Friday, October 30, 2009

Governor Patrick Swings and Misses Again

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement after hearing of Governor Patrick’s appointments to the newly formed Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board.

Governor Patrick’s appointments today present a missed opportunity as we initiate phase one of the transportation reform overhaul. While I’d like to say I am surprised by the Governor’s appointments, nothing shocks me anymore. The fact that they are being announced as part of the Friday afternoon news drop only validates my concern that at least some of the appointments announced are more about politics than policy.

Earlier this year, we passed a comprehensive transportation reform package that signaled a new beginning for the state’s transportation system. At least half of the appointments made today are contrary to the intent of the legislation and potentially in violation of the law.

What is clear is that three members appointed today are holdovers from previous transportation boards and their appointment to the new MassDOT Board represents a missed chance for bold leadership and a break with the past. In order for the overhaul to the transportation system to reach its true cost saving potential, it will take new leadership and bold implementation, not more of the same.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Minority Leader's Statement on Governor's Budget Plan

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement shortly after Governor Patrick announced his plan to address the budget crisis.

I am dismayed that Governor Patrick still does not seem to grasp the magnitude of the budget crisis we face here in the Commonwealth. The solutions he offered today are a temporary fix to a growing crisis. Just like last year, Governor Patrick is applying a band aid to what is a very deep wound.

Governor Patrick’s approach to the budget shortfall underscores his lack of experience in dealing with local government. Though the Governor claims, “We will not cut local aid,” it is readily apparent to anyone who has or does serve as a local official that aid to cities and towns was indeed cut today in a number of ways. However, in his attempt to provide assistance to communities, Governor Patrick filed legislation that would make Big Brother look pretty good to the average citizen. He claims his plan to install red light cameras at stop lights will allow cities and towns to offset any revenue shortfall they may have, but the public will see this as what is a false trade-off.

While I am flattered the Governor has chosen to implement a number of proposals my Republican colleagues and I have offered, I am disappointed that it took this long for him to recognize the full potential of our cost savings initiatives. It was only a year ago Senator Richard Tisei and myself offered a tax amnesty program that Governor Patrick’s Department of Revenue opposed for two years. The tax amnesty program ultimately generated more than $30 million in revenue for the Commonwealth and now the Governor is proposing to do it only months after the last one concluded.

The Governor has been consistently behind in addressing this situation. . Even today, Governor Patrick claimed Massachusetts’ economy was on the road to recovery, yet media outlets reported today that the Bay State’s economy shrunk for the third consecutive quarter.

We hope Governor Patrick will embrace more of our ideas -he should willingly do so now before circumstances force him to do so again.

Here are three ideas for Governor Patrick:

1. Shift all MassHealth members to managed care plans, rather than the MassHealth fee-for-service program and primary care clinician plan.
Cost Savings=$200 million annually

2. Encourage medical facilities to return unused, unexpired medication, which will lead to a decrease in overall health care costs in the Commonwealth.
Cost Savings=$20 million

3. Change the Pacheco law threshold from $200,000 to $5 million.
Cost Savings=$40 million

Figures Don’t Lie, Governor!

Democrats across the country are touting the success of the $787 billion stimulus bill, including Governor Patrick. But just how honest are those lawmakers being with the public? According to an Associated Press article, “The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by at least 5,000 jobs.”

According to State House News Service, the Patrick Administration yesterday claimed 23,533 jobs were "created or retained" in Massachusetts. So, how overstated was that claim? SHNS reported that “Administration officials later were unable to provide estimates of how many jobs were created and how many were preserved, or of how many were public-sector jobs and how many were in the private sector. A spokeswoman for stimulus infrastructure czar Jeffrey Simon said the data were not available, saying “Since we weren’t required to have that breakdown, we don’t readily have that breakdown.”

It all sounds a little suspicious to us. Why wouldn’t you have the information available to back up what sounds like a wild guess? The Governor and his administration can make all of the claims they want, but figures don’t lie. And since the Governor has done such a bang up job in the past forecasting job creation, we tend to be hesitant to believe him now. Remember the projected 100,000 jobs in the life sciences industry he predicted would be created during his first term? At last check, only about 1,000 jobs had been created since the $1 billion life sciences bill was signed into law.

