities, and today we’re proud to launch this application process for the Community Compact,”said Lt. Governor Polito. “By promoting best practices and incentivizing our cities and towns, I look forward to championing this effort to create better opportunities for our schools and communities.”

The Community Compact will offer clear mutual standards, expectations, and accountability for both the state and municipalities as both partners seek to create better government for our citizens. 


COMMUNITY COMPACT PROCESS:

1       A municipal leader completes the application available at mass.gov/ccc where their city or town pledges to adopt one or more best practices. Municipalities may apply once during this round, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. As a partnership, the Commonwealth agrees to fulfill its own set of commitments
2       All applications are reviewed by the Division of Local Services within a month of submission.
3       Once approved, both the municipal leader (i.e. Mayor or Board of Selectmen Chair) and Lieutenant Governor Polito will sign the Community Compact.
4       The Commonwealth will provide technical assistance, as needed, to the municipality to develop or implement their chosen best practice(s). 
5       To reward those communities striving to become more innovative and accountable, the Commonwealth offers incentives through various state grants and programs. For example, the fifth annual round of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program is now open, and municipalities who have begun the process of signing a Community Compact will benefit on their MassWorks grant application.

More information on the compacts, obligations, incentives, and deadlines can be found on the FAQ page of the website.


About the Community Compact Cabinet:

Over the last four months, the Community Compact Cabinet—chaired by Lt. Governor Polito and comprised of the secretaries of Housing & Economic Development, Education, Transportation, and Energy & Environmental Affairs, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services, the Assistant Secretary of Operational Services, and the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth—developed, in consultation with cities and towns, the best practices included on the application. The Cabinet members have and will continue to champion municipal interests across all executive secretariats and agencies, helping state agencies be better partners with municipalities and better leveraging their resources for the benefit of communities across the Commonwealth.

Governor Baker Announces $82.7 Million MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan
Urges legislature to act on reform legislation to improve MBTA finances and operations

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola announced an $82.7 million MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan for investments this summer and over the next five years in snow removal equipment, infrastructure upgrades and operations during harsh weather to improve service reliability. Governor Baker also stressed the need for legislative action on An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA to secure long term improvements at the T.

“In the event of another harsh winter, it is critical we are prepared. We also hope the legislature will act before the end of this session to deliver the reforms necessary to address the underlying financial and management challenges at the MBTA,” said Governor Baker. “These investments and contingency plans are important for day-to-day operations and emergency service.  But, without the flexibility and dedicated oversight of a Fiscal Management and Control Board and the reforms we outlined, the T will continue to fail its stress tests for commuters and taxpayers who deserve a reliable world class transit system.”

“Fixing the T will require significant reforms and we must focus more directly on the MBTA’s governance, budgeting and contracting and procurement methods,” said Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. “As we continue to work with the legislature to achieve the flexibility that is necessary, this dedicated resiliency plan is a first step towards short-term upgrades to improve response and recovery efforts.”

The new resiliency plan was developed based on recommendations by an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) peer review of the MBTA’s winter operations in April, while a special panel appointed by the Governor reviewed and made recommendations to fix the MBTA’s deeper structural, financial and operational problems.

“We learned last winter that in addition to structural reforms, the MBTA needs meaningful improvements to its snow resiliency efforts, including upgrades to infrastructure, operations and equipment,” said Interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. “As we continue to work with the administration and our peer agencies to improve service reliability, we look forward to implementing these plans that are essential to reducing the amount and length of service disruptions during severe weather.”

The $82.7 million MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan will be funded through $62 million in federal formula funds for capital investments, $10 million in non-federal, MBTA capital funds, and $11.7 million in operating funds. The plan will be presented to the MassDOT Board for approval next week and focus on the following priorities to more effectively mitigate the frequency, length and magnitude of system disruptions to public transit during severe weather.

Infrastructure

·        Third rail replacements and heater upgrades on vulnerable outdoor sections of the Red and Orange Lines.

·        Snow fence installation along the Red and Orange Lines to mitigate snow drift accumulation.

·        Repairs to vehicle maintenance facilities and structures to further maximize recovery efforts.

·        Emergency power generators to supplement existing subway and facility power as needed.

·        Track access improvements for larger snow removal and track work equipment on the Red Line.

Equipment

·        New and rehabilitated specialized snow removal equipment to increase removal capacity and reduce use of passenger vehicles.

·        For passenger vehicles, vehicle-borne anti-icing equipment, modifications to air and propulsion system resiliency and an increased stock of traction motors to improve availability.

Operations

·        Additional snow removal contract services, as needed, to remove snow and ice at stations, facilities and other critical operations areas.

·        Training and staffing of a Field Inspection Team to be deployed during weather events to monitor staff and contractor field activities clearing snow and returning tracks to an operational status.

·        Adoption of incident management software in coordination with the MassDOT Highway Division to track deployment of snow removal operations across the system.

·        Formal establishment of an as needed inmate snow removal assistance program with the Department of Corrections to augment and streamline the services provided this winter.

·        Further coordination of interagency planning with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, state agencies and local municipalities to identify efficiencies and synergies in snow removal.

·        Similar resiliency enhancements to the commuter rail network.

·        Revisions to the MBTA’s severe winter weather operations protocols and customer notification practices to ensure more information, customer safety and the protection of equipment and facilities.

The right of way improvements on the Orange and Red Lines will be scheduled to occur this summer and fall and the MBTA will notify customers of any service impacts required to enable the upgrades as these projects are implemented.

In April, Governor Baker filed legislation based on the special panel’s recommendations to establish a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) and Chief Administrator to oversee the MBTA’s operations and finances, create capital plans and expand the MassDOT Board. An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA also introduces reporting and audit requirements and lifts procurement restrictions on the MBTA.

Governor Baker Appoints Thomas Shack As Comptroller

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today appointed Thomas Shack as Comptroller of the Commonwealth, an independent overseer of the Commonwealth’s financial transactions, accountability and service delivery across the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

“Tom’s experience within the Comptroller’s Office will ensure taxpayers have a collaborative and independent fiscal watchdog as our administration also works to close the $1.8 billion structural deficit we inherited and make government more customer-service oriented,” said Governor Baker.“Addressing the underlying spending problem in state government will require an enhanced degree of transparency, efficiency and accountability that I am confident Tom will provide.”

The Comptroller is appointed by and serves coterminous with and independent of the Governor. The Office of the Comptroller is served by an Advisory Board chaired by Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore and consisting of the Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General, Trial Court Administrator and two gubernatorial appointees with experience in accounting, management or public finance who serve three-year terms.

“I am grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for this unique and challenging opportunity and I look forward to serving as the next Comptroller of the Commonwealth,” said Thomas Shack. “I am mindful of the responsibility we have to ensure accountability and accuracy in the Commonwealth’s financial and administrative operations and I look forward to building upon the organization’s longstanding reputation for outstanding service, security, and transparency.”

About Thomas G. Shack III, Esq.

Thomas Shack has served the Office of the Comptroller since 2012, most recently as Deputy Comptroller and Chief Financial and Operating Officer, where he started as a Deputy General Counsel and later the Director of Resource Management and Chief Financial Officer managing the Commonwealth’s multi-billion dollars per year operating budget. Prior to joining the Comptroller’s Office, Shack spent eight years as Chief of Operations, Chief Financial Officer and a Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office and served in private practice. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from New England Law Boston and a Masters of Business Administration from The American University. Shack also held multiple roles in the private sector.

Governor Baker Names MassDOT Chair and Final Board Appointment

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced the administration’s remaining appointment to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and designated Ruth Bonsignore as the Chair of the MassDOT Board. Former Commissioner of Public Works and Parks for the City of Worcester, Robert Moylan, Jr. will join Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, Bonsignore and the five additional appointments named by Governor Baker last week, on the MassDOT Board.

