MAJOR BILLS DELAYED IN CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

COMPOUNDING PHARMACY REFORM

WELFARE REFORM

MERCURY THERMOMETERS

EARLY VOTING - ELECTIONS REFORM

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Governor Patrick: Throwing Stones from a Glass House

Governor Patrick had some choice words for MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas this morning. Discussing his performance at the MBTA, Patrick told the Globe he was concerned with, “the competence of the leadership and the adequacy of the management.” That’s funny, because that is exactly what most people would say if asked about Governor Patrick’s performance in the corner office.

The lack of leadership, the incompetency when dealing with the economy and the arrogance Governor Patrick and his administration have exuded since his tenure began are just a few, among many reasons why the Commonwealth needs a new leader. Charlie Baker couldn’t have entered the Governor’s race at a better time. While Governor Patrick is playing politics as usual by trying to oust a high ranking official that differs with his agenda, the Commonwealth is dealing with a revenue free fall. At the same time, the Governor and the Democrats in the Legislature are spending millions of dollars the state doesn’t have.

We need new leadership in the corner office and Governor Patrick is helping make the case for why the state deserves better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Republicans Push for Fiscal Responsibility, Democrats Defend Status Quo

House Republicans made a push in the Legislature today to postpone a vote on a $103 million supplemental budget. Republican leadership made a motion to put off taking up this bill until September. Republican lawmakers argued that taking up a bill of this magnitude while revenues continue to plummet would be reckless and irresponsible. Furthermore, the GOP caucus questioned whether or not Democrats had even read the bill and understood the contents they’d be voting on. Republicans, who received this bill just after 10 am this morning, once again highlighted the broken process that has left Beacon Hill in financial shambles. House Minority Leader Brad Jones told State House News Service how frustrating the process is, citing the lack of time to study and vet elements in the budget. In addition, Jones pointed out that just today the Senate President said July’s revenue numbers could be off by as much as $35 million, therefore spending $103 million today would not be the wisest decision.

Business continues to go on as usual on Beacon Hill despite repeated efforts by Republicans to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Legislature.

The Tale of Two Dogs that Bite: Tobey & Tim

Governor Patrick’s been having a tough couple of weeks. Let’s recap. Governor Patrick vetoes funding to two zoos, causing a publicity nightmare as zoo officials threaten to euthanize hundreds of animals because of the budget cuts. Then, he and President Obama add their two cents to the controversy surrounding the arrest of a prominent professor at Harvard. Then when you think things can’t get any worse, his poll numbers tank. This happens just days after his new puppy bites a woman and then proceeds to apparently use the floor at the Lowell Sun as a bathroom!

And now, as if dealing with one dog that bites isn’t bad enough, the Governor’s right hand man, aka Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray decides to take a bite out of gubernatorial candidate and Republican challenger Charlie Baker. According to State House News Service, the Lieutenant Governor sent out a scathing email attacking Baker’s credentials. If only Murray could be so lucky to bring to the table what Charlie Baker does. Instead, he’s sent out like an attack dog to do Governor Patrick’s dirty work. Over the next few months the campaign rhetoric will likely pick up and the baseless allegations will grow more and more frivolous. But at the end of the day, the people of Massachusetts want and deserve more than what they’ve received over the last few years.

They are sick of broken promises of property tax relief and Governor Patrick’s vow to clean up Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill has never and will never be a perfect place, but in Patrick’s time in the corner office, he’s made things worse, not better, though he promised he would.

And that is the tale of two dogs that bite. The End!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Money Wasted, Opportunity Missed


Governor Deval Patrick has once again wasted taxpayer money while missing yet another opportunity. According to an article by Hillary Chabot in today’s Boston Herald, civilian flaggers are earning just over $36 an hour, which is about $4 less than what the average state trooper earns when working a police detail. According to Chabot’s article, that rate is expected to increase $2 an hour in two years. All of the accolades Governor Patrick received, from the public and in the press for taking on the union establishment, were all exaggerated. The fact of the matter is Governor Patrick continues to make promises through his campaign style rhetoric and very rarely delivers. He vowed to take on the police unions and put civilian flaggers to work for the good of the taxpayers and yet here we find out that the state is saving very little if any by using civilians.

