Resolution Calling on the U.S. Government to Embrace a Strong Fiscal and Economic Partnership with Cities and Towns (2012)

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As adopted by the members on January 21, 2012.

Whereas, the national economy is balanced on a razor’s edge between recovery and a return to recession, and the decisions made on Capitol Hill will determine whether state and local finances in Massachusetts will stabilize or slide back to the deep fiscal distress experienced during the past several years; and

Whereas, the economies of the world remain in a precarious state with increasing concerns about the ability and will of governments to fix structural problems and take actions to spur a stalled recovery; and

Whereas, a full economic recovery will only be achieved if the cities and towns of Massachusetts and the United States have the resources and authority to deliver the basic services that are essential to economic growth and prosperity, including public safety, public infrastructure, public education, public programs for the elderly and youth, and have the ability to invest and innovate to leverage economic development and growth for businesses and citizens; and

Whereas, decisions by the United States government on revenues and spending to support economic growth and reduce the nation’s deficit will have a major impact on cities and towns in Massachusetts and on the state, which expects to use $7.8 billion in federal reimbursements to balance the fiscal 2012 operating budget and approximately $750 million for the state’s capital spending plan; and

Whereas, certain legislative and budget actions by the United States government could significantly weaken the Massachusetts economy and the financial health of cities and towns and state government; and

Therefore it is hereby resolved by the members of the Massachusetts Municipal Association as follows:

• Congress and the President must recognize that economic development and investment decisions are based on the quality and stability of services delivered by cities and towns, and it is imperative that federal policy embrace a strong federal-local partnership to foster job growth and prosperity; and

• Congress and the President must take a comprehensive and balanced approach to job creation and deficit reduction that does not undermine the ability of cities and towns to deliver essential services to citizens and businesses, because measures that would destabilize cities and towns would impede regional and nationwide economic recovery and growth; and

• Congress and the President must continue investments in local government services and jobs, including such critical programs as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Title I education grants for low-income students and IDEA grants for special education students; and

• Congress and the President must recognize that infrastructure investment is critical to our economic recovery, and they must support existing commitments and expand opportunities to attract and encourage investment by enacting a national infrastructure bank, a bipartisan proposal first made by the Senior Senator from Massachusetts; and

• Congress and the President must reject proposals that would increase local government costs, including repealing or reducing the tax exemption for municipal bonds that help pay for building and repairing the nation’s infrastructure; and

• Congress and the President must reject the imposition of unfunded mandates that result when federal laws or regulations impose new costs and obligations on cities and towns without providing funding; and

• 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.