“Robert joins a group of experts with tested experience and knowledge in their respective fields to begin the fresh start needed to lead the Commonwealth’s transportation initiatives,” said Governor Baker. “From the Registry to our highways, this group is tasked with enormous responsibility.  The MBTA panel uncovered monumental challenges in the aftermath of this harsh winter, and I look forward to this new board under Ruth’s leadership expanding and working alongside our proposed Fiscal Management and Control Board as we strive to do better than the status quo with our transit systems which left riders stranded and tax dollars squandered.”

“Worcester has benefitted tremendously from Bob’s decades of service and commitment to improving infrastructure and development,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to having his energy and expertise alongside the new members and chair of the MassDOT Board and Secretary Pollack during what is a critical time for reforming the MBTA and improving the overall level of customer service for the Commonwealth’s traveling public.”

Yesterday, Governor Baker and Secretary Pollack testified in front of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation in support of the administration’s MBTA reform legislation, “H.3347 An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA.” The recommendations for the legislation were developed by Governor’s special MBTA review panel of transportation experts to evaluate the structural and operational problems exposed by a harsh winter and the resulting impairment of the MBTA’s ability to reliably serve its customers.  The Panel’s report, Back on Track:  An Action Plan to Transform the MBTA, was released on April 8.

The legislation establishes a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) and Chief Administrator to oversee the MBTA’s operations and finances through 2018 and includes reforms to improve the MBTA’s transparency, performance management, budget planning and procurement processes. It also reconstitutes the terms and structure of the MassDOT board to be chaired by the Secretary of Transportation and includes 11 members which will consist of representation by communities served by the MBTA and a regional transit authority.

The MassDOT board is comprised of seven (7) members appointed by the Governor with one designated as the chair.  Each member is required to fulfill a specific criteria with expertise in transportation, finance and engineering.  The Secretary of Transportation also serves on the board.  The MassDOT board serves as the governing authority for both the MassDOT and the MBTA and oversees the following: Highway, Mass Transit, Aeronautics, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), the Office of Planning and Programming and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation.


About the MassDOT Board Members:

Ruth Bonsignore (Chair) has over 30 years of professional consulting experience in transportation planning and design, systems analyses and operations, and policy for federal, state and regional public agencies and private sector clients throughout the east coast. Ruth earned her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Massachusetts and her Master’s in Transportation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Most recently, Ms. Bonsignore served as Senior Vice President and Transportation Practice Area Leader at the Massachusetts-based consulting firm VHB/Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

Robert Moylan, Jr. served the last 21 years as the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works and Parks for the City of Worcester, overseeing a $90 million operating budget, $45 million capital budget and 400 employees responsible for the city’s water, traffic, maintenance, waste, engineering and recreational activities. During that time he was selected as a Top Ten public works official from over 26,000 public works professionals. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, Moylan held various other technical and managerial roles in the Department. Moylan is a Registered Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor, receiving a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts in addition to postgraduate work at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Dominic Blue is the Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and a previous member of the Mass DOT board.  Prior to his current position, Blue gained nine years of legal experience at two firms in Boston where he represented and advised numerous companies, funds, and government organizations.  He has been involved in his community through leadership roles on associations and boards in the Commonwealth, most recently as a board member of the Greater Springfield YMCA. Blue received his M.B.A. and J.D. from Boston College in 2002.

Brian Lang currently serves as President of UNITE HERE Local 26, Boston’s hotel and food service union.  Lang has spent a total of seventeen years representing the union’s 7,000 members, starting as organizing director and eventually being elected as president in 2011.  Before joining the UNITE HERE Local 26 team, Lang was already involved as a community organizer for SEIU Local 285.  His previous work experience as a meatpacker and a bellman has given Lang a strong understanding for the needs of hotel and food service employees that he uses to advocate for workers’ rights.

Steve Poftak is executive director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard Kennedy School.  Poftak was Director of Research and Director of the Center for Better Government at the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research.  He has led research projects and authored a number of papers on transportation policy, government efficiency, municipal finance, and job creation.  Previously, Poftak worked at the Commonwealth's Executive Office for Administration and Finance, where he managed the $1.3 billion capital budget, prepared the state's quarterly cash flow reporting, and monitored non-tax revenue receipts.

Betsy Taylor is Director of Finance and Treasury at Massachusetts Port Authority , where she has  played a critical role in budgeting, financial planning, treasury management, and project financing for over 35 years.  In her current role, Taylor established the Massport Treasury Department, prepared major authority-wide financing strategy, and led Massport’s re-entrance to the bond market.  She previously worked in budget management and administration at University of Massachusetts, Smith College, and Lesley College.  Taylor earned her BA graduating cum laude from Oberlin College, and her MBA from Stanford University.


Governor Baker Appeals for Broader Scope of FEMA Disaster Declaration
Appeal seeks to extend designated 48-hour disaster period to 72-hours

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today filed a formal appeal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to widen the scope of the Major Disaster Declaration issued by President Obama on April 13th from 48 hours to 72 hours of snow assistance for eligible state agencies, municipalities, and private non-profit organizations.

“The historic impacts of this winter’s record snowfall and freezing temperatures over the course of 28 days burdened state agencies, municipalities, non-profits and transit systems with continuing financial burdens and presented serious challenges to their ability to conduct cleanup, response and recovery efforts and to carry out their daily activities,” said Governor Baker. “While the disaster declaration issued in April was limited to the first storm, the Vice President and federal officials have pledged that FEMA will be flexible in its eligibility and assistance determinations.  Consistent with these discussions, today we are asking FEMA to increase the period of time for eligible snow removal costs to seventy-two hours in order to increase the amount of much needed disaster assistance to the Commonwealth.”

The disaster declaration, issued in April, allowed eligible entities to submit for 75% reimbursement of snow removal costs within any 48-hour window throughout the course of this unprecedented winter period and approximately 250 cities and towns, state agencies and private non-profit organizations across nine counties are eligible to receive this disaster assistance.  The Governor’s appeal cites FEMA’s authority to extend the period of snow assistance up to 72-hours under the type of extraordinary circumstances the Commonwealth experienced during a four week period of record-setting snowfall. 

Governor Baker filed the original request for a major disaster declaration on March 27th, requesting Public Assistance (PA) for ten counties and snow assistance for nine counties, citing nearly $400 million in costs for snow removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs to damaged public facilities over a 28-day period between January 26 and February 22.

Governor Baker Appoints New MCCA Board Members, Pauses BCEC Expansion for Review of Economic Feasibility

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced the administration’s appointments to the board of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) and a pause on the expansion plans for the Boston Convention Center and Exhibition Center (BCEC).

“We are pausing the expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in order for the new members of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority to conduct a thoughtful analysis and determine how these resources can best benefit our economy, job creation, and the development of Boston’s Seaport District,” said Governor Baker. “The environment has changed greatly in the five years since this proposal was first introduced, and the Seaport district has experienced an economic boom. Plunging ahead now, when the data on the expansion’s feasibility is mixed, combined with the change of leadership at the MCCA would be irresponsible given the vast amounts of taxpayer dollars necessary to not only build but operate the expanded facility in the face of pressing financial needs outside of the booming Seaport District.”

“The Administration appreciates the work of all the previous board members and thanks them for their service to the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to collaborating with the new members as they get to work.”

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority consists of 13 members – 9 appointed by the Governor who serve at the pleasure of the Governor and 2 members appointed by the Mayor of Boston. Additionally, the Secretary of Administration and Finance and the Collector-Treasurer of Boston (or their designees) serve as ex-officio members.

