April 14, 2015/Press Releases

#PromisesWatch: Massachusetts Democratic Party Fact Checks Republican Baker Administration False Claims

Democratic Leadership Recognized as National Leader for Regulatory Reform that Helped Business Expand and Succeed

BOSTON— As part of the ongoing #PromisesWatch campaign to hold accountable Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, the Massachusetts Democratic Party today is fact checking the most recent false claims coming out of the Baker administration.

Just yesterday, Gov. Baker and his Republican Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristin Lepore said they are going to “reduce burdens and increase efficiency and competitiveness,” and called the regulatory environment “onerous.”

“Republican Gov. Baker is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Fenlon. “It’s a shame Gov. Baker thinks he can only succeed if he erases recent history. Massachusetts business owners who expanded and prospered under Democratic leadership are too smart to be fooled by Gov. Baker’s false rhetoric.”

In fact, under Democratic leadership:

·      Massachusetts was ranked No. 1 in the nation for business competitiveness by the Beacon Hill Institute, a conservative think tank.

·      Democrats reviewed all 1,791 executive branch regulations for their efficiency and effectiveness, and amended or eliminated 255.

·      The Democratic initiative, an unprecedented, extensive regulatory review and reform, was the first of its kind in Massachusetts’s history.

·      Democrats streamlined and improved the licensing process and business climate for thousands of professional licensees throughout Massachusetts.

·      Democrats cut the state’s business tax rates three times and added competition in auto insurance, bringing entrants into the market.

·      The Democratic initiative included a comprehensive review and re-evaluation of existing regulations, a systematic and coordinated process for regulators to consider economic impacts for all regulatory changes to improve transparency during the public rule-making process and partnerships with the regulated community to share responsibility for creating a balanced regulatory environment.

·      Of the Democratic regulatory review and reform, Jon Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said, “We have seen some common sense injected into the regulatory agencies and have truly seen some real reform that removes some of the burden on our local employers.”

A few of the major reforms to come out of the unprecedented Democratic review and reform include:

·      MassDOT standardized permitting and police escort fees for oversized loads on Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, a move that allows for freer transit of trucks while still maintaining public safety parameters; online filing for permits; makes it easier to approve requests for access to MassDOT property, including curb cuts and other construction access permits; and allows online filing for permits.

·      The elimination of the Employer Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure form and the elimination of the requirement that employers offer section 125 plans to pay for coverage through their group health plan or through the Health Connector on a pre-tax basis or be subjected to a surcharge. Each of these regulations burdened employers of all sizes.

·      The Department of Environmental Protection repealed a duplicative approval process for certain Title V septic systems. The amendments streamline state oversight by ending the requirement that local approving authorities consult with DEP before determining whether facilities asserted to be in separate ownership are in fact a single facility. These changes clarify and modernize regulatory language and reduce costs for residential construction.

·      The Division of Professional Licensure Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors adopted model national professional standards of practice. Regulatory changes reflect technological advances in the licensed professions, such as the use of digitized seals and signatures. These changes will translate into reduce costs and shortened project timeframes.

·      The Department of Public Health adopted a model National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) examination and certification; reduced licensure fees; allowed online licensure filing; made changes to EMT scope of practice and training standards; required accreditation of paramedic-level training institutions through Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program; and extended hospital affiliation agreement requirements to Basic Life Support ambulance services. Private ambulance companies and hospitals will benefit from the adoption of national accreditation standards and online filing.

·      The Department of Public Safety (DPS) amended regulations overseeing ice cream truck operators. Previously, any truck operating in more than one municipality had to obtain a license from each city or town. Now, a driver may apply for a single DPS license, which will permit the sale of ice cream in any municipality in the Commonwealth.