Our state needs to have a serious discussion about the prevailing wage here in Massachusetts. We are throwing precious dollars away by paying workers these exorbitant wages. We are absolutely in favor of fair wages, but Democrats in Massachusetts are taking that concept to the extreme. Just recently, we offered an amendment that would have required employees working on projects funded by federal stimulus money to be paid the federal prevailing wage. This effort would have allowed hundreds of millions of dollars to be used more efficiently. The proposal however, was overwhelmingly rejected by the Democrats in the House. It seems any Republican proposal that is good for business is bad for Democrats!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Representative deMacedo Set to Testify on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Bill


Representative Vinny deMacedo is set to testify today at a public hearing for his Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Bill. This critical bill is set to be heard at 1pm. The public hearing, for bills currently held by the Joint Judiciary Committee, will be heard in Gardner Auditorium at the State House.

House Bill 625, "An Act Relative to Mandatory Sentences for those committing an assault on a law enforcement officer," seeks to stop individuals from even thinking about firing at a police officer. Representative deMacedo says this bill's goal is to show a commitment from this Legislature that gun-fire directed at police will not be tolerated. The Plymouth Republican says there is simply zero tolerance for anyone convicted of this kind of behavior towards a police officer. With the passage of this bill, anyone who is convicted of firing at an officer will face at least 10 years in jail.

Testimony is expected to be heard from police officers and the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Hampshire Pulling out the Big Guns to Entice Massachusetts Companies Across Border

The Boston Herald has an interesting piece in its business section today highlighting efforts by New Hampshire to bring businesses from Massachusetts across state lines. New Hampshire, according to the article, “is now inviting 900 Massachusetts business owners to enter a contest with a grand prize of limousine service to a Big & Rich concert, complete with a VIP preconcert reception and backstage privileges.”

The legislative director of New Hampshire’s economic development division says the timing of the Massachusetts’ sales tax hike and this promotion is a coincidence, but you can’t fault the state for doing whatever they can to stimulate the economy. While New Hampshire is pulling out the big guns to increase business and productivity, Massachusetts, led by the efforts of Governor Patrick and the Democrats in the Legislature, appear to be doing all they can to crush Massachusetts’ economy while simultaneously helping New Hampshire’s. August 1st is just a little more than a week away, and when the sales tax increase goes into effect, the Granite State will likely see a bounce in business while Massachusetts will for sure see a slow down.

We can’t fault our neighbors to the north for doing what is in the state’s best interest. We can only hope the Democrats will quickly see the error of their ways.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Turnpike Sees Increase in Bond Rating

The soon to be dissolved Massachusetts Turnpike Authority got some good news this week, according to reports in the Boston Globe and by State House News Service, by avoiding a potential $270 million payment to UBS. Currently, UBS holds five of the Turnpike’s controversial “swaption” agreements, each of which could have been terminated by UBS if not for an upgrade in the Turnpike’s bond rating. Fortunately, legislation passed by the House and Senate was sufficient to convince Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s to upgrade the Pike’s rating. According to State House News Service, “The rating upgrade followed passage in the past week of two state laws, one dedicating $100 million in new revenues for a sales tax hike to turnpike bondholders and a second reinstating the state's credit behind the 2001 turnpike interest rate swap agreements that have threatened to blow up on the state.”

This is good news for the tollpayers, who certainly would have been on the hook; however, this mini-crisis certainly underscores the need to dissolve the Turnpike and start anew.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

The debate surrounding the funding of Governor Patrick’s Washington, D.C. office is like the gift that keeps on giving. No one is arguing that the Governor shouldn’t maintains some kind of presence in D.C. Instead, what Republican lawmakers would like to see happen is the Governor fund his office out of his administrative budget, like his predecessor did. However, Governor Patrick is either too arrogant or too out of touch to realize that his continual efforts to fund this office out of a separate line item is a slap in the face to taxpayers across the Commonwealth who are being asked to pay more in taxes while trimming their house budgets themselves.

It’s time for Governor Patrick to wake up and smell the fiscal crisis. While $400,000may not sound like a lot of money, every little bit helps. During Governor Patrick’s short tenure in office, he has expanded the scope of government, increased the state payroll significantly and signed a number of heaping new taxes into law. 2010 couldn’t come faster!

Click here to read today’s coverage of this issue in the Boston Herald.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Governor Patrick Finally Catching Up???