When Governor Patrick came into office, unemployment was below 5%, it now stands at close to 9.5%. We know economic times have been tough, but the policies put into place by Governor Patrick have not been conducive to job growth or economic stimulation. In fact, if anything Governor Patrick has done all he can to tax jobs out of the Commonwealth. Below is a chart compiled by the Budget Director in the House Minority Leader’s Office. You will see that more than 110,000 jobs have been lost under Patrick’s leadership, or lack thereof. In fact, notice the job exodus began before the economic crash last year.

Click on chart to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jones Welcomes Connaughton to the Race

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement after hearing Mary Connaughton filed papers to run for State Auditor.

I am excited to hear Mary Connaughton has decided to get in the State Auditor race. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with her in various capacities and believe her to be not only an incredibly talented person, but also someone who brings a number of unique experiences to the table.

Mary has been an outspoken critic of poor policy regardless of who is in power and she will bring a whole new level of transparency to state government.

Economic Summit: Little, Late, Lackluster

If Governor Patrick was expecting his economic summit to boost confidence among Massachusetts residents, he was mistaken. If anything, the timing and partisanship surrounding the summit are further proof that this Governor’s efforts to repair the Commonwealth’s economy are too little, his grasp on the magnitude of the crisis came too late and his response has been lackluster.

Instead of a largely cheerleading session packed with donors and supporters, Governor Patrick should have invited a healthy mix of critics and leaders of companies that have left or are considering leaving the Bay State for greener pastures. Yesterday’s event was nothing more than a staged opportunity for Governor Patrick to look as if he is working diligently to resolve the state’s economic crisis. As the Boston Herald Editorial staff said today, “That doesn’t require “summits” and banners. It requires hard work and the expenditure of what little remains of Patrick’s political capital.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In The Finest Traditions of Beacon Hill – The “Outsider” Keeps It Mostly Inside

You may recall a few weeks ago Governor Deval Patrick announced that his administration would be organizing an economic summit, seemingly a response to the rapidly declining revenue numbers and increasing unemployment rate.

Well, that economic summit is underway, and it comes as no surprise that the summit is closed to the press and consists mostly of Beacon Hill insiders and Patrick campaign contributors. According to State House News Service, “More than half the planning committee for Gov. Deval Patrick’s economic summit today are donors to the governor’s political account. Most of the day’s events are off-limits to the public and the press, including sessions on the usage of federal taxpayer dollars.” SHNS goes on to report that “At least 11 of the 19 members of the panel have written checks to Patrick’s campaign, several of them repeatedly.”

So much for change and transparency! It’s more of the same from Governor Patrick and his administration. Hope Governor Patrick isn’t planning on running for re-election as an outsider again! This administration is consistently behind the curve. It was only weeks ago, that Governor Patrick recognized the scope of the financial difficulties the Bay State is facing. This economic summit is nothing more than a poor attempt for publicity.

Condolences to Fallen Marine’s Family

As you may have heard, a Massachusetts Marine was among the 14 Americans killed yesterday while serving in Afghanistan. Captain Kyle VanDeGiesen grew up in North Attleboro and attended St. Anselm College where he played football. VanDeGiesen leaves behind a daughter and his wife who is expecting a son.

We would like to offer our condolences and greatest sympathy to the family and friends of the fallen Marine. We’d also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to VanDeGiesen and all of the service men and women who risk their lives every day to protect our country.

Click here to read more about the tragic events in Afghanistan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No to New Taxes, Yes to Reform

Remember the slogan, “reform before revenue?” Well, the Legislature did very little reform, but mostly revenue! Now, only a few months after the sales tax hike went into effect, there are new calls to raise taxes yet again.

In Joan Vennochi’s Sunday column in the Boston Globe, Vennochi reports that One Massachusetts is “calling upon like-minded citizens to e-mail Patrick this week and demand balance-what they define as a combination of federal funds, rainy day funds, minimum cuts and more revenue options.”

Are they kidding? More revenue options? That is code for more money for Democrats to dole out to the special interest groups. We’ve raised a plethora of taxes this legislative session. From the sales tax, to the meals tax and don’t forget the satellite television tax, there aren’t many left to raise! The sales tax was sold to the general public and to unions as the solution to our state’s problems, yet here we are months later with a revenue shortfall. The essential services and local aid Democrats vowed to protect are all on the chopping block yet again!

