Author: jscutler

State Funeral for World War II Veterans resolution

The Medal of Honor is the highest military award bestowed on our armed forces. For heroic actions during World War II there were 472 Medals of Honor awarded. Today, there are just two surviving recipients in the country and both of these heroes are of advanced age.

In order to honor all 472 heroes it has been proposed that the United States designate a State Funeral upon the death of the last surviving member. This would serve as a final salute to the 16 million men and women of the greatest generation who served in our armed forces from 1941 to 1945.

The President of the United States has the sole authority to designate a state funeral –– an honor which has traditionally been granted to former Presidents, Generals, and other highly distinguished Americans. There is a growing national movement to formally request that the President make this designation and Duxbury’s own Ron Ramseyer is helping lead this effort, with help from fellow Duxbury resident Frank Kemp and our local American Legion Post.

Their organization, State Funeral for World War II Veterans, is asking all of the individual states to endorse this idea, which I’m proud to say the Massachusetts Legislature formally did today!

This resolution was introduced by myself and Sen. Patrick O’Connor in a bi-partisan effort. We want to sincerely thank Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka, Veterans Committee co-Chairs Linda Dean Campbell and Michael Rush, Sen. Tarr, Rep. Jones and all of our fellow colleagues of both parties for warmly embracing and supporting this idea.

Today we held a small ceremony at the Duxbury American Legion post to formally read the Resolution, making Massachusetts now the 10th state to support this national effort. We were also joined by Gary Murad, State Funeral State Board member, along with John Magnarelli, Michael Thorpe, and Legion Commander James Griffin. plus staff from Rep. Kathy LaNatra. A copy of the Resolution will be transmitted to the President of the United States.

A fun side note to the story: About two years ago when there was a storm and power outages in Duxbury, I went over to the Senior Center with my laptop to hop on their WiFi. I was sitting on the couch in the reading room minding my own business when all of a sudden I hear my name mentioned. A gentleman on the other side of room said something to the effect of “I’ll reach out to Rep. Cutler.” It just so happens it was Ron Ramseyer sitting at the table with his back to me. I figured I would save him the trouble of reaching out so I walked over and said hello and that was how I first learned about this WWII State Funeral effort. Fast forward to today and I’m very pleased we were able to make this happen to put Massachusetts formally on record in support. So proud to see our local residents Ron, Frank and others leading this! For more info on their organization please see: https://worldwar2salute.org/

Coastal Resilience grant for Duxbury Beach

Duxbury has been awarded a Coastal Resilience grant by the office of Coastal Zone Management’s (CZM). The grants, funded through the Legislature, support local efforts to proactively plan for and reduce coastal storm and climate change impacts, including storm surge, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise.

Duxbury will receive $152,278 for Duxbury beach for nature-based storm-damage protection measures. The Duxbury Beach Reservation will complete permitting for a series of nature-based measures that will provide flood and erosion control and improve the resilience of the barrier beach system. The measures will address vulnerable areas including ocean-facing beaches and dunes, bay side of the barrier beach, Powder Point Bridge abutment and pilings, and low areas of the access road.

Tax relief extension for small businesses

The Legislature and Gov. Baker have jointly agreed to a further extension for regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for most small businesses due from March 2020 through April 2021, so that they will instead be due in May 2021.

Businesses that collected less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the twelve month period ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and businesses that collected less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the twelve month period ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes. For these small businesses, no penalties or interest will accrue during this extension period.

For businesses with meals tax and room occupancy tax obligations that do not otherwise qualify for this relief, late-file and late-pay penalties will be waived during this period. 

The Department of Revenue will issue emergency regulations and a Technical Information Release to implement these administrative relief measures.

Resolution in honor of Ed Thorne

Sen. Susan Moran and I were pleased to host a brief ceremony today outside Pembroke Town Hall to formally recognize Mr. Ed Thorne for his dedicated service to our community. Ed served in municipal government for more than 40 years, including more than 20 years in Pembroke, retiring this spring. He was Pembroke’s first Town Administrator starting in 1998 and then later our first Town Manager in 2019.

We presented Ed with a formal Resolution passed by both the Mass. House and Senate to recognize his service. Thank you to Selectboard Chairman Dan Trabucco for joining us along with a number of past and present town employees, and some of Ed’s colleagues in other communities. The town is planning an additional event in the future.

Here is the text of the Resolution which was read into the permanent record of the Massachusetts General Court.