Is Governor Patrick finally catching on to the fact that we have underperforming schools in the Commonwealth or was the financial incentive of new money enough to push him over the edge when it comes to increasing the number of charter schools in Massachusetts?

Last week, Governor Patrick announced the state would be stepping up its efforts to increase the number of charter schools in the state. With new charter schools comes the possibility of new federal stimulus dollars. For 2 ½ years, Republican lawmakers and some of our Democratic colleagues have been calling for more charter schools but the Governor, who garners much support from the powerful teachers unions, would not support lifting the cap on charter schools. But now, Governor Patrick, seeing dollar signs, is moving forward with his plan to make charter schools more accessible in the state. Note to Governor Patrick, as usual, you are two steps behind the rest of us. We filed a bill this year that would target underperforming school districts for charter school expansion. It would also lower the annual financial burden of underperforming charter schools on their comparable sending district. In addition, we also filed a bill that would extend the time a charter school has before it has to be renewed from 5 to 7 years.

Democrats are constantly hailed as the champions of education, but while many of our colleagues, including Governor Patrick cater to the special interest groups, we choose to focus on providing the best quality of education to every student statewide.

Gratitude goes out to Governor Patrick and his team for finally catching up to the rest of us!

New Fiscal Year, Revenue Freefall Continues

State House News Service reported more grim news pertaining to the fiscal climate here in the Bay State late yesterday afternoon. According to State House News Service, "tax collections for the first 15 days of July fell $46 million compared to last July." While some economists are saying the Commonwealth has seen the worst of the recession, this data proves otherwise. We as a state, are not in the clear yet and we still have a long way to go before we begin to see improvement.

Unfortunately, the Fiscal Year 2010 budget is a deja vu of last year's budget. It is too dependent on new and increased taxes. That got us into a lot of trouble last year and will likely have the same effect as we move deeper into this fiscal year. There's been a lot of talk of reform this year and while we have made much progress in the state's transportation and pension systems, there is still much work to be done.

Republican lawmakers offered a number of cost savings measures this budget season that were unfortunately rejected. This will not deter us. We plan to continue offering innovative ways to save the state and taxpayers money. Hopefully, our Democratic colleagues will eventually realize that raising taxes, while a quick reaction, is not necessarily the right solution.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Republicans Work to Make Purchasing Mace, Pepper Spray an Easier Process

House Republicans, including Minority Leader Brad Jones and Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson, are working to make purchasing mace and pepper spray in easier process here in the state of Massachusetts.

Currently, in order to buy mace or pepper spray, interested parties must first apply for a Firearm Identification Card. According to an article in the Telegram and Gazette, “the application process includes a $25 fee, background check and fingerprinting.” The T & G says it can take up to a month to receive the FID card. Jones, Peterson and a dozen other lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would allow people to buy these items without a license.

Click here to read the T & G article in its entirety. If you have thoughts or concerns on this bill, feel free to contact the Republican Leadership Office.

Retailers Looking Out for Consumers, Say Beacon Hill is Sticking it to Taxpayers

Retailers in the Bay State are stepping up their efforts to entice shoppers to their stores prior to the August 1st increase of the state’s sales tax. In a Boston Globe article today, several retailers say they are looking out for consumers in the wake of Beacon Hill sticking it to taxpayers. Stores across the Commonwealth are slashing their prices and offering special deals to encourage Massachusetts shoppers to continue shopping here as opposed to heading north across the border into New Hampshire.

It is beyond sad and disappointing that retailers appear to be the only group that has the interest of taxpayers in mind. Governor Patrick and the Democratic-controlled legislature just don’t get it. They seem oblivious to the fact that local businesses and the Massachusetts economy on a whole are going to be hard hit by the August 1st sales tax hike. Unemployment will likely rise, revenue will continue to fall and the economies in New Hampshire and Rhode Island will benefit from this reckless sales tax increase. The Republican Caucus offered millions of dollars worth of reforms during the budget season. Most proposals were foolishly rejected and now taxpayers are paying the price for the irresponsible behavior of the Patrick Administration and our Democratic colleagues.

August 1st will be a sad day in Massachusetts and unfortunately the Democrats who supported the sales tax increase will have no one to blame but themselves. Hopefully, the voters will take note of who is looking out for them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hill Appears on Broadside with Jim Braude

House Minority Whip Brad Hill appeared on Broadside with Jim Braude last night. Hill along with Les Gosule, the father of Melissa Gosule, who was killed 10 years ago by a repeat offender, discussed the need to adopt a stronger version of Melissa's bill.