The administration’s appointments to the MCCA are as follows and are effective immediately:

·       Cindy BrownMassachusetts Visitors Industry Council Seat
·       Barbara CapuanoAt-Large Seat
·       Andrew CraneResident of Hampden County Seat
·       Karen Johnson, At-Large Seat
·       Amy Latimer, At-Large Seat
·       Gregg Lisciotti, At-Large Seat
·       John McDonnell, At-Large Seat
·       Paul Sacco, Massachusetts Lodging Association Seat
·       Frederic Wittman, Resident of Cambridge Seat

The remaining seats on the 13-member MCCA board include:

·       Kristen LeporeSecretary of Administration and Finance, or a designee
·       Ronald Rakowa designee of the CFO and Collector-Treasurer of Boston
·       Jack Harta City of Boston mayoral appointee and resident of South Boston
·       Michelle Consalvoa City of Boston mayoral appointee

About Cindy Brown, Massachusetts Visitors Industry Council Seat:

Cindy Brown has served as General Manager and CEO of Boston Duck Tours since 1997, and in addition to overseeing the company’s sales, marketing, and operations represents Boston Duck Tours at industry events across the country.  She has served on the boards of directors for the National Tour Association and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2003. Ms. Brown is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

About Barbara Capuano, At-Large Seat:

Barbara Capuano has served as Tax Manager for Raphael and Raphael LLP since 2006 and previously with UHY Advisors, LLC, supervising the review and preparation of corporate, partnership, and individual tax returns. Ms. Capuano holds a M.B.A. in Accounting from Babson College and a B.A. from Boston State College. She is currently a member of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

About Andrew Crane, Resident of Hampden County Seat:

Andrew Crane is CEO of A. Crane Construction in Chicopee, MA, overseeing the design of custom homes, additions, and renovations for homeowners and commercial spaces. Under Mr. Crane’s tenure, A. Crane Construction has been recognized as an industry leader through its certification as a green energy building contractor and received the Home Builders Association of Massachusetts Legend of the Industry Award and State of Massachusetts Builder of the Year Award. Mr. Crane is a member of the Massachusetts Home Builders Association Board of Directors.

About Karen Johnson, At-Large Seat:

Karen Johnson manages the analytics division of The Debt Exchange, where she is responsible for relationship management and new client engagement while providing valuations for nearly $1 billion in real estate debt assets quarterly. Prior to DebtX, Ms. Johnson served as Director of Sales at Standard and Poor’s Real Estate Risk Management group. She received her B.A. in Economics from Yale University and studied at the New York University Stern School of Business.

About Amy Latimer, At-Large Seat:

Amy Latimer has served as the President of TD Garden since 2013 and has held extensive senior leadership and marketing roles at the Garden for the past two decades. As president, Ms. Latimer is responsible for day-to-day operations at one of the country’s highest-grossing entertainment arenas and oversaw the arena’s two-year, $70 million technology infrastructure upgrade. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Rhode Island.

About Gregg Lisciotti, At-Large Seat:

Gregg Lisciotti is president and founder of Lisciotti Development Corporation, a real estate investment and development company based in Leominster, MA. Since its establishment, Lisciotti Development Corporation has been involved in the acquisition, development and ownership of real estate projects throughout the United States. Mr. Lisciotti previously served on the MCCA Board of Directors under Governor Mitt Romney and recently completed his tenure as Chairman of the Fitchburg State University Board of Trustees. He is a graduate of Bentley University with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

About John McDonnell, At-Large Seat:

John McDonnell is currently Managing Director International of Fifth Generation, Inc., Makers of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, after his many outstanding achievements as President International and COO of Patrón Spirits International. With his years of launching and marketing a number of successful global spirits brands, he has become a highly regarded leader in his industry and a respected contributor to public service. Mr. McDonnell holds a B.S.B.A. from Suffolk University where he is also a member of the Board of Trustees. He also serves on the Board of the Boston Zoning Commission.

About Paul Sacco, Massachusetts Lodging Association Seat:

Paul Sacco is the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Lodging Association, and previously directed operations and sales for Belvedere Hotels Ltd. and Omni Hotels. From 2002-2007, Mr. Sacco served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT). He is a member of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Board, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, serves on the Advisory Commission on Travel & Tourism, and in 2013 received the State Tourism Award from Governor Patrick for his unique contributions to the growth and vitality of the state’s tourism industry.

About Frederic Wittmann, Resident of Cambridge Seat:

Frederic Wittmann is a Senior Managing Director of the Boston office of HFF with more than 30 years of experience in commercial real estate, including investment sales and finance. During the course of his career with HFF, Mr. Wittmann has completed in excess of $10 billion in commercial real estate transactions. He earned his B.A. from Tufts University.

Governor Baker Approves $200 Million in Chapter 90 Funding for Local Infrastructure
Total of $330 million available for municipal roads, bridges and pothole repairs this construction season

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker has signed House Bill 3187 authorizing $200 million in Chapter 90 transportation funds for municipalities, bringing the total funding available this construction season to $300 million, with an additional $30 million allocated through the same Chapter 90 formula for winter pothole repair and paving projects.

“Our Commonwealth can only be as strong as every city and town, and Lt. Governor Polito and I are pleased to fulfill our commitment to support municipalities and grant access to critical funding for transportation improvements,” said Governor Baker. “After a rigorous winter, the timely delivery of these funds is a much-needed resource and welcome opportunity to spur economic growth in every zip code.”

The administration released $100 million in Chapter 90 funding on its first day in office, and in March announced $30 million for a Winter Recovery Assistance Program (WRAP) to provide additional resources to cities and towns after an unprecedented winter. Allocated through an existing fiscal 2015 bond authorization from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), WRAP was distributed through the same formula as Chapter 90.

“As we continue to build strong partnerships with our cities and towns in every corner of the Commonwealth, we are glad to release additional funds to municipalities to assist with local construction projects and boost recovery efforts after an unprecedented winter,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I look forward to proceeding with my statewide tour to visit with local officials to talk about the important issues facing our cities and towns as we work collaboratively toward a stronger state for all families and communities.”

Through Chapter 90 bond issuances, cities and towns are reimbursed for eligible transportation projects, submitting qualifying costs to their local MassDOT Highway Division district for review by MassDOT’s Fiscal Department. More information about the Chapter 90 Program is available here:

Governor Baker Names Michael Chernew and Dimitry Petion to the Massachusetts Health Connector Board of Directors

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today named two final members to the Massachusetts Health Connector Board of Directors, Michael Chernew, Ph. D., Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, and Dimitry Petion, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mulberry Systems, Inc.  Chernew and Petion join Mark Gaunya and Rina Vertes to complete Governor Baker’s four appointments to vacancies on the 11-member Health Connector Board.

“I am pleased to announce these appointments and am confident Michael and Dimitry will bring their wisdom and expertise to the Health Connector Board as we work vigorously to improve a system still in need of much work,” said Governor Baker.  “Our administration believes that people are policy and our team is bound to make progress to benefit the Commonwealth.”

“Our state deserves to have an efficiently run exchange available for individuals and families,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “We are pleased to have Mr. Petion and Dr. Chernew join the Connector Board and look forward to their positive contributions.”

“I look forward to joining the Health Connector Board to fill the health economist seat and bring a new perspective toward increasing efficiencies and the functionality of our health care system,” said Chernew.  “I want to thank Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito for this opportunity to serve the Commonwealth and improve health care for our families.”

“This is a welcome opportunity to represent the interests of small business owners across the state as we strive to make health care more affordable and accessible,”said Petion.  “I appreciate the chance to serve on the Health Connector Board during this important time to make positive strides for the business community and help employers improve options for workers.”

Chernew will sit in the seat reserved by statute for a health economist and Petion will serve in the seat reserved for the small business community. They will participate in the next board meeting on April 9th, and join Gaunya, the broker community member, and Vertes, the health insurance actuary member.

