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Romney kills state college raises
By Michael Kunzelman / News Staff Writer
Saturday, September 18, 2004

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday killed $32 million in funding for retroactive pay raises for state college employees, but a new charter school funding formula and a tax deduction for Massachusetts Turnpike drivers survived his veto pen.

Romney vetoed a total of $76 million in spending from a $515 million supplemental budget, which the Legislature approved last week.

The governor's largest veto was the $32 million in pay raises for 13,000 employees of the state's higher education system, including a group of administrators and clerical workers at Framingham State College.

Martha Flinter, president of the Framingham State chapter of the Association of Professional Administrators, said the state owes about 200 Framingham State employees between $5,000 and $15,000 apiece in pay dating back two years.

Romney's veto, according to Flinter, will cost employees between $2,000 and $4,000 of the total money they are owed. Lawmakers haven't yet voted to fund the remainder of the money for the retroactive pay raises, she added.

"These are the lowest paid workers in the state system," Flinter said. "(Romney) is going after the little guy, the ones who struggle to make ends meet. It's unethical and outrageous what he did."

Framingham State President Helen Heineman said the veto is "demoralizing" for workers who are "among our most loyal, hard-working and dedicated."

"These people are the backbone of the colleges," she added. "Why are they not paying our employees what they're owed? Where is the commitment to public higher education?"

Romney said he isn't opposed to giving raises to employees of colleges, community colleges and the University of Massachusetts, but not retroactively.

Lawmakers, he added, should have set aside the money for the pay raises when the contracts were approved, in 2001.

"Contracts are subject to appropriation, and the Legislature did not appropriate the funds in the relevant years," Romney said.

Jerry Spindel, spokesman for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said Romney's argument for vetoing the money is "totally bogus."

"Retroactive money is often paid out in protracted contract negotiations," he said.

State Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, blasted the governor's veto.

"He should be ashamed of himself," she said. "(The employees) had a contract. They are owed that money. This is just another hit at our system of public higher education."
Also yesterday, Romney vetoed $15 million in Medicaid spending, $5 million in financial assistance to teachers who are buying their first home, and $2 million in fire safety grants.

But he didn't object to spending $21.6 million to implement a new formula for funding charter schools into law.

Romney, an outspoken supporter of charter schools, said he signed the new formula into law "in its entirety" and didn't veto any of the Legislature's language.

"We felt that an adjustment in the formula and additional support for districts losing students to charter schools was appropriate," he said.

Earlier this week, charter school proponents complained that the new formula punishes charter schools.

In particular, they objected to an amendment sponsored by state Rep. Deborah Blumer, D-Framingham, that called for removing the money for building charter schools out of the new formula.

Yesterday, however, the Massachusetts Charter School Association changed its tune and said it supports the new formula.

Dom Slowey, the association's spokesman, said the governor's office assured them that financing for charter school facilities is part of the new formula and won't be subject to the Legislature's annual appropriations.

"(Blumer) tried to put the onus on us to go to the Legislature to get our facility financing separate from the new funding formula. But they didn't get the language right on the House floor," Slowey added. Blumer said the new formula satisfies her concerns.

"The legislative intent was to ensure that (charter school facility financing) would be subject to appropriation by the state and not charged back to the local community," she said.

The supplemental budget that Romney signed into law yesterday also includes funding for a pair of Framingham-based LIFT bus routes, which the MBTA eliminated earlier this year.

The bill also entitles Pike toll-payers and MBTA commuters to a modest tax deduction.

Pike drivers who pay at least $150 in tolls with a Fast Lane account will be allowed to deduct up to $750 from their annual state income tax returns. That means each driver would have to spend at least $900 in tolls in any given year to qualify for the full deduction.
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Supplemental budget signed
By Tyler B. Reed / News Correspondent
Saturday, September 18, 2004

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law yesterday a $439 million supplemental budget bill that will send unrestricted aid to Massachusetts cities and towns and provide additional funding for special projects, including several in the Milford area.

"Thanks to an improving economy, stronger tax receipts and sound fiscal management the state has achieved in this recent fiscal year," Romney said. The state's revenues exceeded expectations and allowed for the additional investment, he said.
 

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Martha Flinter, president of the Framingham State chapter of the Association of Professional Administrators, said the state owes about 200 Framingham State employees between $5,000 and $15,000 apiece in pay dating back two years.

Romney's veto, according to Flinter, will cost employees between $2,000 and $4,000 of the total money they are owed. Lawmakers haven't yet voted to fund the remainder of the money for the retroactive pay raises, she added.


This is such a joke ! THIS MONEY IS OWED TO US we worked the long hours now we deserve to be paid :BM:
 

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I think this move is disgusting. College workers, no matter what their position, are working class, in a respectable job and he just disregards their contractual retro raises like it does not even matter. Not every one is fortunate enough to have his wealth.

I am sure if he is interviewed about this he will be sure to mention how he donated his salary back to the state. He always seems to throw that out there when he is backed into a corner about an issue involving budget cuts or not providing money for something. Like it is killing him without the extra $100,000.
 

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It's up to the general court to appropriate money: if they didn't appropriate the money, then it's hardly the gov's fault. Perhaps you should instead consider voting the 'crappy democrats' out, returning a modicum of balance to our state government. :shock:

It could be worse: Dukakis could be the governor! :D

If the retro is contractual, you will get it eventually.
 

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O.K. so..........................................

1. Higher Ed, AFSCME, the previous administrations let this fly for over three (3) years.
2. The old contract expired.
3. AFSCME has stated they are in "no rush" to approach the negotiating table for this contract period, although we are already many months into it.

And we're supposed to be pissed at the Governor? Ya O.K., whatever..........................

Posted 26 Oct 2004 09:57:

fscpd907 @ 18 Sep 2004 19:24 said:
Martha Flinter, president of the Framingham State chapter of the Association of Professional Administrators, said the state owes about 200 Framingham State employees between $5,000 and $15,000 apiece in pay dating back two years.

Romney's veto, according to Flinter, will cost employees between $2,000 and $4,000 of the total money they are owed. Lawmakers haven't yet voted to fund the remainder of the money for the retroactive pay raises, she added.


This is such a joke ! THIS MONEY IS OWED TO US we worked the long hours now we deserve to be paid :BM:
Sounds like another good reason for State Campus Police to support MCLEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:twisted:
 
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