For Immediate Release - May 05, 2009

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION TO HOLD COMMUNITY FORUMS ON CHOICES & PRIORITIES

Governor Patrick to launch first forum, will discuss revenues, reforms with Braintree residents Monday, May 11th

BOSTON - Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - On Monday, May 11th in Braintree, Governor Deval Patrick will kick-off the first in a series of statewide community forums on choices and priorities facing Massachusetts in the current economic climate. The public meetings will allow local residents an opportunity to discuss difficult budget decisions, reform proposals and revenue packages.

Building on his commitment to civic engagement and governing for the long-term, Governor Patrick and senior administration officials will host 36 "Community Forums on Choices and Priorities" between now and the end of May. The forums, each of which will be hosted by the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor or senior administration officials, will give residents a chance to voice their opinions about the proposals being debated on Beacon Hill, allowing them to offer suggestions, ask questions and engage with their neighbors.

"As a steep decline in revenue continues to force painful budget choices, now is the time for public officials to engage with the public we serve - to ask them what kind of government they want and how to best pay for it," said Governor Patrick. "These forums will help us accomplish that critical goal, and bring the reform people want back to Beacon Hill."

Last week, the Governor pledged to veto the 25% sales tax increase approved by the House of Representatives unless the Legislature approves comprehensive reform proposals to streamline the state's transportation bureaucracy, close pension loopholes and strengthen ethics rules. The Governor recognizes the unprecedented drop-off in tax revenues requires new revenues - he has already cut $1.3 billion from this year's budget and yesterday announced that the FY09 deficit may grow by $1 billion more to a total $4 billion before the end of the current fiscal year. He has proposed targeted tax increases dedicated to specific needs: a gas tax to pay for better roads and bridges, local option taxes to take the pressure off the property tax and removing the sales tax exemption from candy, soda and alcohol to help pay for public health programs.

In addition to the Braintree meeting, the Governor will host community forums in Boston on May 14th, Franklin on May 17th and Marblehead on May 21st. The Lieutenant Governor will host meetings in Cambridge on May 12th, Norwood on May 18th, Saugus on May 19th and Hyannis on May 21st.

Dates, times, locations and administration hosts for other forums can be found at www.mass.gov/governor/forum. Summaries of the forums, along with videos and questions, will be posted here starting next week. To attend a forum or find more information, visit the website or call the Governor's Office at 617-725-4025.

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