The Honorable Walter F. Timilty, Senate Chair
The Honorable Linda Dean Campbell, House Chair
Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs
State House, Boston

Dear Chair Timilty, Chair Campbell, and Committee Members,

On behalf of cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is pleased to offer testimony in strong support of H. 3196 and S. 2154, An Act Providing for Timely Reimbursement of Cities and Towns for Veterans’ Benefits, before your committee for public hearing today.

In Massachusetts, unlike any other state, the majority of guidance and support for veterans happens at the local level and is provided to any eligible veteran living in the community. While local officials are deeply committed to providing excellent services for veterans, creating a system that has more flexibility and is less financially burdensome would go a long way in creating an even more comprehensive array of services.

Currently, cities and towns pay 100 percent of the cost of benefits to veterans and are reimbursed 75 percent by the state on the next year’s Cherry Sheet. This delay in reimbursement, sometimes as long as one and a half fiscal years, presents a serious cash flow problem, particularly for smaller communities.

H. 3196 and S. 2154 would ease the financial burden for communities by requiring these reimbursements be made no later than 6 months after the date on which such expenditures are certified by the commissioner. Massachusetts is considered a leader when it comes to services for veterans, and these bills would allow municipal time and resources to be focused on ensuring the best possible care for our veterans.

Thank you for your interest in this very important local government matter. If you have any questions, please contact me or MMA Senior Legislative Analyst Brittney Franklin at 617-426-7272 or bfranklin@mma.org at any time.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO