Resolution Calling for a Full Local-Federal Partnership to Protect the United States Economy, Preserve Essential Services for Citizens, and Ensure the Fiscal Health of the Cities and Towns of the Commonwealth (2013)

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As adopted by the members on January 26, 2013.

Whereas, a true partnership between federal, state, and local government is necessary and in the best interest of our citizens, our communities, our economy, and our quality of life; and

Whereas, the economy of our nation is only as strong as the economies of our cities and towns; and

Whereas, federal funds are used at the municipal level to develop communities, foster economic growth and prosperity, protect public safety, safeguard the environment and public health, improve transportation and infrastructure, support public education, and provide essential social services; and

Whereas, federal funds support several key industries in Massachusetts that drive cutting-edge research and development in health, technology, and higher education, and employ thousands of residents in our municipalities; and

Whereas, any reduction in federal funding to municipalities will have a direct and negative impact on the vitality of each municipality, on the health of our economy, and the quality of life of our citizens; and

Whereas, scheduled across-the-board reductions in federal spending on domestic programs as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, or any successor legislation, would impose harmful cuts that would erode economic and community development programs, undermine the delivery of essential services to citizens, and limit the capacity for long-term planning at the local level; and

Whereas, even the threat of this “fiscal cliff” has had a debilitating effect on economic growth in cities and towns across the country and our nation’s overall economy; and

Whereas, the passage of a six-month federal budget continuing resolution at the end of the federal fiscal year 2012 did not resolve any of these issues, and actually increased economic uncertainty about future spending; and

Whereas, independent economists have reported that the nation will be at risk of slipping into another recession if deep across-the-board domestic spending cuts are implemented by the federal government, which would increase the demand for government services at the state and local level, and cause even greater harm to state and local finances;

Therefore it is hereby resolved by the Members of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, on behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, as follows:

• Congress and the President must only enact policy that carefully balances the priority of long-term deficit reduction with the priority of partnering with local government to create strong cities and towns that can promote economic growth and job creation; and

• Congress and the President must recognize that full economic recovery will be possible only if local governments have the resources necessary to maintain crucial services, many of which depend upon federal funding for operational costs through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the Choice Neighborhoods Program, the State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grants, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, the EPA Clean and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, Title 1 and IDEA education funds, FEMA state and local programs for emergency preparedness and homeland security, and for capital costs through the Federal Transit Capital Investment Grants program; and

• Congress and the President must recognize the vital importance of preserving tax-exempt municipal bonds and oppose any proposal to limit tax-exempt financing, as this would drive up costs for local property taxpayers, increase the cost of state and local infrastructure projects, limit the number of projects that can be funded, and destabilize one of the most successful governmental financing vehicles in the history of the United States; and

• Congress and the President must understand that local governments operate on lean budgets and cannot withstand further cuts to essential federally funded programs; and

• Congress and the President must take action on federal fiscal policy in a timely manner, recognizing the uncertainty that is created when the formulation and implementation of long-term fiscal policy is delayed, and the harmful impact that extended fiscal uncertainty creates at the local government level and across the public and private sectors; and

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution shall be presented to the Governor, the members of the Massachusetts Legislature, the members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, and the President of the United States on behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.