Click here to watch the full segment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jones: New Legislative Website Frustrating

House Minority Leader Brad Jones appeared in Joe Battenfeld's piece on Fox 25 tonight regarding the new legislative website which is proving to be a nightmare for constituents, legislative staff and legislators. The story, which was first reported by State House News Service, has garnered much feedback from the public who is finding it nearly impossible to track bills through the legislative process.

Click here to watch the story in its entirety.

Governor Patrick Grilled on Use of Federal Stimulus Money

Governor Patrick was in Washington, D.C. last week and during his trip he testified at a Congressional Hearing where he was questioned on his administration’s use of federal stimulus money. The video of this hearing, which was posted on You Tube, shows Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California) grilling Governor Patrick for using Massachusetts’ prevailing wage instead of the federal rate. The difference in the two rates is astronomical. In fact, Congressman Issa says the Patrick Administration is wasting close to $200 million worth of federal stimulus money.

You may recall last month, House Republicans offered an amendment that would have required the state to use the federal prevailing wage for projects funded by federal stimulus dollars. Unfortunately, we were unable to force a roll call because we didn’t have the support necessary to do so. Republicans continue to offer cost savings initiatives; however Democrats continue to reject them.

Click here to watch the full exchange between Issa and Patrick.

***Special thanks to the folks at Red Mass Group for contacting us regarding this video!

Jones Sits in For Governor Romney at Jindal Event


House Minority Leader Brad Jones recently had the opportunity to sit in for former Governor Mitt Romney at a Taj event in honor of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Jones hosted a roundtable discussion with Governor Jindal and a number of politicos, on a variety of issues including education, healthcare and the economy.

Governor Romney had planned on hosting the event but was unable to attend due to his wife’s birthday. Romney asked Jones to take his place and the Minority Leader says it was an honor to host the panel. Republicans from all over the state attended the event.

The photo above was provided by Amy Kelly Photography.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Representative Perry's Latest You Tube Video

Representative Jeff Perry, along with his Republican colleagues in the House and 27 Democrats recently rejected a reckless budget, as it was light on reform and heavy on taxes. The budget also harms local cities and towns, as well as public safety.

Disappointingly, 110 Democrats and the Governor approved it.

The misguided solution to the fiscal crisis was to increase taxes on sales, meals, telecommunications, alcohol, satellite television, hotel stays, nursing home residents and fees at the Registry.

To view Representative Perry's latest You Tube post, click here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Republicans: Business can’t be Conducted like This Anymore

Some disturbing news was reported by State House News Service this afternoon regarding the chaos surrounding today’s Judiciary Committee hearing where 227 bills were expected to be heard. Unfortunately, State House News Service is reporting that due to the overwhelming agenda, testimony is being cut short on some key public safety issues.

Today is a busy day on Beacon Hill to say the least. Not only are there several committee hearings going on all over the building, but the House and Senate are both in full formal sessions taking up some of Governor Patrick’s vetoes. The people of the Commonwealth and the issues being addressed in hearings deserve more; they deserve the full attention of the Legislature. Additionally, the bills and amendments being taken up on the House floor deserve equal attention. Business cannot continue to be conducted this way.

In 2007, Republican lawmakers offered two amendments in an effort to make the process of hearings smoother. The first would have prevented committee hearings from being scheduled during formal sessions unless the chair of the committee submits a written description of the emergency that necessitates such scheduling. This proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by our Democratic colleagues. In fact, not one Democrat joined with us in this effort and because no action was taken we are running into problems like those mentioned above.

The second amendment offered would designate a period of time, not exceeding one half-hour, during which time testimony from legislators would be heard at a public hearing. If members are not present during that given time, they would be placed on the list to speak like any other member of the public wishing to testify. This would have allowed more time for the public to give testimony and prevent the current practice of legislators testifying for extended periods of time during what is intended to be an effort to gather public input. Again, this amendment was not supported by a single Democrat.

