Happy Tax Day! Your Legislators Have an Opportunity to Make a Fairer Tax Code.

TL;DR: Do you believe in funding our schools, our infrastructure, and all of the services that make our commonwealth strong at the levels we deserve? Of course you do. So please call your state rep in support of Amendment #1357 (Long-Term Capital Gains) to the budget, which would raise the capital gains tax to provide much-needed additional revenue.

Year after year, as legislators craft the latest budget, tough decisions have to be made. A big part of the reason for these tough decisions is that Massachusetts lacks the revenue to fund things, like good schools and reliable transportation, that are most important to our communities. But not having sufficient revenue isn’t inevitable; it’s a choice.

The Fair Share Amendment, which routinely polled at around 80%, was kicked off the 2018 ballot after a lawsuit from well-funded business groups. The Legislature has the opportunity to advance it to the 2022 ballot via a Constitutional Convention next month. But we can’t afford to wait another four years to invest in our Commonwealth.

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The legislature can act RIGHT NOW to begin building the fairer tax structure that Massachusetts voters want.

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Time to End a Shameful History of Disenfranchisement

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Election Laws Committee.

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Chairman Finegold, Chairman Lawn, and Members of the Joint Election Laws Committee,

As an organization committed to strengthening our democracy and promoting racial and social justice in our Commonwealth, Progressive Massachusetts strongly supports S.12, a proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution relative to voting rights and urges swift action.

In recent years, states around the US have started to realize that the decades-long phenomenon of mass incarceration was a moral, economic, and public safety failure. It destroyed communities, strained budgets, and made us no safer.

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"All It Took Was a Look at the Playground"

The following testimony was delivered to the Joint Committee on Education on Friday, March 22, 2019.

We are writing in support of the Promise Act. As retired special educators who also consulted with districts and families, we strongly support an end to the tiered educational system that exists in Massachusetts.

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We Made a Promise to Our Students. We Need to Keep It.

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Education on Friday, March 22, 2019.

Chairman Lewis, Chairwoman Peisch, and all the members of the Committee, 

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I chair the Issues Committee at Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide, member-driven grassroots organization built from the ground up by organizers and activists from across the state to advocate for progressive policy. Other states routinely look to Massachusetts for direction, and it’s important for us to get things right.  

Quality public education for all is a central component of our platform, and no bill before the legislature better delivers on this promise than the PROMISE Act (S.238/H.586). 

Massachusetts is the birthplace of public education in the US, and our public schools routinely rank first in the nation because of high standardized test scores and postsecondary degree attainment rates. However, such high overall scores mask persistent inequities that continue to pose an obstacle to children’s ability to realize their full potential. The achievement gap between low-income and better-off students is one of the highest in the nation, as are disparities in per-pupil spending.  

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Top 10 Excuses You’ll Hear for Why Your Legislator Voted Against Transparency

Last week, the Massachusetts House voted down three common sense transparency amendments to its rules package.

These amendments were simple good government proposals, requiring that...

  • Representatives be given a reasonable amount of time to read the final language of any bill they’re voting on
  • Representatives be given a reasonable amount of time to read any amendment submitted on the floor that they’ll be voting on
  • Hearing testimony (for/against) a bill and all votes taken in committee to be publicly available.

Yet they all failed, as most rank-and-file Democrats voted with House Leadership against them.

If you've reached out to your representatives since, they've probably given you a number of excuses. Spoiler: They're not very good ones.

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The House Just Voted Down Three Important Transparency Amendments. How Did Your Rep Vote?

Former Sierra Club lobbyist Phil Sego was once quoted as saying, “Don’t mistake what happens in [the Massachusetts State House] for democracy.” Our legislative process is deeply flawed and designed to avoid public accountability.

Yesterday, your representative had a chance to take the first step toward changing that. Amendments were introduced that would have required:

  • Representatives be given a reasonable amount of time to read the final language of any bill they’re voting on
  • Representatives be given a reasonable amount of time to read any amendment submitted on the floor that they’ll be voting on
  • Hearing testimony (for/against) a bill and all votes taken in committee to be publicly available.
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If You Want a Different Outcome, You Need to Change the Rules of the Game

The Massachusetts General Court is the second oldest deliberative body of the world. It’s time for it to start living up to such a stature.

Opaque processes and procedures are the standard operating procedure in the Legislature, leaving the public—and even many legislators—in the dark while monied interests exert sway behind closed doors. And an over-centralization of power encourages a culture of quiescence and retaliation, discouraging open debate on major issues—a problem especially acute in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Real reform will be impossible without changes to both rules and norms.

And with the MA House set to vote on its rules for the 191st legislative session tomorrow, we have a few good ideas about measures the House could adopt.

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Take Action: Our 2019-2020 Legislative Agenda

The 191st legislative session in the MA State House has started. Join us in the fight for progressive policy.

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What New Progressive Actions Will You Be Taking in 2019?

What New Progressive Actions Will You Be Taking in 2019?

This is a new year and there is so much we can begin to accomplish! Join Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale to learn about progressive issues and actions you can take during the new year.
On January 23, Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale will have an open meeting to discuss topics affecting our communities the local political environment.
• Preview the City Council elections and Issues
• Announce Progressive Mass' 2019-20 Legislative agenda for shared prosperity, social & racial justice, good government and sustainable infrastructure & environment
• Get inspired & active to make progressive change
This meeting will be at 7:00-8:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway, Roslindale
Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale is a Chapter of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide, diverse grassroots organization committed to a bold, progressive agenda for the Commonwealth that believes in fighting for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice in all forms.
A Kent Harnois
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2018: House Scorecard in Review

A scorecard tells a story. So what story does our 2018 scorecard of the House tell? : A guide to the 2018 Scorecard (View Spreadsheet here, website here) -- All numbers refer to the spreadsheet.

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