The Massachusetts House of Representatives yesterday passed a home rule petition that, if approved by the state senate and signed by Gov. Edward J. King, would allow the Cambridge City Council to override Proposition 2 1/2.
The bill--which would allow a local veto of the massive tax cuts mandated by 2 1/2 has "a good chance of passing" in the Senate, city councilor David E. Sullivan said last night, adding that the legislation has the support of both Cambridge state senators, considered crucial on home rule bills.
He added that it is "hard to tell" whether the governor would sign it, but said, "I would hope that he would defer to the interests of the people of Cambridge."
Heidi E. Brieger, an aid to Mayor Francis H. Duehay '55, said yesterday that if this home rule bill passes, "it is assured to go through city council." If the Senate or the Governor blocks its passage, there are several other home rule petitions before the Massachusetts government which would help Cambridge to soften the effects of 2 1/2, she added.
Hundreds of city employees lost their jobs in the wake of 2 1/2, which took effect with this fiscal year.
The bill will expire unless it is passed before the current legislative session runs out at the beginning of next month.
George A. Bachrach, Massachusetts senator from Cambridge and co-sponsor of the bill, said that he would "make every effort" to get the bill through next week. He added, however, that the Senate considers a large amount of legislation before a session ends, and that the bill "could get lost in the shuffle."
Bachrach said that he is "hopeful" that the governor would sign the bill if the senate passes it, because the whole Massachusetts delegation from Cambridge supports it. It is usually "incumbent on the governor to respect that," he added.
City Councilor David A. Wylie said he expected the bill to pass "because everybody is on the hook with 2 1/2." Massachusetts badly needs tax reform, but 2 1/2 is an "unmitigated disaster," he said, adding, however, that he would vote for the override because "it is a mitigated disaster."
The home rule bill is "the easy way out" for the legislature, because it forces the city to deal with the issue of reform, Wylie said.
Under 2 1/2, Cambridge would be forced to cut $11-to $12-million from its budget next year, Leonard J. Russell, Cambridge city councilor said yesterday. The cuts would free the city to "dismantle the whole school system," he added, saying that he would support the override.
The Coalition for Cambridge--whose members are "mostly parents, worried about the schools"--will give the governor a petition signed by 5000 people requesting home rule, Rena H. Leib, a spokesman for the group, said yesterday.
The Coalition will also argue that home rule should be granted because Cambridge residents "voted overwhelmingly against 2 1/2 originally" and because Cambridge does not levy taxes on the full market value of property, she said, adding that parents are also very concerned about cuts in school programs as a result of 2 1/2.
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