Too many bills, too little time in a day and therefore the well-being of Massachusetts and its residents are being sacrificed in order to cram as much as possible into one day. We cannot continue down this path. Legislative proposals need time to be fully vetted. The people’s work is supposed to be done in a timely fashion, but not at the cost of the democratic process. It is the status quo on Beacon Hill and until our Democratic colleagues are willing to work with us and make the process more efficient, unfortunately more situations like the one we are encountering today will most likely happen again.

Democratic Epiphany: Massachusetts Isn’t Business Friendly

For quite some time, Republican lawmakers have been saying that Massachusetts is becoming less and less business friendly. Between last year’s corporate tax increase and this year’s dramatic hike in the state’s sales tax, Massachusetts is driving out potential investors and discouraging Commonwealth residents to open up local businesses. And now, some Democrats are catching up to where we’ve been for years!

According to a weekend article in the MetroWest Daily News, an international business lobby said “tax policy enacted last year punishes foreign companies, who have subsidies in the state by slapping such companies with taxes for investments in their Massachusetts outlets as well as normal business transactions like loans or royalty payments with such subsidiaries.”

Now, one of our Democratic colleagues is filing legislation that would make it easier for international companies to do business here. And there are more Democrats jumping on that bandwagon, saying we need to encourage businesses to come to our state.

Earlier this year, at least one major business group, the Organization for International Investment (OFII), advised its member companies to “suspend consideration of new investments and expansions in Massachusetts” because of the recent tax law changes. OFII represents over 150 U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-based companies, and its member companies currently employ over 173,000 people in Massachusetts, or nearly 6 percent of the Commonwealth’s private sector workforce.
Around the same time, House and Senate Republicans launched an effort to preserve Massachusetts jobs by repealing the $500 million corporate tax increase that took effect on January 1, 2009.

Twenty Republicans co-sponsored the legislation to repeal the tax increase and eliminate some of its more onerous provisions, including the new unitary combined reporting requirement. These tax changes impact many multi-state companies that are based outside of Massachusetts but employ nearly 40 percent of the state’s workforce.
Republican lawmakers have been trying to make Massachusetts a more business friendly state for a long time. Unfortunately, it has taken significantly longer for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to catch up.
Our corporate tax repeal bill was heard last week in a hearing, where it will go next is unknown at this time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hill to Appear on Michele McPhee

House Minority Whip Brad Hill will be appearing on The Michele McPhee Show tonight on 96.9 WTKK at 9pm to discuss the newest version of Melissa's Bill. “Melissa’s Bill” was filed in the memory of Melissa Gosule, a then-27-year-old teacher who, on July 11, 1999, was driving on Cape Cod when her car broke down and then accepted a ride from a stranger who offered to help. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Melissa, the man who offered to help her was a repeat offender who had served less then two years in jail for a combined 27 criminal convictions. It was the last time that Melissa was ever seen alive, and she was found eight days later in a shallow grave.

Click here to listen to the broadcast live online.

NH Governor John Lynch Looking out for Massachusetts Taxpayers!

Massachusetts taxpayers can all extend a warm thanks to Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire for looking out for them last week when he signed a bill into law that according to the Boston Herald, “shields Granite State retailers from having to collect and share information about purchases made by out-of-staters with the tax collectors from those states.”

It’s a good thing New Hampshire’s Governor is mindful of the burden Massachusetts taxpayers are facing, since Governor Patrick seems to be anxious to continue his tax and spend ways. As if a sales tax hike of 25% wasn’t bad enough, the Governor is still mulling a gas tax and a graduated income tax.

Governor Patrick just doesn’t get it. He continues to be oblivious to the everyday struggles of families and small businesses around the Commonwealth. Governor Patrick, his administration and the Democratic controlled Legislature are making Massachusetts a less attractive place to start a new business and to raise a family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hill Fighting to Strengthen Melissa's Bill

Testimony on a new version of “Melissa’s Bill” that targets the most dangerous, repeat offenders will be heard on Tuesday before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Minority Whip Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich), Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, and the family of Melissa Gosule announced today. The new version of the bill was filed this year, 10 years after the death of Melissa Gosule, in an effort to assure truth in sentencing for the most dangerous repeat offenders and to close significant loopholes that have allowed offenders to avoid just punishment for crimes that they have committed. It has already received bi-partisan support.