Instead of raising taxes, which yes would be quick and easy for Democrats to accomplish, how about we convene in a full formal session to tackle the many financial challenges facing the Commonwealth. While we have taken baby steps as far as reform goes, there are still many areas of state government that must be reformed. Furthermore, if the financial challenges are as great as we all see them to be, why is the Legislature doing very little in the way of legislating right now. We’ve met here and there to pass legislation that could easily have been taken up during an informal session. Is it because the Democrats on Beacon Hill don’t want to do the dirty work? They’d rather grant the Governor expanded 9C powers so they can say they weren’t involved in the cuts. Well, we’d rather go line item by line item, cut the waste where necessary and implement practical, cost saving reforms.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Patrick in Campaign Mode?

Governor Patrick appears to be in campaign mode as President Barack Obama makes his way to the Bay State to raise money for the Governor’s re-election bid. It’s surprising however, to see the Governor actively campaigning so soon considering comments he made in March. When criticized for hiring Jim Aloisi and failing to bring tax relief to Massachusetts taxpayers, Governor Patrick told State House News Service on March 2nd, “save it for next year when the campaign starts. We're dealing right now with problems that they left, that they created, and I'll tell you those problems are deep, deeper than I think certainly I even realized when I was running." Problems left by the Romney Administration? Like the $2 billion Governor Romney left in the rainy day fund?

So, why the change of heart Governor Patrick? Could the campaign be kicking up because of the rapid decline in the Governor’s poll numbers? Or is it because he’s done the exact opposite of everything “Candidate Patrick” promised he would do as Governor?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Governor Patrick: Slow to Act

Governor Patrick is slow to act on trimming Massachusetts’ workforce, according to a report by the Associated Press. The Patrick Administration had said last year it would cut 1,750 jobs from the state’s executive branch, but the AP’s Glen Johnson is reporting that the administration has only cut a little over 1,600.

So, why so slow to act Governor? Is it because your executive branch is filled with political hacks and cronies like the three highlighted in a story in today’s Boston Herald? Governor Patrick needs to step up to the plate and make the tough choices he should have been making last year before the economic downturn began. Since Governor Patrick and the tax and spend Democrats on Beacon Hill neglected to prepare for the worst, the state’s finances are far worse off than they would have been had we implemented real reform in the FY09 and FY10 budgets.

Once again, too little, too late.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leadership is About Priorities: The Axe was Swung, but the Governor's Cronies were Spared

Governor Patrick has been talking a big game about getting serious in dealing with the budget crisis here in Massachusetts, but a story in today’s Boston Herald highlights why the Governor and his administration are in no way capable of handling the state’s finances.

According to a report in the Boston Herald, Governor Patrick issued “pink slips to nearly 100 state Department of Conservation and Recreation workers but spared a high-paid trio including the sister of his campaign manager and her two pals.” Smells a bit like cronyism?

Let’s talk about the three employees whose positions were spared. The first is the sister of Patrick’s campaign manager John Walsh, also the chairman of the state’s Democratic Committee. Walsh’s sister Patty Vantine, a former accountant for the state party, makes a whopping $105,000 working for DCR, and yet no one can say exactly what it is she does for the state agency. The next is Kathleen Reilly, friend and neighbor of Vantine who was hired in the spring and makes $83,000. Again, not exactly sure if her position is essential! And last we have Kevin Whalen, also a neighbor of Vantine, who makes $68,000 working as a waterfront coordinator.

The salaries of these three positions, paid for by the taxpayers of Massachusetts, are worth a grand total of $256,000. Half a dozen $42,000 positions could have been saved if Governor Patrick was willing to make tough choices and put the well being of the state above the well being of his political cronies.

Monday, October 19, 2009

If Only the Governor had been Proactive!

There’s been a lot of talk about what exactly led to the economic crisis here in the Commonwealth. While the downturn in the global economy is certainly having an effect on Massachusetts’ economy, one of the greatest contributors is the lack of preparedness by Governor Patrick and his administration.