About Michael Chernew:

Dr. Chernew is the Leonard D. Schaeffer professor of Health Care Policy in the Department of Health Care Policy (HCP) at Harvard Medical School. He currently directs HCP’s Healthcare Markets and Regulations (HMR) Lab.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. Dr. Chernew is currently both the co-editor of the American Journal of Managed Care and an editor of the Journal of Health Economics. He is a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisors.  In the past, he has served on the editorial boards of Health Services Research, Health Affairs and Medical Care Research and Review, as well as on technical advisory panels for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate the methods that Medicare actuaries use to assess the financial status of Medicare trust funds. He is also the former Vice Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).  Dr. Chernew’s research, which has been widely published and awarded, focuses on different facets of controlling health care spending growth while ensuring that quality of care is maintained or improved.

About Dimitry Petion:

Mr. Petion is President and CEO of Mulberry Systems in Quincy, MA. He has a strong background in engineering and business, having previously served as President and CEO of Advanced Management Services and spent four years at Harvard Street Neighborhood in positions including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Interim Chief Executive Officer. As a computer engineer and director of several organizations, he brings practical knowledge of business and industry to the healthcare field. Mr. Petion earned his B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering as well as his M.S. in Computer Science from Boston University.
Governor Baker Signs Executive Order Initiating Regulatory Reform Review
Year-long Review to Reduce Burdensome Regulations to Increase Efficiency and Competitiveness

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order immediately initiating a comprehensive review process for all regulations enforced by the Executive Department and leaving in place the regulatory pause announced by the administration earlier this year.

“State government must speak with one voice in its commitment to providing exceptional customer service for citizens, municipalities, businesses, non-profit groups, healthcare providers and educational institutions,” said Governor Baker. “This will be an intensive process that ultimately makes Massachusetts a more efficient and competitive place to live and work, while driving economic growth. I encourage all other areas of state government to put in place a similar process.”

Executive Branch agencies will be charged with ensuring each regulation is clear and concise and that any newly proposed regulations are measured for their potential impact on businesses of all sizes or other entities, including municipalities and non-profits. Agencies will submit regulatory proposals and impact statements to their secretariat before review by the Secretary of Administration and Finance who will establish a process for encouraging public input, standards and schedules. The business and competitiveness impact statements will also be made available on the Commonwealth’s websiteThe Secretary of Administration and Finance may also provide for waivers or exceptions to regulations essential to public health, safety, environment or welfare.

“Making Massachusetts a better place for job creation and business development will require conducting a thorough review of our onerous regulatory environment,” said Kristen Lepore, Secretary of Administration and Finance. “I look forward to working with my fellow secretariats and all stakeholders to establish a careful and complete regulatory review process. We will ensure that all regulations administered by the Executive Department benefit the Commonwealth without undue burdens or costs and serve a legitimate purpose in making Massachusetts a safe, healthy, and effective place to do business.”

Only those regulations which are mandated by law or essential to the health, safety, environment, or welfare of the Commonwealth’s residents shall be retained or modified. In order to find that a regulation meets this standard, the government agency conducting the review must demonstrate that: there is a clearly identified need for governmental intervention that is best addressed by the agency and not another agency or governmental body; the costs of the regulation do not exceed the benefits; the regulation does not exceed federal requirements or duplicate local requirements; there are not any less intrusive or restrictive alternatives; the regulation does not unduly and adversely affect Massachusetts citizens and customers of the Commonwealth, or the competitive environment in Massachusetts; there is a formal process in place for measuring the effectiveness of the regulation; and, the regulation is time-limited or provides for regular review.

Governor Baker Signs Executive Order to Target Chronic Unemployment
Task Force to Present Strategic Plan to the Governor by November

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order to establish a task force on Economic Opportunity for Populations Facing Chronically High Rates of Unemployment. The task force, chaired by Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Ron Walker will lay out a strategic plan to address chronic unemployment among specific target populations. The Secretaries of Housing and Economic Development, Education, Health and Human Services and Veterans’ Services, the Director of Access and Opportunity and members of the community appointed by the governor will also serve on the eight month task force.
                     
“Chronically unemployed populations and regions of our Commonwealth require collaboration with our educators and business community to break down the barriers to economic growth and job creation for everyone,” said Governor Baker.  “Too many Massachusetts workers have become discouraged as a growing economy unfortunately leaves them behind.  This task force will build upon the workforce development practices we know work and replicate them across the Commonwealth to create more opportunities for employment everywhere.”

The task force will be charged with focusing on “target populations” facing chronically high unemployment. African Americans, Hispanic or Latino Americans, certain groups of veterans, and persons with disabilities continue to see higher than average annual unemployment rates between 7 and 12 percent despite an annual average state unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

"For too long, the target populations have suffered from chronically high rates of unemployment," said Secretary Ronald Walker. "The task force is charged with understanding how best to reshape our public workforce system to meet the needs of the target population and how best to assist individuals in achieving their goals of meaningful employment."

The task force will meet to study and identify the challenges in the target populations seeking work, review current workforce development practices, recommend strategies to reduce barriers to employment, and develop goals for recommended programs, policies, and practice. They will actively gather input from community-based organizations, business leaders, local officials and advocates. The task force will make policy recommendations to the governor by November 15, 2015, and shall terminate thirty days following the presentation of that plan to the Governor’s Office for review and policies that can be implemented within state government.

"Every day, we see individuals overcome major obstacles to employment success with the right mix of training, supports, job placement, and belief in their capabilities,” said Jerry Rubin, the CEO of Jewish Vocational Services who will be a member of the task force. “The Commonwealth and our leading employers need their talent, and these individuals deserve the opportunity to succeed."

Governor Baker Unveils Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal
$38.062 billion proposal increases investments in education, local aid, transportation; holds line on taxes and curbs overall spending growth to 3%

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration filed a budget proposal with the Legislature for Fiscal Year 2016 that right-sizes state government and fuels economic growth across the Commonwealth. The budget recommendations include increased investments in local aid, education, homelessness and reliable transportation, while instituting reforms to curb overall spending, and holds the line on new taxes and fees.

“Our budget today sets the stage for a competitive and stable economic environment by making investments essential to future growth,” said Governor Baker. “By right-sizing the budget now and investing in transportation, education and our communities, we are making Massachusetts a better place to live, work and raise our families. This budget will allow our economy to grow, strengthen our schools, and build healthy communities across the Commonwealth.”

“Massachusetts families make tough choices to live within their means and they expect lawmakers to do the same with their hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” said Lt. Governor Polito.  “This budget proposal responsibly addresses our deficit while maintaining our commitment to boost local aid in our cities and towns, support schools and set the tone for a healthy economic environment.”

“The budget we are filing today solves a $1.8 billion budget gap while maintaining core state services and providing increases to many priorities,” said Administration & Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore.  “We accomplished this without raising fees, taxes or drawing down on the stabilization fund – the first time it has not been used in four budget cycles.”


Creating An Environment for Economic Growth

Since day one, the administration has focused on crafting an economic environment suitable for long-term sustainability and growth, starting with steps to ease the burdens placed on our families and businesses.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Swift action to address a $768 million inherited budget deficit without drawing from the stabilization fund, new taxes, fees or cuts to the Department of Children and Families and local aid.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]No new or increased taxes or fees.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]A 90-day regulatory pause.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]An Executive Branch-wide hiring freeze saving tens of millions of dollars.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Taking steps to double the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), allowing the hardworking people of Massachusetts to keep more of their income to support their families.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]Increasing the EITC from 15% to 30% of the federal limit by phasing out the Film Tax Credit over two years.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Announced an ‘End Family Homelessness Reserve Fund’ allocating $20 million to reorganize the state’s approach around prevention, shorten the length of shelter stays through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and reduce the use of hotels and motels for Emergency Assistance.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]The Department of Health will see a $2 million increase for homelessness support services.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]Short-term housing assistance will see a $1.5 million increase through the HomeBASE program.

