Lawrence Financial Crisis — House Action

I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment on this issue before the vote. I read all of the comments. I did vote for the bill. The House did strengthen the bill on the floor in one important respect. We gave the financial overseer the power to trigger a financial control board at any time.

To summarize:

  1. We are not giving any money to or loaning any money to or guaranteeing any debt for the City of Lawrence.
  2. We are only allowing them to borrow in a deficit condition — something we have done for three other communities over the past decade with little fanfare.
  3. Just letting them fail is definitely not an option; it would affect the borrowing ability of every other Massachusetts community (as well as hurting the 70,000 residents of Lawrence very badly).
  4. The oversight we have put in place is most of the way to a financial control board. We are putting in place a financial overseer who will evaluate and guide the finances of the city — that’s a lot of what a financial control board would do initially anyway; an FCB would need some time to assess everything before asserting itself with hands on control. The overseer will carry a very big stick — having the power to force an FCB at any time.
  5. This approach is not an endorsement of the new mayor and city council, who appear to be off to a fairly weak start, but it gives them a bit of a chance, while exposing the state to little or no additional risk.
  6. In the case of Springfield, we gave a significant cash infusion to the City and that’s what justified the immediate financial control board there.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.