On January 7, 2015, Senator Stan Rosenberg was inaugurated as Senate President, a proud moment for all of us in the Western region. An excerpt from his inaugural address is below, and you can read the complete address here.
No one who works 40 or 60 or 80 hours a week should find themselves needing our help. They should find those resources in their paychecks; the resources to make not only ends meet but to have a decent, happy, fulfilling life. Together, we can and must do this.
One way we can address these issues is to modernize our state’s tax code, so that not just the wealthy benefit from its deductions and exemptions but so do the poor and middle class can reap benefits as well.
Our governor-elect speaks of one such adjustment: an updating of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, the provision in the tax code that rewards hard work.
The state Earned Income Tax Credit was an idea developed by this very body in my committee in 1997. But since then, much has changed. Inflation has whittled away at value of this benefit for those who qualify. The original premise of the policy – that we should encourage people to work rather than slip into government assistance – must be renewed.
I urge this senate to join with the Governor to meaningfully update the Earned Income Tax Credit so that we make sure those who are struggling to make ends meet are rewarded for their hard work. Together, we can and must do this.
In a state that has proudly pioneered innovation in business and in the nonprofit sector, it’s time to infuse new innovation into the public sector as well. Last year, breakdowns in our IT systems led to cost overruns, lost benefits for our residents, widespread consumer dissatisfaction, and frankly an embarrassment for our state government. In response, we passed a number of concrete reforms designed to clean up our IT procurement process. Butlet’s work with the Governor-elect to take further steps, not just to fix existing problems but to unleash the entrepreneurial talents of the Commonwealth to make state government work better, deliver more, and do so in innovative and ultimately, more efficient ways. Budgets are tight. We need to deliver more for the buck. Together, we can and must do that, too.
But our work doesn’t end there. Together, we need to build safer roads and bridges; invest in public transit to foster economic growth; tackle climate change to protect our shorelines andour children’s’ future; invest in education at every level; reform our criminal justice system to make sure our laws are both tough and smart, and continue to fight the horrors of drug addiction.
To speak of these pressing needs is not to discount the need to resolve our Immediate budget problem. But it is to send a message: We must protect our investments in our people and our infrastructure. These are our future. Together, we can and must do this.