Investments to Fuel Economic Growth

The administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget makes significant investments in local aid, education, transportation and our Gateway Cities to provide a catalyst that strengthens our communities and allows our businesses to grow.
Local Aid:

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Fulfilling pledge to protect and increase unrestricted local aid by 3.6% to $980 million, based on conservative Gaming and Lottery revenue growths. This increase also fulfills the administration’s commitment to boost local aid by 75% of projected revenue growth.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Investment in the administration’s newly-crafted Community Compact Cabinet, led by Lt. Governor Polito, to enhance the state’s partnership with our cities and towns.

Education:

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Launched a Workforce Skills Gap Cabinet in effort to get workers the skills they need to compete for the jobs of Massachusetts’ future.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Increase of $105.3 million in Chapter 70 education funding, including a minimum of at least $20 per pupil to all 321 school districts for a total of $4.5 billion.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Consolidating 11 Partnership Schools Network programs into one streamlined and more effective grant program for underperforming schools.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]A restoration of $1.2 million for METCO programming.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]$1.5 million to improve early education and care licensing, including the use of hand-held devices for real-time, on-site data entry.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]An average 3% increase to higher education campuses, including the University of Massachusetts system, state universities and community colleges.

Transportation:

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]An overall increase in transportation funding by $109 million, or 20%.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]A 53% increase over Fiscal Year 2015 in direct aid to the MBTA, from $122.5 million to $187 million for operational improvements.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Aligning the snow and ice budget closer to the five-year average, including expected federal reimbursements in the wake of this year’s weather, to a total of $72 million.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]An MBTA Weather Resiliency Fund to support operating costs, projects and programs in weather-related circumstances.

Gateway Cities and the Urban Agenda:

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]An increase to the Transformative Development Fund to spur strategic project plans in our Gateway Cities.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Additional funds to promote small business, create jobs and support workforce development in our urban communities.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Funding for specialized training for the law enforcement community to ensure they have the tools they need to more effectively work with our communities.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Increasing the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative and Summer Jobs programs.


Efficient State Government

The Administration proposes a fiscally responsible budget that avoids tax hikes and fee increases, sending a signal that Massachusetts is poised for economic growth and able to efficiently deliver services to our most vulnerable populations.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]This year’s budget curbs overall spending that has grown significantly over the last several years and has consistently and unsustainably outpaced revenue growth.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]Going unchecked, this path would have increased spending by more than $3 billion, or 8%, in Fiscal Year 2016 and created an anticipated deficit of more than $1.8 billion.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]The administration’s proposal increases spending by 3%, down from 7.8% in FY 15.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]The Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal would be the first budget in four cycles to not draw down on the stabilization fund.

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]The administration’s proposal includes an Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP), to operate government more efficiently and avoid across the board layoffs.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]The ERIP’s would reduce the workforce by 4,500 while limiting the backfilling of open positions to 20% of net savings.
[if !supportLists]o   [endif]With $177.9 million in estimated savings for Fiscal Year 2016, the proposal also responsibly accounts for related increases in the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) and state pension funds.

MassHealth:

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]There is a bipartisan consensus that MassHealth’s growing costs are in need of reform, and the administration’s proposal includes significant changes to curb a projected growth of 16% in Fiscal Year 2016, to 5.6% and at a savings of $1.6 billion, without affecting core benefits or services.

[if !supportLists]o   [endif]Eligibility redeterminations required by the prior failures of the Health Connector site that ensure those who are truly eligible and in need of assistance are receiving those services.

[if !supportLists]o   [endif]A $174 million increase in MassHealth investments including the full implementation of adult dental benefits and Applied Behavioral Analysis services for 10,000 children with autism.

[if !supportLists]o   [endif]A 3% increase to the Department of Children and Families that includes an additional $2.1 million for Family Resource Centers.

[if !supportLists]o   [endif]A pursuit of several much needed reforms including the allowance of bulk purchasing of critical medical equipment and approval of shorter-term drug prescriptions to prevent waste and abuse.

[if !supportLists]o   [endif]Allocated $30 million to resolve litigation and adjust Chapter 257 rates for human service providers, and instituting compliance with Chapter 257 provisions going forward.

[if !supportLists]o   [endif]Additional $300,000 for women’s health care and contraception coverage.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces FY 16 Budget To Include Tax Amnesty Program
First non-filer program in over ten years to run in FY 16, generate $100M

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced that the 2016 fiscal year budget proposal will include a tax amnesty program to generate $100M.  The program is for taxpayers of all tax types who have not previously filed in Massachusetts (non-registrants), plus taxpayers known to DOR who have not filed and have not yet been assessed by the Department of Revenue (DOR) for failing to file.  The amnesty program would run for all of fiscal year 2016.

“Creating incentives for businesses to follow through and pay what they owe will help generate much needed revenue as our administration fixes the budget problems we inherited and brings filers into the system for future payments,” said Governor Baker. “This amnesty program will help craft a fiscally responsible budget that protects taxpayers, delivers much needed services to those who need it the most while protecting local aid for our cities and towns.”

The last non-filer tax amnesty program ran in 2002, and generated $176 million.

Governor Baker Signs Executive Order to Address Workforce Skills Gap
Workforce Skills Cabinet will coordinate between Labor, Education and Economic Development

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order today to begin the process of bridging the workforce skills gap in Massachusetts, establishing a Workforce Skills Cabinet chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Ron Walker, and comprised of the Secretaries of Education, Housing and Economic Development and others as required. The cabinet is charged with creating and implementing a strategy to develop workforce skills to meet the varying needs of employers in the Commonwealth’s regions, today and in the future.

“A talented workforce and growing economy are inseparable and Massachusetts has an opportunity to capitalize on both by ensuring our workers have the skills to meet the needs of employers in the 21st century economy,” said Governor Baker. “The different regions that make up Massachusetts will require dynamic strategies to address the workforce skills gap, but by increasing our communication and coordination, we can prepare individuals across the Commonwealth for the family-sustaining jobs of the future.”

The Workforce Skills Cabinet will develop goals, objectives and metrics with the input of individuals, businesses, government agencies and community-based organizations and advocacy groups, identifying, recommending and ultimately implementing by region, suggestions to improve alignment amongst state policies, programs, resources to improve workforce skills, job readiness and vocational and educational opportunities, reporting their progress back to the Governor.

“One of the most challenging problems facing the Commonwealth is a skills gap that makes it difficult for employers to fill job openings,” said Lt. Governor Polito.  “I am confident this effort will help us identify these obstacles so we can make progress to get people into good-paying jobs so they can support their families and our local economy.”

The Director of Education and Workforce Development, a jointly funded position in the Executive Office of Education, will be elevated to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and coordinate with the Governor’s Office, the Workforce Skills Cabinet, and with external groups. 

“Governor Baker and I know we need to better connect business to the entire workforce development system which includes workforce investment boards, career centers, community colleges and vo-tech schools,” said Secretary Walker. “The Workforce Skills Cabinet will be the vehicle to drive the conversation and action across the three Secretariats to analyze labor needs and expand talent pipelines for the jobs employers need to fill.

Baker-Polito Statement on Regional Clean Energy RFP and DPU Docket on Natural Gas Expansion

Baker-Polito Administration Names Washington, D.C. Director

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced Tiffany Watkins Ahern as the Director of the Governor’s Washington, D.C. Office.

“We are very pleased to welcome Tiffany into the administration,” said Ryan Coleman, legislative director. “She brings a wealth of experience both at the federal and state level, and I know that she will be a great addition to the Governor’s staff.”

“I’m proud to join Governor Baker’s team in Washington to keep a pulse on federal and congressional initiatives that support this administration’s agenda to make Massachusetts a better place to work, live and go to school for families across the Commonwealth,” said Tiffany Watkins Ahern.


