Rep. Hogan and Sen. Eldridge share budget forecast


Rep. Hogan and Sen. Eldridge share budget forecast
Rep. Kate Hogan and Sen. Jamie Eldridge speak before the Hudson Select Board in 2023. (Photo/Sarah Freedman)

HUDSON – The Select Board had an audience with state Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow) and state Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Marlborough) to discuss the 2025 fiscal year budget at its March 25 meeting.

Hogan gave the board an idea of what was going on in the Massachusetts Legislature.

“The big picture view is that the economy is slowing, and tax collections are down,” said Hogan. “They’ve been consistent for a number of months in that they have not met expectations, so we’re trimming spending.”

She said the Legislature cut the year-end revenue estimate by “a billion dollars in order to meet … revenue shortfalls.” The good news, however, is that the national economy is stable, and “the Biden administration continues to inject stimulus into the economy through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS Act.”

The CHIPS Act is an effort to focus on bringing the manufacturing of microchips and semiconductors back into the United States.

“We’ve enacted important spending legislation to keep Massachusetts attractive and affordable for employers, residents, workers. A comprehensive tax relief bill was passed very recently,” said Hogan.

Hudson received earmarks last year for $50,000 for wayfinding and $50,000 for the expansion of the CATCH Connect bus service, which is associated with the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA).

Hogan noted that last fall they celebrated the allocation of $1.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act spending for Hudson for the completion of water drainage upgrades and culvert repairs on Main Street.

The House has passed the long-term care bill to improve oversight of the long-term care industry, she said.

Hogan said, “I think we know much, much attention should be paid to supporting and expanding the workforce, the oversight of facilities and ensuring greater access.”

Eldridge reviewed the cherry sheet numbers for the 2025 fiscal year budget and compared them to the 2024 fiscal year numbers for Chapter 70, or education funding. Gov. Maura Healey has proposed “several tens of thousands of dollars of increase compared to last year.”

He said, “My hope is that the Legislature would do better than that. The House goes in April, and then the Senate goes in May.”

As it falls in tax filing season, April will be a “really critical month” in terms of seeing where the state will be with respect to revenue, and that could impact the Senate budget, according to Eldridge.

His hope was through minimum aid, or minimum dollars per pupil, Hudson Public Schools would be helped.

“I’m pushing hard for that,” said Eldridge. “I have my meeting with Chairman [Michael Rodrigues of the Ways and Means Committee] next week to discuss my budget priorities.”

He noted that the Hudson Public Library’s renovation project is on the town’s mind. Both Eldridge and Hogan were at one of the regional library breakfasts to advocate for keeping the state funding for library operations.

In related news, he said the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is ensuring that funding continues. And, if the Hudson Library project goes forward, he hoped the state would keep its commitment of paying for 50% of any renovation needed.

PFAS bill

Hogan noted that she is working on a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) bill that is coming out of the Healthcare Finance Committee and going to the House Ways and Means Committee. The goal, she said, was to have a bill that people can use and is the “best possible way to address the issue.”

PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals found in many consumer products like food packaging and cookware, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

She said, “I’m still taking meetings with advocates … to make sure that what we do is a good bill.”

Select Board Chair Scott Duplisea asked what the bill would entail. Hogan said it would be a framework for PFAS that regulates every aspect from consumer products to firefighting gear to water and stormwater discharge in terms of when it is required to be removed from these sources.

“So what we’re trying to do with this bill is really set up four corners to begin addressing PFAS in all of the realms that it lives,” said Hogan.

They will go into the details of the budget in a few weeks and see where they will be with the budget numbers. She said she would be talking to people about the budget as “we get closer to see what might be needed in Hudson.”

“I look forward to working with you this year,” said Hogan.

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