MMA issues ‘10 Partnership Policies to Build a Stronger Commonwealth’

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For more information, contact MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith at (617) 426-7272

MMA Urges All Candidates to Support a Powerful and Productive State-Local Partnership

The Massachusetts Municipal Association today issued 10 Partnership Policies to Build a Stronger Commonwealth, and the association is asking all of the candidates for governor and the Legislature to publicly embrace the MMA’s agenda to invest in cities and towns across the state.
The policies cover a wide range of vital issues, reflecting the broad scope of shared responsibilities that are held by state and local leaders.
“Local officials across Massachusetts are committed to working very closely with the next governor and all incoming legislators to deepen and strengthen the partnership between cities and towns and state government,” said Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas, the president of the MMA. “By working together, local and state leaders can build a strong and prosperous future for Massachusetts, and the MMA’s Partnership Policies can make this happen.”
The MMA’s 10 Partnership Policies are explained in detail in a special 12-page publication that was posted on the MMA website earlier today.
“Taken together, these 10 Partnership Policies will rebuild a strong and lasting state-local financial relationship, invest in communities for economic development and progress, ensure effective and sustainable government administration, and create a working state-local partnership for the future,” said Orleans Selectman David Dunford, the vice president of the MMA.
The MMA’s 10 Partnership Policies to Build a Stronger Commonwealth are:
1. Restore revenue sharing to build a new and enduring state-local fiscal partnership that shares future state tax revenue growth with cities and towns in order to fund local government services and reduce our overreliance on the property tax.
2. Fix the school finance law to update and modernize the Chapter 70 program to ensure that all students have access to high-quality and adequately funded public education programs, and state and local governments share fairly in the cost.
3. Fund key programs and obligations so that the state keeps its commitment to fund essential aid accounts for targeted municipal and school programs, including full funding of all state mandates.
4. Support fairness in local taxation to reform and improve the cumbersome state-local system of property exemptions, abatements and tax relief to ensure that needy taxpayers are protected from an excessive property tax burden, and to provide that local property tax exemptions are granted only where truly warranted.
5. Oppose any new unfunded mandates and fully fund all existing mandates, and commit to a process that reviews and identifies the cost of all proposed mandates and regulatory changes prior to their enactment.
6. Invest in essential public infrastructure by increasing the state’s support for the “bricks and mortar” underpinnings of roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems to ensure that we can sustain and expand a modern economy and vibrant communities.
7. Invest in public technology at the local and state level to ensure that Massachusetts will be competitive in the modern global economy.
8. Empower citizen-driven planning and zoning by carefully updating the state’s Zoning Act and related laws to provide cities and towns with new authority and flexibility to guide residential and business land-use decisions toward local and state goals.
9. Allow cities and towns to effectively manage by recognizing that the archaic personnel management laws in Massachusetts impose burdens on municipal budgets, make it difficult to attract and retain qualified employees, and are in need of “stem to stern” modernization.
10. Commit to constant communication and direct dialogue by having the governor and lieutenant governor both attend and actively participate in the Local Government Advisory Commission.
“A strong and enduring partnership between cities and towns and state government is necessary to build a healthy and expanding economy and allow local government to provide world-class education and municipal services, ensure safe streets and neighborhoods, and maintain local roads and vital infrastructure,” said MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith. “This partnership is fundamental to our state’s economic success and competitiveness, which is why the MMA is offering these 10 Partnership Policies.”
The Massachusetts Municipal Association is the statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association that provides advocacy, training, publications, research and other services to Massachusetts cities and towns. The MMA is the only statewide organization that brings municipal officials together to establish unified policies, to advocate these policies, and to ensure the effective delivery of services to community residents.
Download 10 Partnership Policies to Build a Stronger Commonwealth (280K PDF)