Monday, August 31, 2009

Special Election Announced

Governor Patrick officially announced the date for the special election to fill the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s senate seat. The special election will be held on January 19, 2010, however there are a number of important dates leading up to the actual election that need to be noted now as well.

To see the full calendar of events leading up to the special election, please click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jones: Don't Change Rules Mid-Game

House Minority Leader Brad Jones has been an outspoken opponent of changing the Senate succession law yet again. The North Reading Republican provided an opinion piece for today's edition of the Boston Globe.

To read Jones' thoughts on the debate heating up on Beacon Hill, click here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hill Appears on Fox 25's Morning Show

House Minority Whip Brad Hill appeared on Fox 25's morning show this morning. Though the state continues to mourn the loss of Senator Edward Kennedy, the discussion surrounding the succession plan is just beginning.

Click here to watch the Fox 25 segment in its entirety.

Glimmer of Hope

There’s some positive news from the economic world today, providing a glimmer of hope to those looking for signs that the struggling economy may be on the rebound. The Boston Herald is reporting that “housing is scoring some of its best marks since real estate began tanking in mid-2005.” In fact, the market has seen close to a 12% increase from July of last year.

While there is still a long way to go on the road to economic recovery, signs like this one indicate that at the very least we may be moving in the right direction.

Click here to read the Boston Herald article in its entirety.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jones Saddened by the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement in response to the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Senator Edward Kennedy during this difficult time. Though I rarely agreed with the Senator’s politics, I always had the utmost respect for him and his advocacy on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. As a Senator, he worked tirelessly to better the lives of his constituents and for that I will forever be grateful. As his loved ones continue to mourn the loss of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, I hope they can find strength in knowing both of them dedicated their lives to serving the public. Massachusetts has lost its most effective advocate, whose service and dedication is irreplaceable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why No Job Numbers Governor Patrick?

The Federal Stimulus plan was touted by many as the great solution to the many economic problems facing the nation. Along with jump starting the economy, people all over the nation were promised it would generate good paying and long lasting jobs. Today, State House News Service reported that Boston’s Mayor, Tom Menino will be announcing their share of the federal stimulus money has helped to create about 1300 jobs. Yet just yesterday, Governor Patrick’s sidekick (no, not Tobey), Tim Murray said it was too early to definitively say how many jobs have been created. So, who’s telling the truth? We’re guessing Menino wouldn’t be celebrating if he didn’t have concrete evidence to back up his claim. So, why is it our esteemed Governor can’t seem to tell us if any jobs have been created, how many? Is it possible he won’t tell us because it’s not anywhere near where he predicted?

But don’t worry, according to the Boston Herald, prison inmates recently received $250 each from the federal stimulus plan!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hill Appears on NECN’s Broadside

House Minority Whip Brad Hill appeared on NECN’s Broadside last night where he discussed Senator Ted Kennedy’s request to allow Governor Patrick to make an interim appointment should his seat become vacant. As you have all heard, Republicans pushed for this very policy back in 2004 but it was overwhelmingly rejected by the Democrats who wanted to prevent then Governor Mitt Romney from appointing a replacement had John Kerry won the presidency.

Representative Hill discussed this issue alongside Representative Robert Koczera, the current sponsor of legislation that would allow for an interim appointment. It should be noted that Koczera was an adamant opponent of this legislation when it was proposed by a Republican and voted against the amendment in 2004.

Click here to watch the segment in its entirety.

Boston Herald gets it Right on Redistricting

Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers made a strong push to hand over the redistricting process to an independent commission. That proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of Democrats in the House who are apparently not interested in making redistricting a more transparent and fair process. Today, the Boston Herald endorsed the idea and highlighted a similar argument Republicans made for needing a new process.

The House Republicans’ proposal, which failed on a 132-23 vote back in March, would have created a seven-member redistricting commission consisting of a dean or professor of law, political science or government from a Massachusetts institution of higher learning appointed by the Governor; a retired justice appointed by the Attorney General; and an expert in civil rights law appointed by the Secretary of State.

At least two dozen Democratic legislators have supported the proposal in the past but voted against the independent redistricting commission in March.

The commission would also include four legislators, who would be selected by the three non-elected commission members from a list of nominees submitted by the House Speaker, House Minority Leader, Senate President and Senate Minority Leader to ensure bipartisan balance on the commission.