The Salem News ran an article over the weekend called “Patrick asks Unions for Concessions to Help Close Deficit.” The article focuses on a former Department of Social Services employee who was laid off last month after 20 years of service. Michael Bonbon was a member of the Service Employee International Union, even serving as a steward. Bonbon told the newspaper that last spring he encouraged his union to make concessions because of the impending recession. That advice was ignored however, and instead the union fought for pay raises and new contracts. The Salem News quoted him as saying, “I told everybody I don’t need a new contract because of the way the economy is, let’s leave it as it is…All I want is for everybody to keep their jobs…But the union didn’t want that.”

This person’s story could not underscore our argument any better. The Democrats on Beacon Hill need to learn from Mr. Bonbon. Being proactive is far better than being forced to react. However, because Beacon Hill Democrats led by Governor Patrick failed to take the necessary steps in preparing a responsible FY09 budget, we are seeing the consequences in dealing with the already out of balance FY10 budget.

As you are well aware, the FY10 budget is now $600 million off and just last week Governor Patrick said drastic cuts are coming to essential services and it is possible that 2,000 jobs could be eliminated. The question is did it have to come to this? We say no. The state needs to be better prepared to deal with the unexpected. However, this recession was indeed expected and yet Governor Patrick and the tax and spend Democrats still couldn’t plan for the worst.

Michael Bonbon urged his union to prepare for the worst and they ignored him. He and many more like him are now out of work. We in the Republican Caucus urged our colleagues to prepare for the worst and like Bonbon, we were ignored.

You can connect the dots!

The FY09 Problem: Consequences for FY10

The Republican Leader's Office recently distributed an easy to read PowerPoint presentation, detailing the many problems facing the Commonwealth during this budgetary crisis.

Click here to view the slide show in its entirety.

Representative Perry's Latest You Tube Message

Representative Jeff Perry recently released his latest You Tube message. The Sandwich Republican addresses the Commonwealth's budget crisis in this edition. Perry cites research gathered by the budget director in the Republican Leader's Office.

Click here to watch the You Tube message in its entirety.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jones Reaction to Fiscal Crisis Management Plan

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement following the announcement of Governor Deval Patrick’s fiscal crisis management plan.

It’s good to see Governor Patrick catching up to the rest of us in recognizing the scope of the fiscal crisis. I am flattered that his fiscal crisis management plan includes so many Republican proposals that were offered back in April during budget debate including; expediting the sale of surplus state land, personnel reductions and requiring furloughs.

It is, however, disappointing to see the lack of specific detail in this blueprint to deal with this widely anticipated shortfall. Given the real possibility that the $600 million figure will likely be higher, one would have expected a more comprehensive and proactive plan for our fiscal solvency and economic recovery.

Culture of Corruption Alive and Well on Beacon Hill?

Earlier this year the Legislature passed an ethics reform bill that Democrats on Beacon Hill claimed would clean up the State House. But months later, the question remains, is the culture of corruption alive and well on Beacon Hill?

While there were indeed many positive components in the ethics reform package signed into law, the abuse of power is a direct result of one party government. Let’s keep in mind that the charges Sal DiMasi, Dianne Wilkerson and even Senator Anthony Gallucico face are already illegal and come with stiff penalties. No changes to our ethics laws could have prevented the crimes DiMasi, Wilkerson and Gallucio are accused of committing. However, greater balance on Beacon Hill would not only provide better oversight, but the public would also be better served with a sound two party system.

Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi today wrote, “The year of scandals forced lawmakers to tighten ethics regulations. But no law can legislate humility. No law can zap arrogance. No law can supplant fear of getting caught with conscience, or replace the basic instinct for self-preservation with the higher principle of personal responsibility.”

These shortcomings are all exacerbated by one party government and the sense of power, entitlement and electoral safety it breeds.

Too Little, Too Late

Massachusetts’ economy, much like the global economy has taken hit after hit since the economic downturn began. During this time however, little to no leadership has been displayed by Governor Patrick and his administration. That is evident by the dismal unemployment news being reported today as well as the Governor’s announcement of an economic summit he is hastily throwing together.

Now that his campaign for re-election is heating up, Governor Patrick wants to make it look like he’s actually working to fix the Bay State’s economy. However, we all know that if anything, Governor Patrick has managed to make the state’s finances worse by raising several taxes over the last couple years. He and his administration have been so focused on politics that they actually forgot to govern. Now, we have a 9.3% unemployment rate, the highest in more than 30 years, local businesses bordering New Hampshire and Rhode Island are struggling to stay afloat thanks to his decision to sign a drastic sales tax hike into law and let’s not forget his reckless spending ways.

