You can read online the governor’s “Municipal Partnership” bill at : http://www.mass.gov/legis/house/HD4208.pdf
The document begins with summary transmittal letter.
Generally, I think it is something I am supportive of – it collects a number of useful ideas.
Like the Globe editorial, I would like to see the Group Insurance Commission option done in a way that would be more likely to succeed. However, I think it is worthwhile to take a first step towards allowing municipalities to buy their health insurance commission through the GIC, even if the bargaining rules don’t result in many municipalities making the move.
The GIC is the agency that purchases health insurance for state employees and it has been much more effective than most municipalities at holding costs down. Most feel that getting municipalities into the GIC is an important cost control idea that has little real downside. There are some complex concerns on both the labor side and the management side about the details though. If, as some of us fear, the bill doesn’t go really confront those concerns adequately, then we’ll have to come back to it within a year or two.
The governor’s approach to the bargaining mechanism is basically the approach which appears in a pending bill that many (including me, notwithstanding some concerns) are cosponsoring. My sense from a number of conversations around the statehouse is that it probably goes as far as one can go politically as a first step.
We’ll hear the governor’s specific views at the end of next week on the issues of local aid and the property tax circuit breaker.