“Melissa’s Bill” was filed in the memory of Melissa Gosule, a then-27-year-old teacher who, on July 11, 1999, was driving on Cape Cod when her car broke down and then accepted a ride from a stranger who offered to help. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Melissa, the man who offered to help her was a repeat offender who had served less then two years in jail for a combined 27 criminal convictions. It was the last time that Melissa was ever seen alive, and she was found eight days later in a shallow grave.

Prompted by a visit from the Gosules shortly after Melissa’s death, and compounded by Massachusetts’ crime problem caused by repeat offenders, Hill decided to work with the Gosule family to file legislation that would further punish repeat offenders. This year, a new version of Melissa’s Bill has been filed by Hill with a number of revisions that address concerns previously expressed by legislators.

“A priority of the Legislature should be to ensure the safety of all the citizens of the Commonwealth from dangerous, habitual offenders and this Bill would do just that”, stated Hill.

Among the components of the bill include:

Expands the habitual offender statute to better target the most dangerous repeat offenders, establishing that the maximum punishment available by law shall be imposed for either a defendant’s third Superior Court felony conviction or a third conviction of a felony punishable by more than 10 years in prison.

Removes parole eligibility for those repeat offenders convicted under Melissa’s Law.

Removes a significant loophole by stating that state and federal convictions apply to the habitual offender statute. Currently, federal convictions are not included in the habitual offender statute.

Requires that sentences on new crimes committed during the pendency of a case shall run consecutively, eliminating the ability of defendants to agree to “package deals” and receive concurrent sentences for crimes committed while they are out on bail.

“We are fighting for this bill in memory of my sister and other victims like her,” Heidi Gosule, Melissa’s sister, said. “We are truly hopeful that this bill will pass in what is the tenth year since Melissa’s death and assure that victims will be better protected for years to come.”

Hill and Leone are hopeful that members of the Legislature will take a fresh look at this new bill in an effort to find common ground and pass a law that will honor Melissa’s memory and protect all citizens from these kinds of dangerous, repeat offenders.

After ten years of different versions of the Bill languishing in the Legislature, I can see no better way of honoring the memory of Melissa Gosule than passing this Bill in this Legislative Session, the tenth anniversary of her tragic death.” Hill added.

Please join the family, respected officials and guests at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14, outside the Garden of Peace adjacent to the McCormack Building and 100 Cambridge Street in Boston for a press conference regarding the bill. At the event, family and friends of Melissa Gosule will release 37 balloons - the age Melissa would be if she were alive today.

Following the press conference, members of Melissa Gosule’s family, Leone, Hill, and other officials are expected to testify before the Judiciary Committee. The hearing is expected to start at noon at the Gardner Auditorium.

For further information on this legislation, please contact Representative Hill’s office at (617-722-2100) or jody.tozier@hou.state.ma.us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Want to be a Civilian Flagger? No Criminal Background Check Required!

The Patrick Administration has been quick to criticize the MBTA following the May trolley crash which was driven by a 24 year old who did not have a clean driving record and who happened to be texting at the time of the accident. In fact just after the incident, Governor Patrick said the cash strapped MBTA needed to re-evaluate its hiring policies. Well Governor Patrick may want to put his money where his mouth is. According to a Boston Herald article, a man with at least 70 arrests on his criminal record was recently approved and trained by the state’s Executive Office of Transportation. In responding to this revelation, a spokesman for MassHighway said, “MassHighway takes its flagger program and public safety very seriously. We have just learned of this information and, if found to be true, we can assure you that the individual in question will never work on a MassHighway construction site.”

Probably would have been a good idea to review his background before spending state dollars training this person, don’t you think? Is it possible that even more criminals signed up for the well paying civilian flagman position?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Welcome Change: Charlie Baker Enters Governor’s Race


Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Charlie Baker has just announced he will be running for Governor in 2010 and the Republican Caucus enthusiastically welcomes him to the race. Voters will have a clear choice when they head to the polls next year as they evaluate the current administration’s record.

For the last 2 ½ years, Governor Deval Patrick and the Democratic-controlled Legislature have raised taxes dramatically making it harder to live and work in the Bay State, violated the public’s trust on numerous occasions not to mention they have practically depleted the rainy day fund. It is time for a change in the Corner Office and in the Legislature. Charlie Baker and other Republican candidates could potentially help restore a two party system in Massachusetts. Taxpayers are sick of the tax and spend mentality that continues to dig the state deeper into a hole as well as the continuous abuse of power.