A JOINT RESOLUTION THANKING EDWIN J. THORNE FOR HIS SERVICE TO THE TOWN OF PEMBROKE

WHEREAS, MR. EDWIN J. THORNE HAS SERVED IN MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT WITH DEDICATION, DISTINCTION AND PROFESSIONALISM FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS, INCLUDING TIME IN NORTH CAROLINA AND WEST VIRGINIA, AS WELL AS MASSACHUSETTS WHERE HE SERVED AS THE TOWN OF PEMBROKE’S FIRST TOWN ADMINISTRATOR STARTING IN 1998, AND THE FIRST TOWN MANAGER STARTING IN 2019;

AND WHEREAS, MR. THORNE WORKED TIRELESSLY TO PROTECT THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE TOWN OF PEMBROKE AND ENSURE THAT RESOURCES WERE DIRECTED TO CLEAN UP AND PROTECT OUR MANY PONDS, STREAMS, PARKS AND TRAILS;

AND WHEREAS, MR. THORNE WENT WELL ABOVE AND BEYOND THE JOB OF BEING A TOWN ADMINISTRATOR AND TRULY EMBRACED HIS ROLE AS A COMMUNITY LEADER, GENEROUSLY SPENDING TIME ON ALL MANNER OF CHARITABLE CAUSES, ATTENDING LOCAL EVENTS ON THE WEEKEND AND DIVING INTO HIS ROLE WITH ENTHUSIASM AND GOOD CHEER;

ANDWHEREAS, MR. THORNE DEVOTED COUNTLESS HOURS ON BEHALF OF THE YOUTH OF PEMBROKE, INCLUDING MAKING IMPROVEMENTS TO TOWN BALLFIELDS, PARTICIPATING IN SCHOOL READING PROGRAMS AND CHAMPIONING EFFORTS FOR A NEW PLAYGROUND AT THE TOWN LANDING, NOW KNOWN AS THE “ED THORNE MUNICIPAL PLAYGROUND;

ANDWHEREAS, MR. THORNE OVERSAW THE TOWN’S GROWTH AND PROGRESS OVER MORE THAN TWO DECADES, PRESIDING OVER THE TOWN’S DESIGNATION AS A GREEN COMMUNITY, HELPING THE TOWN RECEIVE NUMEROUS STATE AND FEDERAL GRANTS, AND UNDERTAKING A COMPREHENSIVE TOWN REVIEW TO STUDY WAYS TO IMPROVE THE FUNCTIONS OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE THANKS MR. EDWIN J. THORNE FOR HIS YEARS OF LOYAL AND DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT AND HIS DEDICATION TO THE TOWN OF PEMBROKE.

Rep. Cutler amendment funds Hanson police radios

During our state budget debate I drafted and filed an amendment to provide an additional $25,000 for the Hanson Police & Fire Departments to purchase new mobile communications gear. My amendment was adopted and, with support from Sen. Brady in the Senate, made its way to the governor’s desk and was eventually signed into law. With the funds the town was able to purchase these Motorola APX portable radios for use by Hanson Police, as well as multiban mobile radios for Hanson Fire and Highway Departments to allow interoperability among the three agencies. The radios are now in and in use. This comes in handy on days like yesterday when we have major roadwork going on at the same time as multiple emergency calls. Thank you to my colleagues for supporting this amendment. Grateful to see the local results of our work on Beacon Hill!

Sales tax free weekend

This weekend is our Sales Tax Holiday. This a great time to support our small businesses, get those back to school supplies (sorry kids!) or other household items you’ve been looking for. Here are the basics:

• No sales tax (6.25%) for most retail items under $2,500 on Saturday & Sunday. Some stores offer additional savings on top of this so it pays to check around.

• If your purchase requires home delivery you can still get tax break as long as you pay for it this weekend.

• If you purchase multiples items that add up to more than $2,500 you still get the tax break for each item as long as no single item was over $2,500.

• Online shoppers can still save if purchase made during designated time period.

• Does not apply to tobacco, alcohol or marijuana, motorboats or vehicles.

• If you have more detailed questions about the sales tax holiday please see this helpful page: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/sales-tax-holiday-frequently-asked-questions

Legislature commits to Local Aid for towns and schools

State Representative Josh Cutler is pleased to announce an important commitment for local aid funding to help our cities and towns during this challenging budget year.

This commitment will result in an increase in Chapter 70 education funding and an assurance to maintain existing levels of unrestricted local aid. The agreement came about through cooperative discussions between the administration and the House and Senate. For FY21, the agreement commits to providing no less than the FY20 level of funding for unrestricted general government aid (UGGA, in the past called Lottery aid) and Chapter 70 education aid. 

Additionally, it commits to Chapter 70 increases for inflation and enrollment increases with an additional $107 million in aid over FY20. Additional school aid noted below is allocated based on formula factoring in student enrollment changes.

“Given the fiscal challenges brought on by COVID19 and the uncertainty at the federal level, this budget news is quite welcome and encouraging,” said Rep. Cutler. “I am pleased to support it as a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. This will still be a very challenging budget year for everyone, but this agreement will go a long way to help our towns reduce uncertainty and maintain quality services. 

Here are the numbers for our district.”

Chapter 70 school aid 
• Pembroke Schools: $13,705,090, an increase of $96,338.
• Duxbury Schools: $5,445,397, an increase of $104,862 
• Whitman-Hanson Regional: $25,068,973, an increase of $292,273

Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA)
• Pembroke: $1,785,006 
• Duxbury: $941,254
• Hanson: $1,359,810

UGGA amounts are based on FY20 cherry sheets. School aid data courtesy of DESE.These amounts do not include potential additional funding from CARES program.