About Tiffany Watkins Ahern:

Tiffany Watkins Ahern was the Northeast Regional Political Director for the Republican National Committee. Prior to that, she served as Director of Government Affairs for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. She has previously held positions with Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate, Orr Associates, the U.S. Department of Education, Jim Talent for U.S. Senate, the Bush-Cheney Re-Election Campaign, the White House Office of Public Liaison, and Merrill Lynch.  Tiffany graduated with a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an avid runner and has participated in more than 20 events that benefit charities.
Governor Baker Statement on Selection as Vice Chairman of the Coalition of Northeast Governors

WASHINGTON, DC – This morning at a meeting of the Coalition of Northeast Governors (CONEG) Governor Charlie Baker was elected as the group's Vice Chairman.

"I'm honored to have the support of my peers as Vice Chair for the Coalition of Northeast Governors," said Governor Baker. "New England faces many unique challenges, with even greater opportunities to answer them in a meaningful way for the citizens we serve. I look forward to working together with my colleagues to address the availability of energy on the New England grid, the opiate and drug addiction epidemic and all the issues that impact our region."

The Coalition of Northeast Governors met this morning during the National Governors Association weekend in Washington.

"I congratulate and commend Governor Baker on his election as Vice Chair of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors," said Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Chair of CONEG. "I look forward to working closely with him to bring innovative, bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing our region.

Baker-Polito Administration Issues Notice on Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) in Massachusetts
Will work with Mayors Walsh, Curtatone to create regulatory framework for Uber, Lyft operators

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker directed the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to issue public notice clarifying the status of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, in the state of Massachusetts. The issuance permits TNC drivers to continue operating in the Commonwealth, while allowing the administration to begin discussions about a regulatory framework to ensure the enhanced safety of drivers and riders.

“In order for Massachusetts’ economy to thrive, we must continue to embrace technology and innovation as a means for growth,” said Governor Baker. “Emerging transportation options such as Uber and Lyft present a real opportunity for our evolving transportation ecosystem to more efficiently serve residents and visitors to Massachusetts alike. We also have a responsibility to step up to ensure consumer choice and public safety prevail, and that Massachusetts continues to develop as a global destination for business and tourism.”

New Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) regulations issued in December 2014 and effective on January 16, 2015, require TNCs to be licensed by the state and permit drivers who work with licensed TNCs to use private vehicles to drive paying passengers.  But, because a TNC licensing framework must be developed through legislation, the RMV regulations allow TNC drivers to use private vehicles for a six-month period, during which the Baker Administration will develop a licensing framework – all in consultation with cities, industry leaders, and stakeholders, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. 

“The City of Boston looks forward to working with Governor Baker in developing a sensible, comprehensive regulatory framework for all for-hire transportation services across the Commonwealth that ensures transportation services are safe and accessible,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. “The City's Taxi Advisory Committee has been developing a new city policy on for hire transportation services, and I am excited to be able to share the research and experience of that group with Governor Baker and his administration in a complementary and collaborative way.”

"Somerville is committed to working collaboratively with Governor Baker as he develops a permanent state-level regulatory structure that embraces transportation innovation, places the interests of customers first, and makes sure that we create a transportation system that works across municipal boundaries,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville. “Entrepreneurs and new businesses like Uber are creating new business models and new jobs, but at the same time, we need solutions that work for both those new businesses and for long-time businesses and their employees. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves in partnership with the state to find the right solution.”

“The Department strives to balance the needs of emerging transportation network companies, with the requirements of inherent public safety measures,” said Angela O’Connor, Chairman of the DPU.  “We look forward to working with all interested parties to accomplish these objectives.”

The permanent licensing structure will allow the state to ensure both consumer choice and public safety with proper background checks of drivers; proper safety checks of TNC vehicles and adequate insurance in the event of an accident.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Plan to Close Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Gap
Solution protects local aid, avoids tax hikes and any draw from the Stabilization Fund

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito today announced a series of proposals to close the Fiscal Year 15 (FY 15) budget gap recently identified by the Administration. The fixes include a combination of the Governor’s 9C authority to adjust Executive Branch spending, as well as legislation for additional spending reductions, non-tax revenue adjustments, and other one-time fixes.

As originally promised, the plan announced today does not raise taxes, cut local aid, or draw down on the state’s Stabilization Fund. The total budget imbalance addressed for FY 15 was adjusted slightly, from $765 million to $768 million due to updated tax data and other factors such as last week’s winter storm. After today’s proposal, spending for FY 15 is still a 7.7% increase over FY 14.

“The substantial deficit we face as a Commonwealth as a result of over-spending requires the cooperation of our partners in the legislature and I look forward to working with lawmakers to enact the changes we identified to balance the budget for the rest of the fiscal year,” said Governor Baker. “These adjustments were considered carefully, understanding that the decisions we make today are crucial to implementing responsible fiscal planning for the future.  Thankfully, our response to the spending problem we inherited protects local aid, taxpayers and critical services for people without drawing from the rainy day fund.  We recognize that some proposals represent one-time fixes and that further structural changes will be needed to correct the spending imbalance for next year and beyond.”

“Fixing this year’s state budget deficit is an opportunity for Massachusetts to rein in what has become a serious spending problem,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “The Commonwealth’s revenues continue to grow at a consistent pace and now it’s time to correct unprecedented spending to more realistically mirror budgeting realities.  This administration made a commitment to the cities and towns of Massachusetts and I am pleased we protected critical local aid resources for our partners in municipal government.

“Thanks to the leadership of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and my fellow Cabinet Secretaries, we developed solutions that balance this year’s budget in a manner consistent with the administration's commitment to taxpayers, municipalities, and critical services ,” said Secretary Lepore, Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.  “Our team has worked around the clock for the past three weeks to identify and resolve the current year’s budget.  We can now turn our attention to developing a fiscally sound Fiscal Year 2016 budget that incorporates long term solutions to address the state's spending problem."

The Administration has proposed reaching this solution through administrative reductions, revenue opportunities, and a combination of changes at the MassHealth program.  Nearly half of the solution is derived from reductions in administrative expenses, including 9C reductions and expected reversions.

There were close to 300 9C reductions proposed, almost 60% of which still left their line item with a higher level of funding than in Fiscal Year 2014.

Notable Savings Initiatives:
•          A 10% reduction from the Governor’s Office.
•          $168 million through redeterminations, revenue optimizations, and cash management at MassHealth.
•          $22 million from hiring freeze.

Notable Savings From Programs Not Started ($73 million):
•          $37 million economic development bill.
•          $200K saved from a parking management study.
•          $2.3 million from a clean water planning & technical assistance program.
•          $600K from a water technology innovation program.

Notable Items With No Spending Reductions:
•          Local aid
•          Department of Children and Families
•          Homelessness

Governor Baker Signs Executive Order to Strengthen Municipal Partnerships

New Executive Order Creates The Community Compact Cabinet To Elevate Municipal Relationships With Governor’s Office

Boston - Governor Baker today signed his first Executive Order, creating the Community Compact Cabinet, to elevate the Administration’s partnerships with cities and towns in all communities of the Commonwealth.  Chaired by Lt. Governor Polito, the Community Compact Cabinet will allow the Governor’s Office to work more closely with leaders from all cities and towns. 

“Karyn and I both served as selectmen in our hometowns and clearly understand the important challenges encountered in our local communities,” said Governor Baker.  “I am pleased to sign this Executive Order which gives cities and towns a real seat at the table in our Administration. State and local government are tightly intertwined and with Karyn at the helm of the Community Compact Cabinet, our Administration will be better equipped to respond to their needs and  create safer, stronger communities across the Commonwealth." 

