From housing to well being care, Gov. Healey solutions 6 reader questions

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Mass. Newsmakers: A part of an ongoing sequence speaking to these with distinctive perception into the problems and considerations Massachusetts communities face.


Gov. Maura Healey paid a go to to MassLive’s Worcester workplace on Monday and sat all the way down to reply reader questions in addition to questions from reporters.

The information workforce chosen six questions on subjects together with housing, East-West rail and single-payer well being care from among the many ones despatched in by way of social media. Listed below are her responses. You can too watch a video of her solutions right here.

East-West rail

What’s your preliminary evaluation on the timelines associated to the a lot wanted East-West rail?” — From @pittmanworld on Instagram

Healey named East-West rail, which might join Boston to Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield and doubtlessly Albany, New York, by practice, as a marketing campaign precedence however declined to provide a precise timeframe for its building and completion. She added that her administration is working to determine East-West rail “as rapidly as potential.”

“I understand how necessary it’s to of us in Central Mass. and in Western Mass., however actually I simply wish to say it’s necessary to the complete state that we get this infrastructure constructed out,” Healey mentioned.

As a part of the proposed funding establishing East-West rail in her funds, Healey included $4 million for the research and design of a Palmer station in addition to $8.5 million for monitor enhancements in Pittsfield.

Later within the interview, Healey mentioned she hoped by the top of her first 4 years in workplace that there could be “shovels within the floor” and that building was going down.

Single-payer healthcare

Will Massachusetts ever try for a single-payer healthcare system?” — from Dr. Jess Hendricks @JessComposer on Twitter

Healey didn’t decide to striving for a single-payer healthcare system, also referred to as a Medicare-for-all, through which personal insurers would get replaced by a program paid for by the federal government, in Massachusetts.

As an alternative, Healey mentioned she is targeted on ensuring everybody within the state has entry to reasonably priced care.

“We’ve obtained a extreme concern in the case of psychological well being proper now in our state — behavioral well being disaster,” Healey mentioned. “Individuals simply don’t have the beds, the locations to go, the helps. It’s additionally why in my funds I’ve proposed substantial funding for psychological well being providers.”

Payments for single-payer well being techniques have been filed in every Massachusetts legislative session for the previous 25 years, however have all the time did not make it out of committee, in keeping with Mass Care, a state advocacy group that has pushed for the well being system over the course of that point.

Regional help for the Berkshires

What are you going to do to make sure regional fairness for providers and infrastructure within the Berkshires?” — From Gary Pratt @titan576 on Instagram

Healey mentioned that some elements of Massachusetts have felt disregarded in the case of state laws and state help for regional tasks — amongst them Berkshire County.

“I wish to be a governor who’s the governor for the entire state,” Healey mentioned.

Whereas East-West rail can help getting sources to Berkshire County, Healey mentioned she additionally helps regional transit authorities to help the state’s rural economies, a tax break for dairy farmers and a break for reside theater productions, serving to the Berkshires’ tourism financial system.

Moreover, Healey mentioned she is dedicated to completely funding the Scholar Alternative Act — a multi-year plan handed by former Gov. Charlie Baker working to offer extra funding particularly for college districts serving poorer communities with excessive numbers of low-income college students — and ensuring faculty districts get what they want from state authorities.

“We acknowledge that in the case of transportation, training and workforce improvement, we actually must lean into and work immediately with native communities on bettering alternatives there,” Healey mentioned.

Inexpensive housing for seniors

What are your plans to assist maintain affordability to assist seniors as the price of residing in Mass simply retains going up and up? — from Paul Mattson @mat62921075 on Twitter

Healey pointed to her latest tax reform proposal that may double the state’s senior circuit breaker tax credit score from $1,200 to $2,400, a credit score that these ages 65 and above can get on their taxes in opposition to what they pay in hire or actual property taxes.

“It’s an actual, actual downside, and that is notably acute for sure segments of our inhabitants, seniors amongst them,” Healey mentioned.

Housing, which Healey referred to as a “disaster” within the state, is placing the squeeze on state residents having to pay hire, mortgage funds or developing with a down fee on a home, Healey mentioned.

“Essentially, we have to enhance housing manufacturing across the state and simply actually, actually increase housing improvement and manufacturing all through areas all throughout the state. That’s going to assist seniors and it’s additionally going to assist our commonwealth typically,” she mentioned.

Healey added that her administration proposed a tax credit score that may assist communities enhance reasonably priced and market-rate housing, notably in mid-sized cities together with Worcester, Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke.

Inexperienced vitality

What are we doing to maintain up with the elevated energy demand and the way does it coincide with staying inexperienced? — from Devin @DevinThe1st on Twitter

Healey expressed pleasure about addressing local weather change whereas addressing the state’s vitality wants, and mentioned her administration has made the difficulty a precedence.

She named Massachusetts as a frontrunner on local weather points, recalling that the state sued the Environmental Protectional Company underneath President George W. Bush for not regulating greenhouse gases. The case was determined in Massachusetts’ favor on the U.S. Supreme Court docket in 2007.

“I’ve framed it as a possibility to essentially construct out and create a local weather hall that stretches all the best way from the Berkshires to Barnstable,” Healey mentioned.

Healey has proposed that 1% of the state funds go to local weather, funding the division underneath the state’s Secretary of Power and Environmental Affairs, a transfer she mentioned is unprecedented in Massachusetts.

State priorities will embrace modernizing {the electrical} grid in order that as renewable sources come on-line the vitality could be delivered throughout the state. Healey additionally plans to work with different states to construct vitality resilience within the face of fixing local weather and extra intense storms.

“I’m going to be extremely aggressive in the case of local weather,” Healey mentioned. “I feel there are enormous alternatives for workforce improvement for development and assembly our local weather objectives.”

Nuclear vitality

Would you help the growth of nuclear vitality right here within the commonwealth? If that’s the case, how would you go about it? — from Alex Sherman @AlexSherman12 on Twitter

Healey didn’t record nuclear vitality among the many sources her workforce is prioritizing.

“I help increasing wind, photo voltaic, hydro, geothermal,” Healey mentioned. “There are a selection of renewable choices on the market as we transfer away from fossil fuels.”

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