• Advocating To Override The Governor’s Vetoes And Reduced Funding

    by  • July 12, 2016 • Calls to Action, DIYA

    As MALC reported Sunday night, last Friday afternoon (July 8th), Governor Charlie Baker vetoed $256 million in spending for the state’s 2017 Budget Proposal. The legislature has until July 31 to override all or some of his line item vetoes and/or his line item funding reductions.

    MALC urges all artists and arts/creative economy supporters to contact the offices of both their state representative and their state senator. Please ask them to override/restore funding to the budget line items and funding formulas that impact our sector (listed at the end of this blog post).

    Step 1: Determine who your state rep. and state senator are

    Go to http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.aspx, type in your address, and find out who represents you within the state legislature.

    Step 2: Contact your legislators’ offices and thank them for their service

    The budget process is a complex and difficult endeavor. Our representatives and senators have been working hard to address the needs/concerns of their constituents and all residents of the Commonwealth. Their staffers have been working hard as well. Please thank them for their dedication to our state and all the support they have given our sector.

    Step 3: Respectfully request overrides

    The legislature is faced with a tough reality. Recently revised estimates of expected revenues are lower than projections made earlier this year. Lower capital gains tax receipts means less money with which to fund the budget. Cuts will be made. Don’t make demands. Just politely and respectfully request that your legislators override the following seven budget line items and/or funding formulas that are listed at the end of this blog post. (Make sure you share the line item number (when denoted) when asking for your State Representative and Senator to override the Governor’s vetoes/spending cuts.)

    To view the Governor’s vetoes/reductions in spending: http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/state-budget/fy17-budget-info/governors-fy17-vetoes/

    The State’s website has online tools to help you dig deeper into the budget process: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/Process

    Stay tuned for updates on the budget process as the House and Senate meet this week!

    Seven Overrides to Ask For:

    1. Massachusetts Cultural Council  Line Item # 0640-0300  Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore full funding to this line item by overriding the Governor’s veto/reduction in funding and to sign on to a letter being circulated by the Co-Chairs of the Cultural Caucus and the Co-Chairs of Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development- (For your State Rep & Senator to sign on to this letter, they should contact Gena Frank in Rep Pignatelli’s office by tomorrow July 13th 2pm-Eugenia.Frank@mahouse.gov)                                                 

    What the Governor vetoed/reduced in funding:

    Reduce/Strike Wording  (reduce MCC funding by) 7,771,376* to  6,527,624**
    “I am striking language which earmarks funding for programs not recommended, and I am reducing this item to the amount projected to be necessary.”

    2. Regional Libraries Local Aid Line Item # 7000-9401  Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore full funding to this line item by overriding the Governor’s veto/reduction in funding.

    What the Governor vetoed/reduced in funding:

    Reduce by 113,103* to  9,770,379**
    “I am reducing this item to the amount projected to be necessary.”

    3. Municipal Libraries Local Aid   Line Item # 7000-9501  Ask your State Representative & Senato  to restore full funding to this line item by overriding the Governor’s veto/reduction in funding.

    What the Governor vetoed/reduced in funding:

    Reduce by 102,993*  to 8,897,007**
    “I am reducing this item to the amount projected to be necessary.”

    4. Center for the Book  Line Item # 7000-9508  Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore full funding to this line item.

    What the Governor vetoed/reduced in funding:

    Veto 200,000*     0** (basically cut all funding for the Center for the Book)
    I am reducing this item to the amount projected to be necessary.

    5. MA Office of Travel and Tourism Line Item # 7008-0900  Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore full funding to this line item.

    What the Governor vetoed/reduced in funding: 

    Reduce Earmarking   by 8,320,000*    to 659,666**
    “I am striking language which earmarks funding for programs not recommended. The reduction in the item incorporates the amount of the stricken earmarked funds.”

    6. State University Funding Formula 

    While no specific cuts were made to Massachusetts College of Art & Design, the Governor did cut $2.5 million to be distributed through a State University Funding Formula. Some of this money would presumably help support Mass Art. Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore the $2.5 million to the State University Funding Formula.

    7. Tourism Formula

    The Governor also revised the Tourism Formula in his vetoes  Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore the original language for the Tourism Formula that was contained in an outside section of the budget.

    What the Governor vetoed/reduced in funding:

    “Section 39 Reduce By $3,000,000*  to $7,000,000** – Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore the funding back to $10,000,000.

    Below is the original wording by the House & Senate in the budget that the Governor vetoes/changed.  Ask your State Representative & Senator to restore the original language below:

    “There shall be a Massachusetts Tourism Trust Fund which shall be administered by the Massachusetts marketing partnership established in section 13A and held by the partnership separate and apart from its other funds. There shall be credited to the fund $10,000,000 from the room occupancy excise imposed by section 3 of chapter 64G and section 22 of chapter 546 of the acts of 1969.
    (b) There shall also be credited to the fund all revenue as designated under the Gaming Revenue Fund pursuant to subclause (b) of clause (2) of section 59 of chapter 23K.
    (c) All available money in the fund that is unexpended at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure by the fund in the subsequent fiscal year.
    (d) Money in the fund shall be applied as follows:
    (i) 40 per cent to the Massachusetts marketing partnership; and
    (ii) 60 per cent to regional tourism councils.”

    *The dollar amount the Governor wants to cut the budget line item by.

    ** The new proposed level of funding by the Governor for the budget line item.

     

    About

    John Weeks is a MALC Steering Committee member committed to social justice for artists. A former staffer at the Mass. State House, he works as a political consultant and a literary publicist. John is an author who studies the finer points of literary technique at Boston’s Grub Street.