“This is a critical first step in the right direction for our Administration,” said Lt. Governor Polito.  “I look forward to championing this effort throughout the Commonwealth to partner with our hardworking municipalities and pave the way for better and brighter opportunities in our schools and communities.”

About Executive Order:

• Empowers Lieutenant Governor Polito to be a champion for municipal issues across state government

• Restructures the Department of Revenue to include a new Senior Commissioner for the Division of Local Services, reporting directly to the Commissioner

• Creates a Community Compact Cabinet that will work toward mutual accountability, work to reduce red tape, promote best practices, and develop specific “community compacts” with local governments. 

• These community compacts will create clear, mutual standards, expectations, and accountability for both the state and municipalities as we seek to create better government for our citizens.

This Executive Order will revoke and supersede Executive Order 537, which was invoked under the previous Administration in September 2011 and relegated municipal affairs to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. 

Next week, Lt. Governor Polito will kick-off a statewide tour to meet with local mayors and address ways to strengthen partnerships in our communities.  Polito will discuss the $100 million in new Chapter 90 funding that was released on the Administration’s first day in office to fund local road and bridge repairs for every city and town in the Commonwealth.  The Baker Administration has pledged to protect local aid, funding for the homelessness and the Department of Children and Families.

Governor Baker announced his first Executive Order today at the Massachusetts Municipal Association Opening Session in Boston.

TEXT OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER 


By His Excellency

CHARLES D. BAKER
GOVERNOR
                                                                                                               
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. ____

Revoking and Superseding Executive Order 537

CREATING THE COMMUNITY COMPACT CABINET

            WHEREAS, cities and towns are at the front lines of delivering services to the citizens of the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, cities and towns are vital partners in creating the conditions under
which economic development flourishes throughout Massachusetts;

            WHEREAS, cities and towns face increasing pressures on municipal and school budgets, which impacts those essential services;

            WHEREAS, cities and towns, through local aid and other programs, are partners with the Commonwealth;

            WHEREAS, the Commonwealth wishes to recommit itself to a stronger partnership with its cities and towns;

            WHEREAS, cities and towns have the right to hold the Commonwealth accountable, the Commonwealth has the right to hold cities and towns accountable, and the citizens have the right to hold all levels of government accountable.  There should be a new compact between the state and our communities to create more effective, efficient and accountable governments.

            NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution as Supreme Executive Magistrate, Part 2, c. 2, § 1, Art. 1, do hereby revoke Executive Order No. 537 and order as follows:

            Section 1.  There is hereby established within the Executive Office of the Governor, a Community Compact Cabinet to advise the Governor on its areas of responsibility set forth in Section 4 below.

            Section 2.  There shall be, within the Department of Revenue, a Senior Deputy Commissioner, Division of Local Services, who shall report to the Commissioner of Revenue and shall be responsible for the operations and activities of the Division of Local Services.  In addition, the new Senior Deputy Commissioner will also be the primary lead on local issues on behalf of the Secretary of Administration and Finance.

            Section 3.  The Community Compact Cabinet shall be chaired by the Lieutenant Governor.  The Senior Deputy Commissioner, Division of Local Services shall serve as the Vice-Chair of the cabinet.  The cabinet shall also include the Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Education, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Assistant Secretary for Operational Services, the Chief Information Officer, and any other person whom the Lieutenant Governor may designate from time to time.

            Section 4.  The Community Compact Cabinet shall have the following areas of responsibility:

(a)   to champion municipal interests across all executive secretariats and agencies;
(b)   to develop, in consultation with cities and towns, mutual standards of best practices for both the state and municipalities, working toward the creation of community compacts that will create clear standards, expectations and accountability for both partners;
(c)    to develop ideas to incentivize adoption of best practices at the municipal and school district level; 
(d)   to work with the Local Government Advisory Commission (the “LGAC”) to resolve issues and implement recommendations made by the LGAC and approved by the Governor;
(e)   to review state regulatory burdens on municipalities and school districts and recommend reforms to lessen the burdens on municipalities and school districts;
(f)     to understand the major cost drivers of municipalities and school districts and identify actions that the Commonwealth, municipalities and school districts can take to control them; 
(g)   to identify and remove barriers to economic development opportunities for cities and towns; and
(h)   to empower cities and towns and school districts by finding new ways for local governments to leverage state resources and capacity.
Section 5.  All agencies subject to the Governor’s control shall provide assistance to the Community Compact Cabinet by sharing information and expertise, as requested.

Section 6.  This Executive Order shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.


Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 23rd day of January in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred thirty-nine.


______________________________
CHARLES D. BAKER
GOVERNOR
Commonwealth of Massachusetts




___________________________
WILLIAM FRANCIS GALVIN
Secretary of the Commonwealth


GOD SAVE THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Health Connector, MassHealth Appointments

New executive director to assume role at the Connector as MassHealth Director position elevated to Assistant Secretary role

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today announced two key healthcare appointments who will be tasked with ensuring that Massachusetts’ Medicaid population are receiving proper coverage and that healthcare consumers have the tools necessary and readily available to seek out insurance on the private market and Connector website. 

Governor Baker announced the position of Director of MassHealth will be elevated to Assistant Secretary for MassHealth under Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and appointed Daniel Tsai to that post. This change in designation will allow for enhanced coordination between MassHealth and other state agencies and empower policy, payment and service reforms needed to benefit members and the Commonwealth.

Louis Gutierrez, a longtime information technology and planning specialist in the private sector and state government, was announced as the Executive Director for the Massachusetts Health Connector. Mr. Gutierrez will be officially appointed to the post by Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore under her office’s statutory authority as Chair of the Health Connector Board of Directors.

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in healthcare reform, but we must always look for ways to improve on how we serve those in need and ensure our residents have the information needed to find affordable coverage,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am confident in Daniel’s ability to fill this new and expanded role as Assistant Secretary to facilitate further cooperation among agencies who assist and care for our Medicaid population, and Louis’ talent will be a welcome voice and mind for those families and individuals searching for quality and affordable healthcare.”

"I believe deeply in the mission of MassHealth and the important services it provides for our most vulnerable populations," said Daniel Tsai. "I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to work with Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders to enhance the voice of these individuals in state government."

“Rapidly evolving technology presents us every day with new opportunities and unique challenges to improve operations and services to our consumers -- in this case, healthcare for the people of Massachusetts,” said Louis Gutierrez. “I am looking forward to serving with Governor Baker as we work to streamline access to healthcare for those needing coverage for themselves and their families.”

MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, provides access to critical, affordable and quality health care to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations in the communities where they live. MassHealth serves 1.7 million low-and moderate-income individuals and individuals with disabilities, or approximately one in four Massachusetts residents. Through grants and demonstrations, MassHealth seeks to enhance the ability of hospitals and community health centers to more efficiently and effectively deliver integrated health care services to the MassHealth members they serve.

The Health Connector is Massachusetts’ own health insurance marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses to shop for health and dental coverage, helping Massachusetts to achieve the highest rate of health insurance coverage in the nation. Problems developing with the site last year cost hundreds of millions of dollars in recent technology fixes and temporary Medicaid coverage plans for over 300,000 residents, contributing to Massachusetts’ recently announced, $765 million budget deficit. 

About Daniel Tsai:

Daniel Tsai currently serves as a Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Healthcare Systems and Services practice, co-leading the firm’s Medicaid service line.  He has significant experience designing and implementing innovative, state-wide payment systems for Medicaid, Medicare and Commercial populations, and has worked closely with multiple Medicaid programs, private payers, and Fortune 50 health services companies. Tsai regularly leads workshops and conference sessions on health care payment and care delivery strategies and holds an A.B. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard.