Let's get back to the economic summit publicity stunt. The Boston Herald is reporting that “Governor Deval Patrick will convene an economic summit later this month to discuss long-term economic recovery and jobs growth.” Memo to Governor Patrick, we’ve been in this recession for more than a year, shouldn’t you have started thinking about economic recovery a little sooner?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DiMasi Indictment Further Proof of One Party Government Run Amuck

The new charge brought against former Speaker Sal DiMasi is further proof that the one party system in the Commonwealth has run amuck. We have seen scandal after scandal, corruption and massive abuse of power. It’s a disgrace that one party has so much control and an even greater disgrace that the members of the House of Representatives relinquish so much of their own power to the Speaker.

Lord Acton once said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Who would have thought that words said in the 19th century could ring so true in the 21st century?

The culture of corruption on Beacon Hill is astonishing and will only be resolved when there is greater balance in the Legislature. Until then, Democrats will continue to allow a select few to make important decisions and unfortunately we can’t count on those people to make the right choices. The Democrats in Massachusetts have proven time and time again that they are unable of running state government efficiently and responsibly. Isn’t it time we elect more Republicans?

Jones on Corporate Tax Increase

Kudos to the Boston Globe for pointing out the state may lose $535 million in tax revenue beginning in 2012. Luckily, the History Channel has also pointed out that the world will end that year as well. It looks like the loss of corporate tax revenues is the least of our worries.

Sarcasm notwithstanding, it’s fascinating how the Globe paints the largest corporate tax increase in Massachusetts history as falling short of its promise. As a member of the Corporate Tax Commission, I made it very clear back then that the state’s revenue intake from so-called, closing “loopholes” was way over-exaggerated. If you need more proof, just look at how the Patrick Administration had to revise its fiscal 2009 tax revenue projections a total of five times, and still failed to get it right.

The Globe also highlights how only three corporations will benefit the most from a corporate tax deduction designed to lessen the sting of combined reporting. Those three companies are planning on claiming over $40 billion in tax deductions for the seven year period. That would equal about $281 million in tax revenue lost to the state. The Globe failed to point out the ratio of revenue lost to tax deductions claimed is only seven-tenths of a percent. Moreover, if you look at the total amount of deductions claimed by all 128 companies - $178 billion – the total estimate loss to state coffers is $535 million, or three-tenths of a percent. The Globe also failed to mention how many people are employed by these companies. It seems to me if 128 companies are big enough to ask for almost $180 billion (almost 10 times the state budget) in tax deductions, they probably provide a lot of services to the state in terms of employment, healthcare benefits, capital infrastructure, and municipal revenue. So much for investigative reporting.

The Boston Globe should just come clean and tell us the real reason for this article: laying the foundation for more taxes. Tax revenues have been falling for over a year now. Clearly, the Patrick Administration is going to need more cash to look good for next year’s campaign for re-election. What better way to pave the way to more taxes than to have the Morrissey Boulevard satellite office point out that, once again, the evil, bad corporations are not paying their fair share?

Earlier this year, Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei and I filed legislation to repeal the $500 million corporate tax increase all together. The tax increase – believed to be the largest business tax increase ever passed in the Commonwealth – was approved by the Legislature on July 1, 2008 without the support of a single Republican legislator and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick the following day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

From all of us here at The Capitol View, have a safe and happy Columbus Day weekend.

We'll be back on Tuesday with the latest happenings from Beacon Hill.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Ideas in April, Even Better in October!

The Commonwealth is facing close to a $1 billion revenue shortfall, this despite a significant hike in the sales tax. In April, in an attempt to be proactive, Republican lawmakers offered more than $300 million in cost savings initiatives. Not surprisingly, every proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the tax and spend Democrats on Beacon Hill. Those ideas were good in April, but they’re looking even better now that it’s October.

While we are cognizant that some cuts will have to be made, we are disappointed that none of our efforts to save money were adopted.

