Hinds heads to D.C. to stave off budget cuts

Hinds, others, hope to stave off budget cuts to Mass. programs


Recorder Staff
Published: 4/24/2017 10:54:32 PM

With the Legislature homing in this week on a $40.3 billion budget, a half dozen state senators, including Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, plan to spend three days in Washington, D.C., gathering information about the climate for federal aid and warning against spending cuts to programs that serve Massachusetts residents.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs, Hinds plans to be in the capital to lobby against proposed federal funding cuts for the federal budget year that begins Oct.1, which his office said would “dramatically and negatively impact key programs and services” across Massachusetts.

The committee is charged with identifying federal funding opportunities for the state.

“When one in four dollars in the state budget come from Washington, we need a crystal clear understanding of potential changes to the federal spending plan,” said Hinds.

“When you look at Trump’s budget blueprint, it’s deeply concerning, because it eliminates a range of programs that we rely on locally, and also impacts investments in the state that have a big impact on the commonwealth at large. We need to be crystal-clear as to where things are going, so we’re prepared as we head into our own budget season.”

“We also need to communicate early with our federal counterparts on the impact these proposed cuts will have in the commonwealth,” he said.

“This isn’t party thing. Local towns will have a range of impacts, but some of them very considerable, in terms of DOT funding and other agencies that will hit us right here. This is about giving (our) residents what they need, and this is a partnership that’s well established. We need to treat it as such.”

He said President Trump’s budget blueprint “attacks our municipalities by slashing Community Development Block Grants and other support programs that help our most vulnerable citizens” while also eliminating agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — an action that “would be deeply detrimental to local programs.”

Led by committee Chairman Sal DiDomenico of Everett, the delegation also includes Sens. Linda Dorcena Forry, D-Boston, Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, Joseph Boncore D-Winthrop, and Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and no state or public dollars are being used to pay for this trip, according to Hinds.

Shutdown debate

The state senators will arrive at a time when debate is resuming over averting a federal government shutdown, according to State House News Service.

They plan to meet with the state’s congressional delegation, several federal agencies, think tanks, public policy organizations, and the National Conference of State Legislators to discuss the impacts of cuts in Trump’s budget blueprint, aimed at fulfilling campaign promises of downsizing federal government regulations and bureaucracy.

“The policy and budget changes currently on the table in D.C. will have a dramatic impact in Massachusetts and on our state budget,” Hinds said.

“It is incumbent upon state legislators to communicate those problems and implications to decision makers in Congress. We also need to be fully cognizant of current thinking and realities on Capitol Hill. That understanding will allow us to support our federal counterparts in their efforts, and craft a responsible and balanced budget here in Massachusetts.”

The committee aims to bring back information that will help inform the Senate’s budget building process in May for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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