Charlie Baker on Local Issues
For the next 90 days there was an army of operators, tradespeople, first responders, inspectors and state and local officials working throughout the three affected communities: to lay down 50 miles of new mainline pipe, replace thousands of service lines into houses, businesses and apartment buildings and repair or replace thousands of hot water heaters, stoves, dryers and boilers.
It was an enormous and complex undertaking. Throughout this ordeal, homeowners, families and businesses affected by this disaster showed a tremendous amount of patience, resilience, flexibility and fortitude. There were hundreds of local officials and elected leaders who went above and beyond the call on this one.
Baker noted he still opposes Cape Wind, saying there are far cheaper and more efficient ways to deliver clean energy to state ratepayers. "It's just not an economically viable project," he said of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, calling it a "windfall" for the project's developers." (Boston Globe, 9/6/2013)
And that's where the new Charlie Baker comes in. He has dropped his opposition to Cape Wind, which he told our editorial board last week was a "done deal." He recognizes that offshore commercial wind is pricey now compared to other types of energy generation, but he said he sees "no reason" that technology and competition in the developing marketplace won't make commercial offshore wind competitive (Standard-Times, 3/2/2014)
A: I always thought the best answer on the casino thing was to get the state of Connecticut to write Massachusetts a check for $300 or $400 million every year not to build a casino. But in the absence of that opportunity, I've always been a one-casino person. I think having one casino in Massachusetts available for people in Massachusetts makes some sense to me.
Q: On the ballot question?
A: I will vote no on the repeal question primarily because I think the Springfield proposal is a pretty imaginative proposal. It's $800 million in a part of Springfield that is in terrible shape.
Q: But if you keep the law you're not going to get your one casino.
A: I think the gaming commission should do nothing with respect to the Boston decision until after the vote. If we slow rolled this, and ended up in one site in Springfield, and actually gave it a chance to see how it actually works, I think that would be a pretty good outcome. (WBUR, 8/13/2014)
Politicians on Beacon Hill should stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of local governments. State government should be cut before local government--that hasn't happened. We have 7,500 more state employees than we did in 2004. That's wrong and that has to change.
I believe cutting local aid should be off the table right now. Long term, we need to offer cities and towns a more predictable revenue sharing model, one based on a defined share of state taxes.
I also believe that we should provide cities and towns with tools to help manage their budgets. I support providing cities and towns with health insurance plan design. As Governor, I'll put my experience to work, and promote policies in state government to help our cities and towns succeed.