About Louis Gutierrez: 

Louis Gutierrez has spent the last seven years as a principal in the Massachusetts-based IT consulting firm Exeter Group. Until this appointment, he served on the boards of directors of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the New England Health Exchange Network. He is returning after previous roles in Massachusetts state government and information technology, including Chief Information Officer for the Commonwealth in the Romney, Weld and Celluci administrations where he was also an Assistant Secretary for Administration and Finance. Gutierrez also served as a Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Technology Officer (CIO/CTO) at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care during its 1999-2002 corporate turnaround, and was a 2002 recipient of Computerworld’s Premier 100 award for distinguished CIOs.


Baker-Polito Administration Names Housing & Economic Development Leadership

Brighton- Today, the Baker-Polito administration announced key leadership positions in the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

"I am thrilled to have such dedicated public servants joining our team," said HED Secretary-designate Jay Ash. "As we implement the Governor-elect's ambitious agenda to build stronger communities and make Massachusetts more competitive for job creation, their experience in economic development and consumer protection will be crucial to helping the administration better serve the commonwealth."

Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary for Business Development

Nam Pham is currently the Executive Director for VietAID, the first community development corporation tasked with assisting the Vietnamese American population in the U.S. Pham has spent more than 20 years in non-profit, government and commercial banking, and coauthoring Lending Tool Kits for the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank. He served in the Weld and Celluci administrations' as Commissioner for the Office of Refugees and Immigrants. 

John Chapman, Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations

John Chapman's career includes professional experience as an attorney in the public, private and non-profit sectors, seven years of which were spent as a lawyer in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division. As a member of the Romney administration's reform team, Chapman served as the Commissioner for the Department of Industrial Accidents and Undersecretary for the Executive Office of Economic Development. He was most recently a candidate for U.S. Congress in Massachusetts' 9th District.

Baker-Polito Administration Names Environmental Protection Commissioner

Brighton- Today, the Baker-Polito administration announced Martin Suuberg, currently the Undersecretary for the Environment, as Commissioner for Environmental Protection.

"I am pleased to have Martin Suuberg joining our team, " said Matthew Beaton, EEA Secretary-designate, "and look forward to the valuable experience he will bring from his current role in state government and long career in ensuring our environment is protected for future generations."

"I am honored to take on an expanded role in Governor-elect Baker's administration," said Undersecretary Suuberg, "and am excited for the opportunity to continue serving the environmental interests of the people of Massachusetts."

About Martin Suuberg:Martin Suuberg has almost 30 years of experience working in environmental and natural resource agencies at the state and federal level, including the federal Department of the Interior, MassDEP, at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the former Department of Environmental Management.  His career includes almost ten years as Regional Director of MassDEP's Central Region, where his office was responsible for permitting, inspection and enforcement activities.  As a lawyer and manager, he has worked to effectively and efficiently administer the environmental laws that protect the quality of life Massachusetts citizens so highly value. 

麻州候任州長查理貝克(Charlie Baker)和候任副州長白莉朵(Karyn Polito)的交接小組,昨(十)日宣佈為麻州第72任州長的政府轉移,推出“偉大麻州(www.BeGreatMA.com.)”的數位樞紐。
            該網站將為民眾提供聯絡表,上載履歷表的工具。未來數週將繼續增加其他功能。
查理貝克的通訊主任白克雷(Tim Buckley)表示,打造一個強而有力,富經驗,不分黨派的團隊,是候任州長查理貝克目前的最優先要務。他們的目標是要撒出寬廣大網,迎進更多的符合資格申請者。他們希望任何有興趣加入查理貝克政府的人,都能利用這網站資源和他們聯絡。
查理貝克昨日一早和麻州下一任參議會議長羅森伯(Stanley C. Rosenberg),麻州中議會議長狄樂歐(Robert A. DeLeo),以及即將卸任的參議會議長泰瑞莎穆瑞(Therese Murray)等麻州議會領袖晤面,為新政府和議會打好關係下功夫。
坊間預測,查理貝克上任後,頭一百天的行程,將仿照,參考共和黨前州長威廉威爾德,以及瑟祿奇當年的安排。

查理貝克展開感謝選民之旅
November 10, 2014
候任州長查理貝克(Charlie Baker ) 展開“感謝選民之旅“,昨(九)日一早先到”所有國家的感恩教堂(Grace Church of All Nations)“,再到南波士頓,北端(North End)與選民親切晤談。
即將於十一月十三日慶祝五十八歲生日的查理貝克從當選以來,面對外界探問,都只強調他要挑選適任者,組織一個不分黨派的政府。他在當選以後陸續與媒體晤談時透露,有意推動修改競選獻金法,讓在位者無法得到太多的募款優勢;打算修訂政府聘用條例,要求政府單位在人事聘用上更為透明,公佈每一名申請者持有的證件,以及有沒任何政府官員,議員推薦等。
由於查理貝克的兒子在他競選期間參加學校球賽,摔斷了手,送醫後,醫生開的藥竟是能讓人上癮的Percocet當談及上任後將推動哪些政策時,查理貝克因此激動表示,有意邀波士頓市長馬丁華殊(Martin Walsh),工會AFL-CIO董事長Steven Tolman等人組織一個聯盟,討論制定上癮政策(addiction policy)。
查理貝克在面對未來州政府的人事問題時,坦言自己有被來自四面八方的推薦“轟炸”之感,但感恩的表示,那都是人們出於好心,想要幫他忙。目前他還沒有做任何決定。
            昨日,感恩教堂牧師開玩笑的說,查理貝克從參選以來,到過該教堂那麼多次,已通過被接受為會員的出席次數條件了。
            查理貝克在致詞時表示,這次參選,他拜訪了很多別人認為他根本拿不到票的地方,但那又怎麼樣,他是為了競選成功,希望接觸到百分之百的所有選民,到底這場選舉的最終目的是要為麻州所有居民服務。
            感恩教堂牧師表示,他認為查理貝克是真正想要做好事的人。
            曾任波士頓市市長的雷夫連(Mayor Raymond Flynn),波士頓市議員查理楊西(Charles Yancey)昨日都到教堂去了。
            查理貝克昨日下午先到南波士頓L街客棧去感謝選民。他鑽到吧台後面,向廿,三十名選民說謝謝,應民眾要求拿起“我投票給查理(I voted for Charlie)“的標語牌,和選民一起合照,親切的和出席民眾閒談。他還特地點名感謝曾競選波士頓市長,現為波士頓不分區市議員的米高法拉提(Michael Flaherty)給他的支持。
            米高法拉提表示,當年查理貝克在州政府工作時,他們在州市合作的活動中有過接觸,建立起了友誼。
            一名出席感謝會的年輕南波士頓居民表示,南波士頓是個很特別的地方,保守派佔多數,儘管大多數居民登記為民主黨,投票時,尤其是選州長這一票,卻一向是投給共和黨,藉以支持州內的黨派平衡。
        他指出,不過,這次選舉,查理貝克在南波士頓的得票率高達60%,比許多人預料的54%左右高許多,查理貝克的感謝是很可以理解的。
            昨日下午,查理貝克還去了北端(North End)的勝利餐廳(Café Vittoria)去感謝選民。
查理貝克今(十)日將和麻州參議員羅森伯(Stanley Rosenberg ),以及麻州眾議會議長狄樂歐(Robert DeLeo)晤談,為政府交接做準備。
  
圖片說明:
            麻州候任州長查理貝克(Charlie Baker)和妻子蘿仁(Lauren)到南波士頓感謝選民。(菊子攝)
            麻州候任州長查理貝克(Charlie Baker)和妻子蘿仁(Lauren)向南波士頓選民表示,也得感謝波士頓市議員米高法拉提的幫助。(菊子攝)
            米高法拉提(中)曾和尹常賢搭擋競選波士頓市長,去年捲土重來得回到政壇,當選波市不分區市議員。(菊子攝)