Massachusetts Republicans want to lower your taxes, raise the ethical standards and make working and raising a family in the Bay State easier. A Republican in the Corner Office can help those goals become a reality.

Governor Hobnobbing in D.C., Revenue Free-fall in the Bay State

While Governor Patrick hobnobs in Washington, D.C., the fiscal free-fall continues here in the Bay State. According to a Boston Globe report, “June revenue fell nearly $260 million below the most recent projections.” It’s a good thing the Boston Globe got that information, because that is exactly where our caucus learned about the situation as well. The differences between Candidate Patrick and Governor Patrick are stark to say the least. Candidate Patrick promised transparency; Governor Patrick is anything but transparent. Candidate Patrick promised accountability, but Governor Patrick is out of town yet again while the revenue in the state he is supposed to be CEO of plummets.

Remember “Together We Can?” When Candidate Patrick picked that as his slogan, did he mean to say “Together We Cannot?” Governor Patrick talks a big game when it comes to transparent government yet we heard about the revenue free-fall from his Morrissey Boulevard office. Governor Patrick unlike Candidate Patrick isn’t interested in transparency. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Patrick set out to change Beacon Hill, yet Beacon Hill has changed him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Hamburger, Fries and a Whole Lot of Taxes!

Ordering a hamburger and fries at your local drive thru is going to start costing you a bit more after the meals tax increase goes into effect. The Boston Herald had an interested piece in their opinion section today examining the tax policies that left France’s restaurant industry crippled and ultimately forcing the country to significantly decrease its tax on sit down meals. The country had a 19.6% tax but was recently lowered to 5.5%. That’s right, France has a lower meals tax than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Today, Governor Patrick brushed off criticism that Massachusetts Democrats are tax and spend happy, but you know what they say; if the shoe fits, wear it. The Democratic-controlled Legislature will have some explaining to do when the already struggling restaurant business in Massachusetts experiences a sharp decline. The Republican Caucus voted against every single proposed tax increase because small businesses, families and individuals alike cannot afford to pay any more.

The moral of the story, reach out to your legislators, tell them how the decisions they are making are affecting your life. There is an incredible disconnect between most Democratic lawmakers and their constituents. Believe us, there may be a hunger for a Big Mac and fries, but there is no hunger for more taxes!

Patrick: Doesn’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Last week on The Capitol View, we discussed recent reports in the Boston Herald about expensive perks being handed out at two struggling state agencies, the Mass Pike and the MBTA. This week, the Boston Herald’s editorial page is taking issue with the pricey perks.

The editorial page says this should be a lesson to Governor Patrick who has been talking a big game lately regarding reform in Massachusetts, yet seems to be dropping the ball when it comes to tackling the low hanging fruit.

The state is sending a bad message to struggling Bay State residents when they hear about state employees traveling for free on the Mass Pike or getting a free T pass. While our taxpayers are struggling financially, the last thing they deserve or want to see, is their tax dollars providing a “free ride” to thousands of state employees.
Enough is enough. Governor Patrick needs to stop with the empty rhetoric and work on providing at least one of his campaign promises. He’s already dropped the ball on property tax relief, but doing away with pricey perks at the expense of hard-working taxpayers should be an easy reform that even he should be able to accomplish!

Monday, July 6, 2009

June Revenue Numbers Needed Before Taking up Budget Vetoes

The Department of Revenue will be releasing June’s tax collections in the next couple weeks and House Republicans are calling on the Democratic-controlled Legislature to allow enough time to review those numbers prior to taking up all of Governor Patrick’s vetoes. We anticipate June’s revenue numbers being lower than expected and with such a volatile economic climate, it is important to have all facts and figures on the table before making any decisions to sustain vetoes or to override them. Additionally, the budget vetoes don’t need to be addressed right away. In fact, we have until November; therefore we should wait and see how the next few months unfold so when we have a clearer picture of the fiscal outlook. Things may worsen, but we are hopeful to see some improvement in the economy. We should not rush to make such hasty decisions without knowing exactly what we are facing moving forward. If we address the Governor’s vetoes now, without having a better understanding of next year’s revenues, we could be forced to make more painful cuts later.

