Galvin says presidential primary in doubt
SECRETARY OF STATE William Galvin ripped the Baker administration for proposing cuts in his budget that would make it impossible for him to run a presidential primary in March next year. Speaking at a legislative hearing at the State House on the budget, Galvin said the Baker administration did not consult with him before using an algorithm to cut his elections funding by 30 percent, or $2.5 million. “I’ve never run an election based on algorithms and I don’t think they could either,” Galvin said. He added: “This budget, as submitted, is very hard to take seriously.” Asked for options if the funding is not restored, Galvin said the state could move to a caucus system or have the parties pay for the presidential primary. Galvin also complained about the cost of a state law requiring him to supply ballots for Boston elections that are entirely in Chinese. Chinese ballots are required in a handful of Massachusetts cities, but the names of the candidates in those cities are listed in English, not Chinese. A state law, the outgrowth of a home rule petition, requires Boston ballots to translate even the names of the candidates into Chinese characters. Since most surnames do not have corresponding Chinese characters, Galvin said he has to come up with translations that mimic the sound of the person’s name. Romney, for example, was translated as “sticky rice,” he said.
Rosenberg has qualms about film tax credit
The state’s film tax credit doesn’t enjoy the same level of support in the Senate as it does in the House. Baker has proposed phasing out the film tax credit and using the money to expand the earned income tax credit. House leaders have reacted negatively to the idea of phasing out the film tax credit, but Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, at a meeting with reporters in his office, said he has had qualms about the TV and movie subsidy. “I’m not sure that it’s as effective a tool as has been represented,” he said. But Rosenberg said he would not favor linking the elimination of the film tax credit to the expansion of the earned income tax credit. “They should be evaluated as two separate policies,” he said. Sen. Karen Spilka, the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, also opposed linking the two. “I don’t believe that it has to be Sophie’s choice,” she said.
Lots of interest in early retirement
The Baker administration is projecting $210 million in savings by requiring the 1.2 million people on the state’s MassHealth, or Medicaid, program to reapply for benefits. Lepore said the so-called redetermination process hasn’t been done since October 2013 because of the breakdown of the Health Connector, the state’s online exchange for health coverage. In the absence of a redetermination process, Lepore said MassHealth has about 150,000 more members than originally forecast. Lepore said all MassHealth members will be sent letters seeking information on their eligibility. If a member fails to respond to the first letter, they will be sent a second. If that second letter goes unanswered, Lepore said, the member will be dropped from MassHealth.