Here’s a recap of what we offered:

1. Require furloughs of all state employees.
Cost Savings=$40 million

2. Shift all MassHealth members to managed care plans, rather than the MassHealth fee-for-service program and primary care clinician plan.
Cost Savings=$200 million annually

3. Encourage medical facilities to return unused, unexpired medication, which will lead to a decrease in overall health care costs in the Commonwealth.
Cost Savings=$20 million

4. Change the Pacheco law threshold from $200,000 to $5 million.
Cost Savings=$40 million

5. Provide the rules and regulations for the state to expedite the sale of surplus land, transferring the revenues from such transactions to the general fund.
Cost Savings=$30 million

Those five proposals would save the Commonwealth about $330 million this year alone, and that is a conservative estimate as there is potential to save even more by implementing these ideas. Innovative thinking is needed to rectify the fiscal crisis the state is dealing with right now. Saving hundreds of millions of dollars would spare essential programs when the Governor takes out his 9C pen and we owe at least that to the people we represent.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

House Removes Questionable Provisions and Adds Limitations on Governor

Representative Jeffrey Davis Perry (R-Sandwich) released the following statement today after he and several House Republicans voted in favor of an Act Relative to Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Commonwealth.

“The Bill, as was originally written by the Senate, granted what I believe was improper new powers, including the entry into private property without a warrant and several other questionable conflicts with provisions of the Forth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The version that passed the House of Representatives today addressed many of those concerns and others expressed by my constituents by striking the entry into private dwellings without a warrant, allowing for an appeal to the Superior Court of an isolation order and calling for the least restrictive means to be used. These are all positive steps and I appreciate the fact that my concerns were heard and addressed in the Committee process.

The revised Bill also includes a Republican Amendment which now more clearly defines the circumstances when the Governor can declare such a pandemic emergency. This is not the same Bill passed by the Senate. I believe this Bill strikes the proper balance between providing government with the limited, but necessary tools to deal with a pandemic. By removing many sections of the original Senate Bill and providing a due process mechanism to people who wish to challenge the actions of a government official, this Bill is now in an acceptable form. If the Senate does not adopt the improvements and protections made by the House today, I will not support the Bill in the future.”

Misplaced Priorities?

Beacon Hill is once again showing its priorities are incredibly misplaced. Today, three significant issues have hearings including; transportation reform, health care payment reform and most importantly revenue.

Yet despite this packed day, Democratic leadership in the House decided to schedule a full formal session to take up a bill that has been kicking around in Ways and Means since April, an Act Relative to Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Commonwealth. This bill has been filed in some form several times over the last few years. This is certainly not an urgent matter that could not wait one more week. The topics of the hearings being held today are critical to the economic recovery of the Bay State and deserve complete attention from all lawmakers on Beacon Hill.

The Commonwealth is facing a projected $1 billion tax revenue shortfall this fiscal year and this grim piece of reality needs to be addressed in a swift and responsible manner. The people of Massachusetts are worried about staying in their homes, keeping their jobs and putting food on the table. Those issues are top on the priority lists of taxpayers and should certainly be the focus of Beacon Hill today, tomorrow and indefinitely until the economy is moving in the right direction again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Deja vu All Over Again

Once again, Governor Patrick is pushing to allow some immigrants to pay in-state tuition. Apparently, Governor Patrick hasn’t received the memo that Massachusetts and the country as a whole are dealing with a massive recession and the last thing people want is their tax dollars going to people here illegally.

Just when you think Governor Patrick has shown complete disregard for Massachusetts taxpayers, he goes even further with a slap in the face like this. Patrick, whose poll numbers are dismal (to be kind), told State House News Service, “I am on record with the leaders, as I am publicly, that I think this is important for us to do as a matter of fairness and a matter of economics as well.” The Governor also said he had spoken with leadership and said, “They do not have consensus yet on moving it.” No kidding, Governor!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eagle-Tribune: “Cutting Taxes is Key to Economic Growth”

The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune ran an editorial in today’s edition urging Beacon Hill to take a new approach to the current economic crisis saying, it’s time to cut taxes, not raise them! The editorial was apparently written after more than a dozen mayors from across the Commonwealth last week encouraged Beacon Hill lawmakers “to pass laws that would promote development and job creation — economic growth, in other words.”

In a state where the expected reaction to any economic downturn is to raise taxes, these mayors said the majority of cities and towns are rejecting the local tax options because raising taxes won’t stimulate the local economies.

