MAA NEWS Winter2021_w - Page 11

The Beacon Hill Report by Stephen A . Boksanski , GIA Legislative Agent

Steve Boksanski and Warren Lent met with members of the Green Industry Alliance at the MAA office on November 19 , 2021 . They provided an extensive End of Session Report , including the priority issues for the GIA in 2022 . The group discussed strategies and tactics for moving our industry ’ s legislative goals forward . The following are highlights from the report :
• With formal sessions nearing an end for 2021 , the pressure was mounting for the Legislature to act on plans to spend some of the $ 5.4B that has arrived from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan Act . The House and Senate have passed different versions of these appropriations bills but did not reach consensus before the deadline . A compromise is expected before the end of the year .
• While the intention is to get a consensus ARPA bill done , the Legislature is holding back on spending all the revenues with the hope of getting a better understanding of what additional funding may be coming from Congress via the bipartisan infrastructure bill and / or the soft infrastructure package .
• With all this revenue flowing from the federal government one might expect that states were hit hard by the pandemic . Quite the contrary , Massachusetts finished FY21 with more than $ 5B in surplus and the revenues continue to flow into the Commonwealth ’ s hands at historic rates . We literally have so much revenue we don ’ t know what to do with it all .
Russell Holman ( right ) visits with Warren Lent and Steve Boskanski during a recent meeting of the Green Industry Alliance . The MAA is grateful to Russell for his willingness to represent our industry on this important committee .
• With a limited scope of work for 2021 , focused primarily on the budget and recovery spending , the Legislature is leaving a lot on the plate for 2022 . However , redistricting maps were developed and approved by the Legislature and Governor Baker for all 40 Senate seats and all 160 House seats , without a great deal of controversy . Given the population growth to 7M residents of the Commonwealth we kept the same number of representatives in Congress and the shifting of state level districts will have almost no impact on the current numbers .
• We see 2021 as a bit of a lost year that produced very little legislative action outside of the major priorities noted above . While we did see a spurt of activity recently , many committees are still deep into the hearing process and don ’ t seem quite ready to start moving legislation . With the statehouse closed and interactions with staff and members limited , there seems to be less pressure to act . We also sense that Speaker Mariano prefers this “ take it slow ” approach , especially with many new chairs at the helm .
Representatives from green industry associations across the state met with the GIA legislative agents on November 19 , 2021 at the MAA office .
The MAA is a proud member of the Green Industry Alliance ( GIA ) along with the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals , Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals , Irrigation Association of New England , and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England . Russell Holman , MCA , BCMA serves as the MAA ’ s representative . If you are interested in becoming involved with the GIA ’ s legislative and advocacy activities , please contact the MAA Office .