The proposal has been endorsed by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Governor Patrick, former Governor Romney as well as dozens of newspapers throughout the Commonwealth.

This is good policy that needs to be implemented. Too bad Democrats aren’t on board with the concept of transparency.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jones Appears on the Howie Carr Show

Last night, House Minority Leader Brad Jones appeared on the Howie Carr show to discuss the controversy surrounding the request made by Senator Ted Kennedy regarding the Senate succession plan.

If you missed it, click here to listen to the audio clip in its entirety.

SHNS: Jones Slams Dem Proponent of Kennedy Plan

The fallout surrounding Senator Ted Kennedy's Senate succession plan continued today on Beacon Hill. Below is a piece recently published by State House News Service.

House Minority Leader Bradley Jones on Friday pounced on a colleague who earlier in the day ripped Republicans for criticizing a Senate succession plan. Noting that Rep. Robert Koczera in 2004 voted against a Republican-sponsored interim appointee amendment and took to the House floor to push for the proposal’s defeat, Jones reiterated his claim that Democrats were contemplating politically-based public policy changes. “A hypocrite right out of the gate – Bob Hypocrite Koczera,” Jones said in a News Service Interview. Jones added, “I haven’t said that I’m against the idea of an interim appointment” and said he was open to a change that applied only after the 2010 elections. Jones reiterated his beef that Democrats appeared to be engineering policy based on political circumstances rather than the state’s best interests, saying the plan wouldn’t be under discussion if Kennedy weren’t ill - the senior senator is battling brain cancer - or if Republican Kerry Healey had beaten Patrick in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Jones added: “If we had not changed the law in 2004 at all, this conversation wouldn’t be happening right now.” He said Democrats on Beacon Hill were responsible for a potential “crisis” should the Senate seat become vacant. The GOP-sponsored interim appointee amendment failed in 2004, with 44 voting in favor and 104 against. The 44 votes in favor were split evenly among Democrats and Republicans.

Boston Herald Hits the Nail on the Head

An editorial in today’s Boston Herald couldn’t have been any more accurate when calling the Democrats on their ultimate hypocrisy. As you are all well aware, Senator Ted Kennedy, who was influential in changing the Massachusetts Senate Appointment law back in 2004, is now looking to change it back! How convenient! Now, with a Democrat in the corner office and the likelihood that Ted Kennedy may be leaving the Senate soon, apparently Kennedy thinks having a gubernatorial appointment is in the best interest of the Commonwealth. We think this reeks of political opportunism and will be incredibly disappointed if the rules are suddenly changed at the request of the Senator. When Charlie Baker’s elected Governor next year, will there be a mad rush to change the law again? That of course is a rhetorical question, as we already know the answer!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

SHNS: GOP Drills Kennedy Proposal to Change Rules for Senate Seat

Beacon Hill has been packed with reporters all day, following the story that Senator Ted Kennedy is asking for a speedy replacement should he step down. Below is a piece recently posted by State House News Service.

Massachusetts Republicans said Thursday that Sen. Edward Kennedy’s plan to allow Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim U.S. senator in the event of a sudden vacancy smacked of politics and would constitute a hypocritical about-face for many legislators – who voted against a similar GOP proposal five years ago. GOP legislators said they were concerned for Kennedy’s health as the senior senator battles brain cancer, but called the prospect of another change in state law governing the replacement of a federal official a matter of fairness.

House Minority Leader Bradley Jones said he was “stunned at the incredible hypocrisy that could be expected to unfold.” Republicans pointed out they offered an amendment in 2004, in the face of rising Democratic hope that U.S. Sen. John Kerry would be elected president and a rush to strip then-Gov. Mitt Romney of his Senate appointment power, that essentially mirrored the interim appointment model Kennedy proposed. “Given that a great many of the leadership voted against the change in 2004, one would hope for some consistency,” Jones said.

Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei agreed, saying, “It was brushed aside, and the people who were for changing the law were very vocal, so I just don’t see how they do a 180 and oppose what they were very much in favor of.” Tisei pointed out that Kennedy's predecessor in the Senate, Benjamin Smith, was appointed by then-Gov. Foster Furcolo.

