LEGISLATIVE WORK UNDERWAY

Spellane & McGee Chair Public Service

MARCH 20, 2009: As state leaders ramp up efforts to close a growing deficit for the current FY09 fiscal year, House and Senate budget writers work to assemble the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, while Legislative committees begin their work on the thousands of pending bills.

With monthly revenue collections continuing to fall lower than anticipated, current estimates set the remaining deficit at $500 million, with the potential to grow to $1 billion by the end of June. Roughly $2.5 billion has already been cut from the FY09 budget, which began last July. New House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Murphy (D-Burlington) is working closely with his Senate counterpart, Senator Steven Panagiotakos (D-Lowell) to craft the FY2010 budget with an anticipated budget shortfall surpassing $4 billion.

Meanwhile, House and Senate Committees have begun the work of analyzing and holding public hearings for the thousands of legislative proposals now pending. By law, each bill must receive a public hearing.

As members well know, it is the Joint Committee on Public Service that is of utmost importance to public retirees. Each bill regarding public retirement, pensions, or health insurance falls under the purview of the Committee.

Representative Robert Spellane (D-Worcester) and Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) co-chair the Committee. McGee, who previously served as vice chairman of the Committee when he was in the House, has long been a close ally of our Association. Coming from the working class city of Worcester, Spellane is known for his support of public retirees.

The Public Service co-chairs are planning an information hearing on March 30, followed by a full hearing schedule beginning in April. To date, more than 900 separate bills have been assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Service for the 2009-2010 session.

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