Governor Deval L. Patrick
End of Session Wrap Up Remarks
August 4, 2008
On August 4, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick talked about the achievements of the just finished legislative session at a press conference in the State House. The highlights, which include leadership on issues from clean energy to economic growth and engaged governing, represent a shared commitment to making smart, thoughtful investments in the future of the Commonwealth.
Good morning and thank you for coming.
As you know, the Legislature has just concluded their 185th legislative session, and it was a very productive one. On a wide range of issues the people of Massachusetts have a lot to be proud of.
To start with, our focus on economic opportunity has been about both meeting business needs and creating new, good jobs.
The 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences initiative will bring attention from investors from around the world, hope to thousands of people with disease, and jobs for thousands of working people. That potential is exhilarating indeed for all of us.
The accelerated bridge program, as well as the transportation, housing and higher ed bond bills, will help us address neglected public infrastructure. And the $40 million in the broadband bill will stimulate private sector investment in broadband service in un-served and under-served communities across the Commonwealth. Each has the two-fold benefit of meeting important challenges facing our communities and creating good, new jobs.
We lowered the corporate tax rate and made the corporate tax code itself fairer. Add to that a sharp reduction in the time it takes to get most state permits - from 2 to 3 years down to 6 about months now - and our work with MOBD to help specific companies meet their needs, and I believe we're creating a cli-climate where business can thrive. We also introduced managed competition in auto insurance, a real shift that people notice not just in the newspaper, due respects, but also in their wallets. That has had the added benefit of introducing new companies to our market as well.
I am especially pleased with the progress we have made in making Massachusetts a world-class center clean energy. We joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative last year and received legislative support to hold the first auction of emissions credits this coming fall. The Green Communities Act will deliver tangible results to Massachusetts residents not just for today but for tomorrow as well. The Oceans Bill is a first in the nation program to steward one of our most important resources with care and forethought. The Biofuels Bill will help ease our transition away from foreign oil and towards homegrown and environmentally responsible solutions.
I look forward to signing shortly bills requiring major reductions in carbon emissions and addressing how best to prepare our workforce for the green economy that is emerging.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Solar rebate program has helped kick-start solar power installation around the state and Cape Wind has moved forward to its final state environmental review. If we continue to seize these opportunities and get these initiatives right, then the whole world will be our customer. That means even more jobs, including in manufacturing by the way.
We are in the midst of a fundamental shift in the Massachusetts energy landscape, and I am proud to help shepherd these changes forward.
There were a host of other legislative actions that are points of particular satisfaction for me.
Support for the strategy to end homelessness in Massachusetts and to address domestic violence puts Massachusetts on the cutting edge of innovation in social programs as well.
Health care reform has been a huge success, with some 350,000 adults and children with insurance today who had none about a year ago. And the legislation to address system costs and to share responsibility among all the stakeholders to pay for reform are important steps forward on this journey.
And by rejecting the ballot initiative last spring and repealing the 1913 law last week, we secured marriage equality and kept government regulation out of deeply personal choices between loving adults.
Some issues remain unresolved, of course. Most notably, we put several ideas before the Legislature this session to provide property tax relief and none passed into law.
But it was still, by any measure, an extraordinarily productive session. So much of what got done was both good and important. We got those results because the administration and the Legislature worked together in a true spirit of partnership.
And I want to thank Senate President Terry Murray and House Speaker Sal DiMasi, as well as Ways and Means, Chairs in both the House and the Senate, Bob DeLeo and Steve Panagiotakas, for being great leaders, great partners and great friends. We have built a strong working relationship, based on candor, problem-solving and cooperation-and we have had some fun, too.
In that same spirit I want to thank every member of the Legislature. There have been so many individual members who have reached out to work with us, who have brought their substantive expertise and procedural creativity to the work, not just on their own initiatives but on ours as well. There have also been a… there have also been a number of acts of true political courage, something that I deeply respect and appreciate. So I congratulate all the legislators for a great body of work.
And I want to acknowledge and thank this extraordinary Cabinet-really extraordinary people-and all the members of our administration. There is no more creative, committed and effective group of public officials in state government in America and I am proud to work along side with you.
Of course, we are already looking ahead to the next legislative session. I will continue to work with the Legislature and others on ways to relieve pressure on the property tax. I want to see our crime prevention measures, including CORI reform, enacted. And I am going to focus us all on implementing our Education Action Agenda, to move us closer to the lasting improvements in public education that our economy needs and that our children deserve.
But for now, as most of us are just recovering from those last frenzied days, I just wanted to thank all those who brought us these many great legislative results. I am confident that our administration's continued partnership with the Legislature will bring further good news for the people of Massachusetts in the next legislation… legislative session as well.