So, the Eagle Tribune, using a basic argument says since raising taxes hasn’t been improving the economy, why not try the opposite? The editorial says, “Cut the income tax. Cut the sales tax. Maybe something different will happen.”

Click here to read the editorial in its entirety.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Governor Out of Touch: Don’t Worry Be Happy

As The Capitol View reported earlier, the state’s revenue numbers came in $243 million below projections. Following that announcement, Governor Patrick talked with the press about the economic outlook.

According to the Boston Herald, Governor Patrick said, “State revenue always recovers more slowly than the private economy. The good news is that the private sector is on the road to recovery.” On the road to recovery? Are you kidding? If this is Governor Patrick’s idea of a road to recovery, then it is a road full of potholes, speed bumps, oil slicks, snow and ice patches.

Every time Governor Patrick speaks, it highlights not only his disconnect with the people of Massachusetts but his complete lack of competency and leaderships skills. Governor Patrick came in with a significant rainy day fund, restored cuts made previously by Mitt Romney and began a spending spree that even Hollywood’s top earning celebrity couldn’t keep up with.

While Governor Patrick is busy rallying the special interest groups to boycott Hyatt hotels, working families are trying to figure out how they’ll make this month’s mortgage or rent payment. Glad to see his priorities are in order! It’s time for this Governor to step up to the plate. Seeing as though he hasn’t been able to do that almost three years into his tenure, it’s doubtful he’ll all of a sudden start leading now.

Bigger Fish to Fry, Governor!

For the last several weeks, Democrats on Beacon Hill have been dedicating their time, effort and taxpayer money on appointing an interim Senator, making the Fluffernutter the official sandwich of the Bay State and boycotting Hyatt hotels. In more normal times those might all be heady issues to address but Republican lawmakers are here to remind all of those Democrats that there are bigger fish to fry!

Today, Governor Patrick announced that September revenues were $243 million below projections, far worse than his administration estimated. This grim piece of fiscal news is not a surprise, since Governor Patrick and Democratic leadership based the FY10 budget on overestimated tax revenue numbers. This news is disappointing to say the least. Towns and cities across the Bay State are already struggling to keep teachers, cops and firefighters on the payroll and another cut to local aid could be the final nail in the coffin.

Governor Patrick will now have to make drastic cuts, only three months into the new fiscal year. Over the next several weeks, Republicans will be pushing cost savings initiatives that were overwhelmingly rejected only six months ago during budget debate. It’s time for innovation and creative thinking. Slashing local aid and other important state accounts will be devastating to say the least and would be further proof that Beacon Hill Deomocrats are out of touch with the people they are elected to represent.

While we recognize cuts will need to be made, lawmakers must work diligently to come up with cost savings measures to offset the magnitude of the budget deficit. Republicans vow to continue bringing new and fresh ideas to the table. Whether or not Democrats will want to roll up their sleeves and do the tough work remains to be seen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Governor Patrick: Two Steps Behind the Curve

Struggling cities and towns across the Commonwealth should no longer suffer because of poor decisions made by Governor Patrick and the Democratic-controlled Legislature. A few days ago, The Capitol View commented on what is expected to be a dismal September in terms of tax revenue collections.

Now, on the first day of October, the Telegram & Gazette is reporting that Governor Patrick doesn’t want to make any decisions on budget cuts until the final numbers are in. Governor Patrick is consistently two steps behind the curve. When will he and the Democrats on Beacon Hill learn that being proactive is far better than having to respond to bad economic news. Had the Democrats heeded Republican warnings over the last two budget cycles, it is very likely the Bay State would be better off. Republicans in both the House and Senate have been pushing fiscal responsibility for years with dozens of cost savings proposals being filed every budget cycle. Yet, the Democrats continue to spend beyond the state’s means while simultaneously increasing taxes and fees.

Our communities deserve better. They shouldn’t be forced to make more cuts because of the irresponsible behavior of the tax and spend Democrats on Beacon Hill. They deserve innovative, cost saving programs, sound leadership and solid decision makers working on their behalf. Massachusetts’s towns and cities are struggling to stay afloat and if Governor Patrick cuts local aid again, the responsibility of that decision lies squarely on the laps of the Democrats on Beacon Hill led by Governor Patrick.