Now, more than ever, the Governor and the Legislature need to behave in a fiscally responsible manner. The tax and spend mentality will not lead us out of these dark days, but smart budgeting and planning can.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July


From all of us at The Capitol View, we hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday weekend. And on this day that celebrates the birth of our country, please be sure to keep our servicemen and women in your thoughts and prayers as thousands of Americans continue to fight for the very freedoms that our forefathers once envisioned for our country.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hargraves: View From the Hill

Representative Robert Hargraves recently released the following column.

When this paper hits the newsstand on Friday, I will be one of 32 Groton Minutemen speeding towards Philadelphia on a Buckingham bus to march in the Welcome America Parade on Saturday.

In these parades, I play the part of the parson, and my costume is made out of wool, complete with a cape. It can get quite hot, which I take as a token reminder of the hardships endured by those who passed before us to secure the freedoms and way of life we take so for granted today.

My group represents the militia from Groton who walked to Concord in dark and drizzle to confront the British at dawn at the Old North Bridge on April 19th, 1775. Our regiment consists of five drummers, several members who carry muskets, and several women.

This is only the second time the Groton Minutemen have participated in the 4th of July Parade in Philadelphia. We also participated in 1976 to kick off the Bi-Centennial Celebration of the founding of our country.

Geroge Brouillette deserves much of the credit for organizing this pilgrimage, along with our captain, Tommy McDowell of Ayer.

I use the word “pilgrimage” in an effort to pay homage to the place where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, and where it was ratified and signed on July 4, 1776 by the delegates sent from each of the original 13 colonies. By the way, there were five delegates from Massachusetts who committed treason (to Great Britain) by affixing their names to this revolutionary document: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and Elbridge Gerry. They all could have been hanged for their crime.

The parade will take us through Philadelphia’s Historic District, and this is hallowed ground to this student of history. At the time of the Revolution, Philadelphia was the second largest city (second only to London) in the British Empire; It also served as our first capital.

If I get hot while I’m marching, I will remember the heat endured by the soldiers on the battlefields and by the original delegates who endured the heat without the relief of air conditioning we will enjoy while there.

Ellen will be with me, and we are looking forward to touring the birthplace of our nation.

Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Freebies for Pike Employees, Really?

Given the current economic climate, the dysfunctional Mass Pike is the last agency that should have the audacity to hand out freebies to its employees, let alone its retirees.

According to a report in today’s Boston Herald, hundreds of Pike employees and retires drive on the toll road at no cost to them, but instead at a cost to the toll payers. More than one thousand Pike employees and a couple hundred retirees were given free transponders as a “perk.” Apparently, the freebies are a result of collective bargaining.

Taxpayers are about to get hit with $1 billion in new taxes, the fees at the RMV are about to climb and overall the cost of living is getting pricier by the day. Is now really the best time to be handing out freebies? We think not. This is one perk that has to go, and fast.

This is just another example in the laundry list that makes the general public doubt the capabilities of its state government to run efficiently. It is another instance of waste, inefficiency and patronage at its finest. The Mass Pike will soon be a thing of the past, but taxpayers and tollpayers are doubtful that anything will actually change or improve for the better. Governor Patrick and his administration have done nothing to rein in the mismanaged Mass Pike, and it is beyond time for him to step up to the plate and make the tough decisions. Throughout Governor Patrick’s tenure, he has constantly been two steps behind on every issue facing the Commonwealth. This is just another example of the Patrick Administration's’s slow response to a real problem and in this instance easy opportunities for reform.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Massachusetts Residents About to Get Hit Hard


By now, the majority of Massachusetts residents are well aware that in less than one month, the state’s sales tax will climb to 6.25%. However, it is unclear if all of those people know just how hard they are about to be hit compared to other states across the country.

According to a new report, Massachusetts is among the top six states planning on hitting residents with big tax hikes. Only three states rank higher on that list including; California, New York and Florida. To be in the like with a state like California, whose deficit is hovering at an astounding $25 billion, is a slap in the face to taxpayers across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts ranks 23rd in the nation, with a tax burden of 9.5%, the state, and is quickly returning to its “Taxachusetts” ways.

Click here to see what other states are facing.

Evangelidis: As I See It

Today, Representative Lewis Evangelidis had an As I See It column published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Representative Evangelidis tackles a number of issues including the state's FY10 budget, the need for real reform among other things.

Click here to read what Representative Evangelidis had to say.