Rep. Brad Hill, an Ipswich Republican, recalled that the House in 2004 rejected, along party lines, a Republican amendment calling for a temporary gubernatorial appointee to keep any vacated Massachusetts seat in the U.S. Senate occupied until a special election was held, and wondered why Kennedy didn’t support the plan at that time. “Unfortunately, this wreaks of politics, which is pretty sad,” Hill told the News Service.

Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) said he wasn’t aware of a legislative sponsor for Kennedy’s plan, but added, “When the senior senator makes a request it’s taken very seriously.” Tarr said he was concerned that state election policies were unstable and vulnerable to the political will of the majority party, the Democrats.

Jones: Shocked and Appalled by Hypocrisy

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement regarding Senator Edward Kennedy’s call for a temporary gubernatorial appointment to fill his seat.

First and foremost, I wish Senator Ted Kennedy nothing but a full and speedy recovery as he continues his battle against brain cancer.

I am however, shocked and appalled by the blatant hypocrisy being displayed in regards to the potential replacement of Senator Ted Kennedy. Back in 2004, when the possibility existed that then Governor Mitt Romney could be making an appointment to fill Senator John Kerry’s (should he have been elected president) seat, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate hastily passed a law stripping the Governor of the appointment power. Now, fast forward five years, a Democrat holds the corner office and suddenly there’s an effort to change the law yet again.

The Democrats in Massachusetts have proven time and time again that they don’t hold democracy to the highest regard. When this was an issue five years ago, Republicans pushed for an interim appointment but it was overwhelmingly rejected. Out of political expediency and convenience, the Democrats are again considering showing a complete disregard of the democratic process and the laws of the Commonwealth by contemplating a change to the law to serve their partisan interests as opposed to simply what is the best and most appropriate policy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Boston Globe Gets it Right: Calls out Aloisi

Today’s Boston Globe’s editorial about Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi couldn’t have been any more accurate. While he spent months working on settling the score with a political enemy, public transportation users were looking for real leadership from the Patrick Administration. Governor Patrick and his sidekick Aloisi let the people of Massachusetts down when they let Dan Grabauskas go from the MBTA, in more ways than one. Not only did they lose a great public employee, but they weren’t all that honest about the reasoning for him being ousted. We called for the resignation of Jim Aloisi last week but that has gone largely ignored by the Patrick Administration. Apparently, Governor Patrick doesn’t feel like having the most qualified and competent people serving in important roles is a priority.

Governor Patrick, Where’s the Leadership?

Governor Patrick’s poll numbers have been on a rapid decline lately, but now he’s letting down an unlikely demographic, the children! As you all know, we’re experiencing a bit of a heat wave in the Commonwealth, although the Patrick Administration is apparently surprised by that. Umm, hello it is August! According to an article in today’s Boston Herald, Governor Patrick, the chief executive officer of our state, decided it wasn’t important enough for him to step in as more than 20 of the state’s pools remained closed on one of the hottest days of the year. Children all over the state, looking for relief, were denied a swim in a pool because of the lack of leadership Governor Patrick shows.

Apparently, Governor Patrick is more focused on ousting a qualified state employee, hiring his hack friends and protecting the funds to his precious Washington, DC office. Governor Patrick’s probably pretty happy this morning that the voting age is 18 or else he’d be losing a whole lot of votes!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Veterans “Thank You” Bonuses Available

If you, a member of your family or a friend are a post 9/11 veteran, we have some important information for you. A few years ago, a $10 million dollar program aimed at helping veterans when they return home was launched. The “Welcome Home” bonuses would award veterans up to $1,000. There are about 30,000 eligible veterans, but according to an article in today’s Boston Globe, only about 1/3 of those qualified have claimed their bonuses.

According to the article, “The bonus program pays Massachusetts veterans who served in any of the regular branches of the armed forces, the National Guard, or reserves for at least six months after September 11, 2001. It pays $1,000 to service members who were deployed to the Iraq or Afghanistan theaters and $500 to anyone who served elsewhere.”

To find out more information about the “Welcome Home” bonus and whether or not you are eligible, click here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Massachusetts Shoppers Flocking to the North

Massachusetts shoppers are taking their business elsewhere, flocking to retailers just over the border in New Hampshire. According to a report in Saturday’s Boston Globe, “Some border merchants in New Hampshire say they are seeing a spike in sales since Massachusetts raised its sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent on Aug. 1, while other retailers in the Commonwealth are reporting double-digit drops in business compared with the same period last year.” One Methuen retailer told the Globe he is expecting sales “to plunge 50 percent compared with last August, about $100,000 worth.”

Small businesses are the driving force behind the Commonwealth’s economy and every decision the Legislature makes has a direct effect on them. It is no surprise that increasing the sales tax is making it harder for Massachusetts businesses to compete with Southern New Hampshire businesses. But as The Capitol View reported before, Speaker DeLeo was never really concerned about losing business to New Hampshire. He may not have been, but thousands of businesses and their employees are concerned about what the future holds for them as Massachusetts Democrats make it harder and harder with every decision they make for businesses to stay afloat in the Commonwealth. There’s been a lot of talk about stimulus lately and Massachusetts Democrats have perfected it, only they’re stimulating the wrong state’s economy!

Massachusetts Taxpayers and Businesses Can’t Catch a Break

Due to the struggling economy and the absence of a sales tax holiday this year, businesses are trying to be a little more creative in order to attract shoppers to their stores. Businesses all over the Commonwealth have been encouraging people to shop in their stores, by offering to foot the bill for the sales tax. However, that gesture is unfortunately illegal in this state and now businesses are being forced to pull back on the advertising. It seems like no matter what, Massachusetts taxpayers and businesses just can’t catch a break.

Fortunately, there are legislators on Beacon Hill trying to make life a little easier for residents across the state. About fifty legislators have co-sponsored a bill that would put the responsibility on the vendors, who advertise this way, to pay the full amount of the tax due by the purchaser. Unfortunately, this bill will likely not be taken up into the fall.

We need to make Massachusetts a more business-friendly state and a state people want to move to and stay in. However, the state’s tax policy makes it very hard for families and businesses alike to thrive and survive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Frivolous Spending Continues Despite Economic Climate

Money management is apparently not the Parole Board’s specialty, as a new report in the Boston Herald reveals the frivolous spending ways of the state agency. The Herald’s Hillary Chabot today reported that the Parole Board spent thousands of dollars on random, non-essential items recently including embroidered shirts and pins.

Sounds ridiculous, but we aren’t making this stuff up. In a time when taxpayers are being asked to pay more while receiving less, the state and all of its agencies need to tighten their belts. Actually, the belts should have been tightened a long time ago. It is no wonder the public doesn’t trust its elected officials and state government on a whole when they are constantly being smacked in the face with these negative and hard to believe headlines.

This year, the sales tax has been increased, RMV fees have been jacked up and new taxes have been put into place. Taxpayers were promised that these actions were necessary in order to continue providing essential services. They’re probably feeling duped right about now!

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WCVB-TV: Republican Leaders Want Aloisi Out

House Minority Leader Brad Jones spent some time with WCVB-TV's Janet Wu earlier today, where among other things, they discussed why he and Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei are calling for the resignation of Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi.

Click here to watch the piece that aired on WCVB's 6pm newscast in its entirety.

Republican Leaders Call for Resignation of Transportation Secretary

House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei today called for the resignation of Transportation Secretary James Aloisi. In a letter to Governor Patrick, Jones and Tisei highlight a number of examples of mismanagement and incompetence displayed by Secretary Aloisi. Since the ousting of Dan Grabauskas as MBTA General Manager, the Transportation Secretary has proven his intentions are not pure and that he is not looking out for the best interest of commuters across the state.

Please click here to read the letter we have sent to Governor Patrick. We need to demand better leadership and Governor Patrick could go a long way in restoring the public’s trust by asking Secretary Aloisi to turn in his resignation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grabauskas Looking Out for MBTA Users, Aloisi Sticking it to Them!

The Boston Globe today revealed some fascinating new information in the ongoing saga that is the ousting of former General Manager of the MBTA, Dan Grabauskas. As if Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi didn’t come out of this whole thing looking bad enough, the Globe today reported that in emails between Grabauskas and Aloisi, it was Aloisi who felt a fare increase was necessary. But, as everyone had heard over the last few days, Aloisi and the Patrick Administration would like you to believe that Grabauskas was pushing the hike.

Governor Patrick and Aloisi are so caught up in their political battles that they can’t keep track of their stories. Here what the Globe reported today:

“On July 6, Daniel A. Grabauskas, then the general manager of the MBTA, wrote an e-mail to Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi Jr. questioning the need for an increase in T fares by January. Grabauskas, citing an infusion of new state sales tax revenue and federal stimulus money, said the agency could probably delay a boost in fares until 2011.

(From Grabauskas)Thanks to actions in the last month by the state legislature and the US Congress, we are close to being able to . . . spare our customers, many of whom are poor and transit dependent, a fare increase for an additional year, during the worst economic climate in 80 years.’’

Aloisi wrote back the same day to say the T should move ahead with a fare increase by January.

(From Aloisi)My reaction is that there are too many ‘ifs’ or other risks in the scenario you outline - too many things have to go right. . . . My objective here is to set the MBTA on a much stronger financial footing, and moving forward on the fare increase now seems to me to be the best and most certain way to accomplish that for the next three fiscal years.’’

After reading this email exchange, it is abundantly clear who was looking out for the MBTA users, and who was trying to stick it to them. The fact of the matter is the fare increase will be decided by the MBTA Board, who is headed up by Jim Aloisi, who was appointed Transportation Secretary by Deval Patrick. So, Governor Patrick has his hands all over this potential increase, although he is trying to spin his way out of it. The fact is Governor hand-picked the current Chairman of the MBTA Board Jim Aloisi. And it was Aloisi who wanted to pursue the January 2010 fare increase and expected Dan Grabauskas to tow the line.

Jones: Thoughts and Prayers with Kennedy Family

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement after hearing of the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

I am disappointed to hear of the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a woman who has been a tremendous ally to people with disabilities.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy and Shriver families as they mourn and grieve the loss of a great woman, who will forever be remembered as the founder of the Special Olympics. She gave so much to that community and for that we will forever be grateful.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Governor Patrick: Still Out of Touch!

Governor Patrick and his administration continue to make a mockery out of state government. Last week, Patrick and Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi forced out Dan Grabauskas as General Manager at the MBTA at a cost of $330,000 to the taxpayers. This week, there is renewed talk that a fare increase may be necessary to offset the agency’s budget deficit. When asked about the possible fare hike, Governor Patrick told State House News Service, “Let's see what we can squeeze out of the organization before we start talking about new fares. Until I get that, I'm not going to take a position on fares." How convenient, the Governor had enough info to get rid of Grabauskas but now he does not have enough information to express an opinion on a fare hike despite signing the sales tax increase and transportation reform package.

Meanwhile, Grabauskas, who is sick of having is character attacked, spoke out today regarding the hypocrisy of Governor Patrick and Aloisi. In a new report by the Boston Herald’s Hillary Chabot, “Grabauskas said $160 million in state aid from the sales tax hike, combined with roughly $18 million in federal stimulus cash and cuts prompting at least $3 million in savings eliminates the roughly $180 million deficit the agency faces for fiscal year 2010.”

Grabauskas goes onto say that a fare increase is not necessary this year and if the administration goes ahead with the hike, it would be their policy decision. Grabauskas also questioned how Aloisi could say the T wasn’t safe, then oust him and later claim the T is safe.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Governor Patrick Playing Politics

Governor Patrick and his administration are once again playing politics at the expense of Massachusetts residents. Yesterday, it was made official that Dan Grabauskas, the MBTA General Manager, was forced to resign from his post. In addition, so the Governor can have what he could not wait a few months for, the cash strapped MBTA will be buying out the remainder of his contract, worth more than $325,000. Governor Patrick just eliminated a dedicated state employee who has worked tirelessly on the behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. But as we’ve all learned in recent months, if you’re a political enemy of Governor Patrick, there will be hell to pay. Governor Patrick should be ashamed and embarrassed. He has proven to the people of Massachusetts that settling the score on personal vendettas is more important than having the best people employed in tough roles. Dan Grabauskas has done great things for the state of Massachusetts. He is responsible for cleaning up the Registry of Motor Vehicles. In fact, the efficient service and lack of lines are a direct result of his hard work and dedication at the RMV. Since taking over as the head of the MBTA, Grabauskas has brought the agency into the 21st century, by doing away with tokens and installing the Charlie Card system. In addition, ridership is at an all time high! So, I guess the only thing Dan did wrong is register as a Republican!

Of course, we all know that Governor Patrick isn’t in this alone. His sidekick, Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi has had it in for Grabauskas for a long time. Never mind, that it is a disgrace that Aloisi holds the job he has in the first place, given his tarnished past and his role in the Big Dig debacle. But more importantly, Dan Grabauskas is more qualified to run the MBTA than any hack the Patrick/Aloisi team could dig up. Governor Patrick has said that Grabauskas’ lack of leadership and incompetence are the reasons he needed to go. So, if we’re going to use that formula, perhaps it is time for Patrick to step down as well. For the last 2 ½ years, the Patrick Administration has many times over shown its incompetence.. Hopefully, the voters of Massachusetts are taking note of Patrick’s hypocrisy.

According to today’s Herald Aloisi apparently said, “It’s in the public’s interest to have a fresh perspective on the MBTA. It’s in the public’s interest to move away from the status quo. ” Ever hear the expression, pot calling the kettle black? Aloisi is about as entrenched as they come. He’s a long time hack who has dirty hands from the Big Dig and Turnpike.

What is all the more amazing is despite angling for many months to remove Grabauskas the Administration only just started a “top to bottom” review of the MBTA which one would have thought they would have done as part of their Transportation reform effort. The good news is the Governor owns it all now; every delayed train, trolley or bus. God forbid there is an accident cause it is now squarely in his lap but one wonders if heads will roll then because “Together we Can” take care of our friends and cronies and the hell with everybody else!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Republicans Right Again!

As revenues continue to tank and Democrats on Beacon Hill continue their unsuccessful tax and spend ways, it’s important to take a moment and remember that those Democrats have been warned many, many times.

Last week, the Legislature passed a supplemental budget, with much objection from Republican lawmakers. Republicans in the House made a motion to postpone taking up the supplemental budget until the fall in order to gauge the revenue numbers from the summer months. That effort was overwhelmingly rejected and a vote was taken anyway. The Speaker and his Ways and Means chief said July’s revenues would be $18 million below benchmark and based the supplemental budget on that figure. Well, yesterday afternoon, the Department of Revenue reported that July’s revenue numbers ended $24 million under the projected figure. That means last week’s supplemental budget is sitting on the Governor’s desk $6 million out of balance. So, the Governor has two options; veto or 9C.

Once again, Republicans encourage the membership to be fiscally conservative and yet here we are again forced to be reactive.

Revenues Plummet, Speaker DeLeo Predicted Otherwise

Speaker Bob DeLeo is backtracking today after making an incredibly inaccurate prediction on Fox 25’s Morning Show yesterday. DeLeo, discussing the repercussions of the sales tax increase said, “It’s my prediction that July may end up pretty good because of that, and we'll see what happens in August.”

As if his overwhelming naiveté isn’t bad enough, later yesterday afternoon, the Department of Revenue announced that July’s revenue numbers weren’t only down but were even worse than predicted. In fact, according to DOR, July’s tax collections were $24 million below benchmark. Speaker DeLeo was right when he said, "We were really never in competition with New Hampshire relative to the sales tax. In terms of losing business to New Hampshire, I don't think that was ever a concern." So, apparently the majority of Democrats who voted to hike the sales tax didn’t feel the need to concern themselves with just how negatively the sales tax increase would affect Massachusetts businesses. What else are they not concerned about?

Comments like this prove the sharp difference between where Beacon Hill Democrats stand and reality. Our country is dealing with a serious fiscal crisis, but prior to the economic downturn, the Commonwealth was in position to weather the financial storm. Just over a year ago, we had approximately $2 billion in the rainy day fund and every national economic indicator illustrated we were in for a long and tough recession. In the spring of 2008, we saw the collapse of Bear Stearns, formerly one of the world’s largest global investment banks and securities trading and brokerage firms. Foreclosures in Massachusetts in July of 2008 were 100% higher than the same time the year before. The cost of oil was up from $80 a barrel to $144, raising gas prices to well above $4 a gallon. Unemployment had spiked from 4.1% to 4.9% and the welfare load had increased for the first time since 1996. We even heard Democratic Treasurer Tim Cahill warning of the economic dangers ahead. The signs were all there and abundantly clear. They were however, unfortunately ignored by many.

Republican lawmakers said rein in the spending, tighten our belts and prioritize. But instead, the FY09 and FY10 budgets were filled with spending based on bloated revenue projections. We warned that if we didn’t play it safe, we’d be in a dire situation. And that is exactly where we are today. We now have less than $600 million in the stabilization fund, an unemployment rate hovering just below 10% and we’re only a little over one month into the new fiscal year. Democrats, led by Speaker DeLeo continue to ignore reasonable warnings. While there’s no doubt the Commonwealth’s economy was going to feel the impact of the national collapse, there is no reason to doubt that if Governor Patrick and the Legislature followed our principles of fiscal responsibility, we’d be in a much better position today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some People are Just so Out of Touch

Last year, Massachusetts residents overwhelmingly rejected an effort to do away with the state income tax and while we are in favor of low taxes we acknowledge that taxes pay for many essential services such as roads, police officers and firefighters. However, the rejection of Question 1 was not a sign that the voters wanted to be taxed more.

But Representative Jay Kaufman and the Massachusetts Teachers Association would like you to believe otherwise. Kaufman, who is the co-chairman of the Revenue Committee told State House News Service, “The last time voters had a chance to weigh in on a tax-cutting proposal that went too far, they voted in overwhelming numbers to support the tax even though none of us enjoy paying taxes. I would both hope for and anticipate a similar result. The only alternative to the increase in the sales tax was even further unconscionable cuts in public services. I think a healthy majority of Massachusetts voters understand that.” This comment came in reaction to a ballot initiative to repeal the recent increase to the state’s sales tax.

In a press release today, here is what the MTA had to say:

“Reducing the sales tax to 5 percent or below would be fiscally irresponsible. Legislators reluctantly approved that increase in order to prevent even more damaging cuts than they were forced to make in critically important state and local services. Irreparable harm would be done to public schools and public higher education if the sales tax were reduced. In addition, cities and towns would be forced to raise local property taxes to try to protect their schools, public safety and the quality of life in our communities. The voters understood this last fall, which is why they soundly defeated Carla Howell's income tax repeal ballot question.”

Whether or not the media will report it, the Legislature had an opportunity to prevent raising taxes by $1 billion. Increasing the sales tax wasn’t the only option. Republicans in the House and Senate offered hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings reforms. But real reform is hard work and the Democrats just weren’t up to the task. So, they took the easy way out, one vote to raise your taxes. Don’t let the Democrats continue to justify raising taxes by convincing you that because you didn’t want to repeal the income tax, you want to be taxed more. It’s a bad argument!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

RIP Massachusetts Redux

On Saturday, The Capitol View laid the Massachusetts economy to rest, as a whopping 25% sales tax hike went into effect. And while we here in the Commonwealth mourned that loss, New Hampshire businesses and residents rejoiced as business boomed in the border communities.

According to an editorial in today’s Union Leader, “The Granite State cannot count on the stupidity of Massachusetts legislators forever.” Sounds harsh, but unfortunately it is true. We hope Massachusetts Democrats who voted in favor of the sales tax increase and Governor Patrick who signed the ridiculous bill into law, realize exactly what they’ve done. In one swift decision, the tax and spend Democrats have buried our economy while boosting another.
Once again, when you head to the voting booth in about 400 days, remember what the Union Leader said today, “The Granite State cannot count on the stupidity of Massachusetts legislators forever.”

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

RIP Massachusetts Economy

The Massachusetts economy and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth took a hit like never before today. As you are all well aware, today, the Democrats on Beacon Hill buried our state's economy, as a 25% increase to the state's sales tax went into effect this morning. In addition, the exemption on your alcohol purchases is no more and when you go out to dinner tonight, expect to pay a bit more as well.

The tax and spend Democrats just don't get it. While they continue to show their loyalty to the special interest groups, they are proving once again to the voters just how out of touch they really are. Not to bring it up again, but Republicans on Beacon Hill offered hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings reforms during the budget debate and while Democrats try to paint us as the party of no, we show day in and day out that we are the party that is offering an alternative voice on Beacon Hill. We understand what you, the taxpayer, is going through. And while we continue to fight for change on Beacon Hill, the Democrats continue to make promises they can't keep.

Rest in Peace, Massachusetts economy.