There’s a lot going right for our state, but the massive increase in the cost of everything from gasoline and housing to electricity makes life harder for too many Massachusetts families and seniors. We now have one of the highest costs of living in the nation with no end in sight. The Doughty-Campanale administration will be dedicated to making our state more affordable for you, because we understand that the state government should work for you – not against you.
Gas Tax Holiday
During this time of tremendous energy insecurity, the state should enact a longer term gas tax holiday that provides relief to our citizens. With one of the highest gas taxes in the entire country, Massachusetts families are being penalized with high costs on top of the already escalating price of gas. On day one, we will enact a gas tax holiday to immediately deliver results to the people.
Reduce Utility Costs
One of the key elements to increasing costs is escalating utility rates. Unfortunately our state has made decisions that have reduced the supply of electricity, resulting in some of the highest electric costs in the nation. We need to immediately begin broad based efforts to bring new energy generation sources online as well as transmission. The reopening of discussions with our northern neighbors to get hydroelectric down to Massachusetts would be one of those efforts. Our goal is to have our electric rates to be outside of the top ten within our first term.
We are not currently building enough housing stock for our working families and young families to remain in our area. Too many businesses are suffering from labor shortages. On day one, we will set an ambitious goal for housing stock creation for our state and subgoals for each town and municipality. We will provide increased incentives for each town and municipality to build more housing and to streamline the building and redevelopment process. We will develop predictable time requirements on all approvals and reviews. In addition, we will seek to repeal and stop any legislation that penalizes property owners who we rely on as partners to maintain and increase housing.
Disbanding Tax Expenditure Commission
Our administration will work to disband the Tax Expenditure Commission and replace it with a Tax Reduction Commission. The existing Tax Expenditure Commission was created in 2018 to evaluate the intent, goal and effectiveness of “tax expenditures.” The Commission seeks ways to collect more revenue through taxes. Our newly formed Tax Reduction Committee will seek opportunities to reduce taxes on our citizens and our job creators. This change will make our state more affordable, help spur economic growth and reverse the trend of citizens leaving our state for lower cost areas.
The last decade has seen a tremendous development of our state’s economic futures but too often they have been concentrated in the upper income and highly educated fields of finance, technology, and medicine. While these are great jobs, the Doughty-Campanale team will work to create jobs for all. This means promoting the trades, construction, manufacturing, restaurants, retail, and other key industries.
Simplify Doing Business
Our state is a labyrinth for businesses, and we will work to streamline efforts to start a company and to stay in compliance. We will pursue a total revamp of our corporate laws to encourage simple and fair approaches that can immediately help small businesses start and grow. We will consider the impact on our job creators in every decision we make.
Lower Tax and Regulatory Burden
Massachusetts has one of the highest tax and regulatory burdens for small businesses and this has to end. We will introduce comprehensive reforms to be a national leader in reforming the tax code and regulatory burdens to be simple, fair, and job creating. We will pursue a goal to move our state towards the national average of state imposed tax and regulatory burdens on our job creators.
Today’s economy has a major shortage of skilled craftsmen from plumbers, carpenters, and welders to school teachers, nurses and everything in between. We will implement a comprehensive program to help provide more job training resources for all of our families. These programs would be integrated into our high schools and community colleges providing the well rounded education that equips them for the future. We will also revamp the licensing process to simplify the transition from education to the workforce.
Education is the heart of our commonwealth and we will be accountable to provide the best educational opportunities for the next generation. Our state is a national leader in education at all levels but it is often uneven in its availability. We’ll work to ensure everyone can access the very best. The equation is simple: a strong curriculum, excellent teachers, and empowered parents.
Our schools need to be teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. We need a strong foundation for our future that relies on equipping the next generation with the real skills they need to succeed.
In order to ensure this, we will take steps to ensure our teachers are well recognized for their work and encouraged to be in the classroom as much as possible each school year. We believe that every child should have a school facility that is well maintained and adequate for learning. We also believe that all children should have available and be encouraged to participate in extracurricular after school activities.
We also believe that parents are the key to our children’s success and should be given the tools to advocate for their child’s best interest. To this end, we will implement a multilingual “Call Line” for parents and educators to help us identify opportunities for improvement in our educational system.
Higher Expectations and more local control
Our administration will seek to establish higher expectations and higher funding for our educational system. We also believe that most educational opportunities should be identified and implemented by experienced and skilled local educators. Our administration will strive to share best practices in educational improvements across our state.
One of the fundamental rights of all our citizens is the ability to live and work in safe communities. The last few years have seen a change in how we talk about our police and approach safety. The results nationally have not been good. We need to invest in the necessary resources to fight crime, get criminals off the street, and build safe communities.
One of the major things that can be done to reduce crime is the hiring of more police, especially street patrols in the local communities. Studies have consistently shown these have a major impact on safe streets. Our administration would work through two ways to help increase the number of police. The first is simply increasing funding to local communities for the hiring and retaining of more officers. This will ease the burden on our local communities. The second would be a hiring bonus to new officers to help encourage the best and the brightest joining our efforts. Lastly, our administration will make steps to support our police and promote the good works, prestige, and recognition of the police within our communities.
Better Trained Police
We believe in training and will invest in police training and create incentives for adequate and “best in class” training and educational attainment for all of our police.
The state government has grown too convoluted, burdensome, and confusing while at the same time struggling to provide the highest caliber services. We will work to re-envision state government to focus on high caliber service in the simplest ways.
More local funding
The town and city governments are closer to the people and are in many ways better prepared to provide crucial services to their citizens and yet too often they are underfunded by the state government. We would work to increase direct funding to help communities keep property taxes low while supporting critical services as education and law enforcement.
Efficiency Goals and Zero Based Budgets
Coming from the manufacturing industry, Chris Doughty has seen the long term value of yearly improvements in efficiency to drive innovation, creativity, better service, and lower costs. In the Doughty-Campanale administration we’d work with the state governmental agencies to set a goal of annual three percent customer satisfaction improvements. Combined with this effort would be a change to zero based budgeting for state governmental agencies.
To reduce fraud, I will require the Department of Transitional Assistance (welfare) to institute a new verification process that will compare the person’s welfare benefits application through multiple, searchable databases including:
1) Immigration status information maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
2) Social security number verification
3) Death register information maintained by the 4) Social Security Administration 5) Earned income information maintained by the Social Security Administration and other verified databases.
Small businesses are the heart of the Massachusetts economy. Over 95% of the businesses in Massachusetts are small businesses and they employ more than 46% of our workforce. As the next Governor, Chris Doughty will use his firsthand experience to create a pro-business culture within our state government that supports and encourages small businesses and entrepreneurs.
State government should be advocates, not adversaries, for small businesses. Working with Mayor Shaunna O’Connell and reviewing what other states do, we have developed a Small Business Bill of Rights for the Commonwealth. On day one the Doughty/Campanale administration will work to implement it.