Final Status of Municipal Issues
The 2001 Legislature tore up a long winter and most of a cold spring. The first meeting of the new century featured jagged differences between Democrats and Republicans in both Houses on energy policy, taxation, economic development and a variety of less prominent but equally difficult issues.
The partisan disagreements and general lack of direction produced uneven results on bills important to cities and towns. The Legislature, with a few exceptions, killed measures that would have added costs and complications to the business of city government. On the dark side of the ledger, it rejected a fair and practical option tax bill and staggered down to the last few hours to accept a grossly amended reform of state and local finance policy. The League worked more than 100 bills in the 2001 Legislature. Members built the lobbying program, as always, on long hours, hard work and messages from home that made the difference on many close votes.
At the end of every Legislature, cities and towns ask one question. Are we better off now than we were last year? For 2001, the answer is "yes"; because the Legislature did more good than harm and we now have the statutory framework for a true working partnership between state and local governments.
The following is an analysis of the most important local government bills considered by the 2001 Legislature: