Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Revenues Plummet, Fiscal Outlook Worsens

The Boston Globe is reporting today that state tax revenues will likely come in $200 million under Patrick Administration estimates. Good thing the Globe has this information, because apparently it is more important that Governor Patrick’s Morrissey Boulevard office is informed before the members of the Legislature. If it weren’t for the Boston Globe, we would rarely have the details necessary to fully understand the fiscal outlook.

You may remember during the budget debate, Democrats on Beacon Hill pretty much said the world would come to an end if we didn’t approve the $1 billion in new taxes. Well, we hiked taxes on the hardworking residents of Massachusetts and still the economic climate continues to worsen. Could it be that raising taxes during the worst economic times since the Great Depression wasn’t the brightest idea? House Republicans offered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of savings during the spring budget debate, yet all of those ideas were overwhelmingly rejected. Democrats instead opted to raise the sales tax, lift the tax exemption on alcohol purchases, hike other taxes and raise RMV fees. People can’t afford to pay anymore and that theme is highlighted here in the latest tax revenue figures.

While it’s not clear yet, we fear that a substantial amount of revenue is being lost to sales tax free New Hampshire and the Internet. Taxpayers are looking for alternative avenues to make purchases; not only to save a few bucks but also to send a wake up call to Beacon Hill.

The Governor will likely have to make emergency cuts to an already bare bones budget and people across the Commonwealth will suffer because of poor planning by Deval Patrick, his administration and the tax and spend Democrats on Beacon Hill.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Morrissey Boulevard Office Knocks Patrick Administration

Deval Patrick appears to be losing control of his administration and now the Boston Globe, a.k.a. the Governor’s Morrissey Boulevard office, is becoming more and more critical of Patrick and his lack of leadership.

Yesterday, the Boston Globe ran an editorial saying Governor Patrick seems to distance himself from his appointees and their actions. From the Aloisi/Grabauskas debacle to the latest slip up made by Education Secretary Paul Reville, Governor Patrick does not take ownership or responsibility for that matter for the decisions his administration makes. Being Governor means being Chief Executive of Massachusetts. Governor Patrick has held that title for nearly three years and yet according to the Boston Globe, “he hasn’t gotten the hang of his job yet.” Well, the people of Massachusetts can’t wait anymore. They want leadership and a sound decision maker, two things Governor Patrick is not. Governor Patrick has a little over a year left in office before running for re-election. While one would hope he would get the hang of it by then, his track record leaves a lot to be desired.

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Attorney General Hands Out Big Bucks amidst Financial Crisis

Attorney General Martha Coakley is busy campaigning to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, but it seems the AG has also been busy handing out big raises to her staffers. According to the Boston Herald, Coakley hired 13 new employees in the past year and added $700,000 to her office payroll.

Keep in mind, all of this was happening while state lawmakers were making drastic cuts to local aid and raising taxes significantly. Everyone in state government was told they were going to have to do more with less, trim excess spending and deal with massive budget cuts.

Attorney General Coakley should pay a little more attention to the state’s dire financial situation. It’s politicians like Coakley who prove just how disconnected and out of touch state government is with the taxpayers of Massachusetts.

Assistant Minority Leader Appears on Broadside

Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson appeared on New England Cable News' Broadside with Jim Braude last night. The Grafton Republican discussed the Republican Party's recently filed injunction, among other hot topics.

Click here to check it out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grand Theft Senate Seat

The past few weeks have seen a manipulation of the process, and a subversion of the rule of law. This entire aberration was designed and orchestrated by Harry Reid, the White House, and the DC power brokers in order to serve the political interests of one party. Just today we have seen that this retroactive change to the law in the midst of a Senate vacancy was an emergency law that needed to take effect immediately despite the Legislature’s vote to the contrary.

After an exhaustive and extensive search, Governor Patrick proved he can move quickly...when told to by Washington. Ultimately, Governor Patrick ceded his authority to pick an interim senator to the DC establishment and the preferred choice of the Kennedy family. All this leaves us asking whether changing this law was ever about the best interests of the Commonwealth and its citizens, or just simply about the future political prospects of the Governor.

The Eagle-Tribune Gets it Right

There was a great editorial in yesterday's Eagle-Tribune. Despite the blatant hypocrisy being displayed by the majority of Democrats on Beacon Hill, this editorial really focuses on the bigger picture, which is the disrespect and disregard the Majority Party is showing towards the rule of law. As John Adams once said, "we are a government of laws and not of men."

Please check out the editorial in its entirety by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House Republican Leader's Statement on Senate Vacancy Bill

House Minority Leader Brad Jones today released the following statement on the House’s vote to remove emergency language from the Senate Vacancy bill:

The House’s decision to remove the Emergency Preamble from the Senate Vacancy legislation makes it clear no emergency exists. This act demonstrates the intent of the House to ensure this piece of legislation shall not take effect immediately but rather become effective in 90 days like all general legislation. It is my hope the Governor will respect the vote of the House and not attempt to thwart its decision through a contorted interpretation of the Constitution.

The situation before us is so unique that any action by the Governor to subvert the House’s decision would be inappropriate and give rise to a serious constitutional question which will put yet another cloud over Beacon Hill.

Friday, September 18, 2009

House Republicans Reject Political Power Play

House Republicans mounted an unsuccessful, yet bipartisan effort last night to prevent the majority of Beacon Hill Democrats from changing the Senate Succession plan yet again. A number of Democrats joined Republican lawmakers in rejecting this political power play.

Republican lawmakers are featured in a number of articles and news stories from various media outlets.

Here is a selection of clips from the print media: State House News Service, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Worcester Telegram & Gazette , the Cape Cod Times and the Republican.

Television stories featuring House Republicans: Fox 25, WHDH-TV, The Boston Channel and New England Cable News.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jones: Abuse of Power a Disgrace

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement after the House engrossed House Bill 4246, which would allow Governor Patrick to make an interim appointment to the vacant U.S. Senate seat.

The display the vast majority of Democrats put on today on the House floor is a disgrace and further confirmation of their abuse of power that has become so prevalent in this state legislature.

John Adams, who crafted our state’s constitution, is rolling over in his grave tonight because of the blatant hypocrisy and Machiavellian tactics being used by the Majority Party. Tonight, the ends justified the means. The Democrats made the decision to change a law retroactively at the expense of good government in order to benefit their party.

The people of Massachusetts don’t need another reason not to trust their elected officials. The Democrats have already given them plenty this year; the third Speaker in a row was indicted this year, a Senator allegedly took bribes in exchange for legislation and the Democratic-controlled Legislature hiked the sales tax. Beacon Hill is broken and we need to fix it. We started to take positive steps this year, putting into place a number of reforms in pension, transportation and ethics. But with this vote tonight, we took a dozen steps back.

It is a shame that the majority of Democratic lawmakers are more concerned with pleasing the special interest groups in Washington, than their own constituents here in Massachusetts.

Buzzards Bay Brewing Falls Victim to Bay State Business Climate

A popular microbrewery in Westport has fallen victim to the Bay State Business Climate. That’s according to an article in today’s Standard Times. Owner Bill Russell told the newspaper, “The greatest challenges facing the company were ongoing difficulties with distribution and a business climate in Massachusetts that is not friendly to small entrepreneurs.”

The Democrats on Beacon Hill are making it harder and harder for small business to flourish in Massachusetts. Not only are entrepreneurs being forced to close their doors, but potential small business owners are being dissuaded from coming here because of the poor business principles our state lives by.

From high taxes to strict regulation, Massachusetts entrepreneurs across the board say the Bay State is simply not an attractive option for small businesses.
Small businesses drive our economy and its time Beacon Hill Democrats recognize their contributions to Massachusetts.

Click here to see what else Russell had to say.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Democrats Playing Politics

The Joint Committee on Election Laws is currently polling its members on a bill to allow Governor Patrick to make an interim appointment until a special election is held. Interestingly enough, the current form of the bill allows an immediate appointment, does not prohibit the appointee from running in the special election and requires that the appointee is of the same political party as the person who vacated the seat. It would appear as though the Democrats on Beacon Hill have convinced enough members to vote for this piece of legislation despite the fact that the majority of lawmakers voted against similar proposals in the past.

In today’s Boston Herald, the editorial staff asks, “have they no shame?” The editorial goes onto read, “Lawmakers should be embarrassed to sign on to this - even more so now than in its original version.”

We couldn’t agree more. The Democrats on Beacon Hill are making a mockery of the institution. As John Adams once said, “we are government of laws, not of men.” It is time the Democrats respect our state’s constitution and stop changing laws just to suit whatever political whim they’re having at the time.

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Monday, September 14, 2009

House Republican Featured on Politico

Representative Paul Frost, the ranking Republican on the Joint Committee on Election Laws was recently featured in an article on Politico. The Auburn Republican has been an outspoken critic of those looking to reverse a 2004 law prohibiting the Governor from making an interim appointment should a senate vacancy occur. Frost challenged Senator John Kerry last week during testimony at an Election Laws Committee Hearing, asking Kerry if he'd be as passionate about the change if Kerry Healey was Governor.

Click here to read the Politico article in its entirety.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Transportation Secretary Needed to Go and Allow Fresh Start

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement in reaction to the announced resignation of Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi.

I applaud and appreciate the decision made by Jim Aloisi to heed Senator Richard Tisei and my call last month for him to step down from his role as Transportation Secretary; my only regret is that he did not do it sooner.

During his time as Secretary, his lack of good judgment cost the taxpayers $300,000 to buy out the contract of his political nemesis Dan Grabauskas, numerous hours were lost by motorists on Easter Sunday due to preventable traffic delays and he pushed a “big brother” like plan to track drivers and charge them for their miles traveled.

While Aloisi made a number of mistakes during his tenure as Transportation Secretary, the blame for these missteps lied squarely on the lap of Governor Patrick. It comes as no surprise to me that with the election season heating up and with the Governor’s poll numbers sharply declining, Governor Patrick has decided to remove a liability.

We can only hope now that this change will allow us to realize the full potential for savings and efficiencies contemplated by the passage of Transportation reform plan earlier this year. The legislation has the potential to save billions of dollars for toll payers and taxpayers over the years if implemented as intended. It is up to the Administration to be sure this happens.

Never Forget, Always Remember

From all of us at The Capitol View, we hope that you will never forget and always remember the tragic events that happened 8 years ago. Today is a day to remember and to honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 including the brave emergency responders, many of whom sacrificed their own lives to save others. We must also keep the service men and women who continue to fight to protect our country and our safety in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless America.

These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of America's resolve. --President George W. Bush

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Change of Heart, Change the Law

Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama has had a change of heart and now wants Massachusetts lawmakers to change the law to allow Governor Patrick to temporarily fill the senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. This despite the fact that only weeks ago, President Obama said the decision wasn’t up to him but instead up to the elected officials of the Commonwealth.

According to a report in the Boston Herald, “Obama’s political committee Organizing for America sent out an e-mail to supporters urging them to call Bay State lawmakers and support a Beacon Hill bill allowing Patrick to appoint an interim senator in the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat.”

In response to this action, we are respectfully calling on him to stay out of it! We are sick and tired of Washington butting its nose into our state’s business. State House News Service is reporting “a Rasmussen’s phone survey of voters found 44 percent favor the naming of an interim senator by Gov. Deval Patrick while 43 percent oppose it.” The growing opposition proves this isn’t a cut and dry issue as many would like to portray it. The people here understand that retroactive changes to our election laws are wrong and send a dangerous message. Despite this, the power brokers in Washington are pushing harder than ever to allow for an interim appointment.

The fact of the matter is Massachusetts voters are fed up with people like Harry Reid who are pushing for the change just to benefit their own personal political agenda. Predictably, special interest groups are not only driving the debate in Washington, but here on Beacon Hill as well. It will be interesting to see if the money will flow from D.C. as it did in 2004 when we changed the law the first time.

Republican Lawmakers Question Plan to Allow Interim Appointment

Three Republicans were among the lawmakers listening to testimony yesterday at a hearing on a piece of legislation that would allow Governor Patrick to make an interim appointment until the special election to fill the seat left vacant because of the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.

The hearing, which began at 1pm, lasted well into the evening hours as dozens of elected officials, special interest groups and Massachusetts citizens spoke either in favor of or against changing Massachusetts' senate succession law.

Media outlets from all over the state and the region covered yesterday's hearing. Here's a sampling of what the press had to say: State House News Service, Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, New York Times.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Booze Buyers Opting for Tax-Free New Hampshire

An article in the Wall Street Journal confirmed what many of us already knew; Massachusetts residents are opting to make liquor purchases in tax-free New Hampshire. As you are well aware, on August 1st, the state’s sales tax went up 25% and the sales tax exemption on alcohol purchases became a thing of the past. Republicans argued Massachusetts retailers would lose out on business as their counterparts north of the border would benefit from the dramatic hike in taxes, but the tax and spend Democrats didn’t agree.

According to the WSJ, “Nearly half of New Hampshire's booze is sold to out-of-state customers.” The WSJ also reported that the difference in price can be significant. The article said, “The Hampton store recently offered one-liter bottles of Ketel One Vodka for $20.99. A private liquor store in downtown Boston, meanwhile, was selling a three-quarter liter bottle of the same vodka for $27.39.” No wonder Massachusetts residents are making their liquor purchases in New Hampshire!

Read the Wall Street Journal piece in its entirety here.

Senate Succession Debate Heating Up

Tomorrow, the Joint Committee on Election Laws will be hearing a piece of legislation that would allow Governor Patrick to appoint an interim Senator to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat until a special election is held. It’s important however, for everyone to understand exactly how and why the law was changed in 2004.

Glen Johnson of the Associated Press had a very informative and concise article in the Boston Globe over the weekend, and it does a great job explaining the series of events that have occurred since the law was changed in 2004.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perry Appears on Fox 25 Morning News

Representative Jeff Perry appeared on Fox 25 Morning News this morning. The Sandwich Republican discussed the latest political happenings with Doug "VB" Goudie outside the State House.

To watch the segment in its entirety, click here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Frost: As I See It

Representative Paul Frost, the Ranking Republican on the Joint Committee on Election Laws, had an opinion piece published today in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The Auburn Republican has been an outspoken critic of the sudden desire by many Democrats to change the senate succession law they hastily put into place back in 2004.

To read Representative Frost's thoughts on this hot button issue, click here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Frost Appears on Broadside

Representative Paul Frost, the ranking Republican on the Joint Committee on Election Laws, appeared on New England Cable News' Broadside with Jim Braude tonight. The Auburn Republican went head to head with Robert Haynes of the AFL-CIO regarding the senate seat vacated because of the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.

As discussed multiple times here on The Capitol View, now that there is a Democrat in the corner office, the Democratic Majority is looking to allow for an interim appointment, despite the fact that they rejected a similar proposal in 2004 and then again in 2006.

Click here to watch the segment in its entirety.

Speaking of Hypocrisy!

Republican lawmakers who pushed for an interim opponent in 2004 and 2006 are now being dubbed hypocrites by the opportunistic Democratic crowd. But the circumstances are very different now than they were in previous years. And that is, we are not discussing a hypothetical vacancy, there actually is a vacancy. Regardless of the decision to change the law in 2004, Democrats on Beacon Hill are forgetting that they took the exact same vote in 2006. Let’s take a look at 2006; Governor Romney had announced he was not seeking re-election, there was no senate vacancy looming and a bill had been filed to grant interim appointment powers to the Governor. That bill was overwhelmingly rejected by Democrats who argued an interim appointment was undemocratic and even unpatriotic!
Here are a few notable quotes from the debate on March 22, 2006 as compiled by State House News Service.

Representative Stephen Tobin
“In 1989 I got elected following the resignation of my predecessor. The Speaker had the ability to call a special election and there was not one. That made the election process a better one for the people of my district. If someone were appointed, they would have had a leg up. So this is a much fairer process. The appointment could be for a variety of reasons. It could be something we would not appreciate. I don't think substitution is warranted.”

Representative Jamie Eldridge
“I served on the committee when we first passed this bill. In my limited experience, I have understood how important the public takes United States senator's votes. People are unhappy about Sen. Kerry giving President Bush the power to go to war, and with votes on the Patriot Act. To come to a decision about which candidate best represents the Commonwealth in Washington D.C. takes some amount of time. Whether or not a governor makes good or bad decisions about appointing someone, the period would be enough time for the public and groups to make their decision about who should represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

The fact of the matter is we’re dealing with a real vacancy right now due to the untimely death of Senator Edward Kennedy. The special election clock is now ticking; candidates must file papers, collect signatures and begin the task of raising money. To change the rules of the game would be indeed be undemocratic. However, Republicans stand by their position that having gubernatorial interim appointment power is in the best interest of the Commonwealth, which is why if the legislation to change the law comes to the floor for debate, we’ll offer the appropriate compromise of changing the law prospectively. That way, no political party is benefiting from yet another change to the law.

Our nation is one of laws, and should the Democratic Majority change this one again, granting Governor Patrick interim appointment rights, they’ll prove yet again the disregard they show for the laws of the Commonwealth.

Peterson Appears on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson appeared on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer last night. Peterson, a Grafton Republican, appeared alongside the sponsor of legislation which would allow for Governor Patrick to make an interim appointment until the special election is held to fill the senate seat of the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

To watch the segment in its entirety, click here.