FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chip Faulkner, communications director ―
Citizens for Limited Taxation calls on Governor Charlie
Baker to veto the Legislature’s arrogant pay grab, if for no
other reason than in a demand for transparency and
accountability. At the very least he should return it with
the judicial section separated from the other “adjustments.”
This legislative process, loosely defined, in pursuit of
self-aggrandizement and personal profit has been a sham.
The only transparency has been its clear and obvious motive.
It was only a week ago that the “Special, Temporary” Joint
Committee on Ways and Means held its sudden hearing. It was
“Special” and “Temporary” because anything
else would preclude its leaders and members from receiving
the soon-to-be-announced pay grab. The “Special, Temporary”
Committee resurrected and dusted off a two-year-old dormant
report and abruptly held a hearing on its recommendations
for “compensation adjustments.” The hearing was announced
just two days prior to it occurring, on last Thursday.
By stalling the appointments of committee chairmen, vice
chairmen, and others with a stake in its outcome prior to
the vote on this money grab bill it provided motivation for
support of it by rank-and-file members with personal
On Monday night the Senate amazingly released a 17-page pay
grab bill (S.16), the House its 18-page bill (H.58) filed
jointly by Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg.
Apparently neither of the documents took very long to write
― or had already been prepared in advance of the committee’s
recommendations, released on the same day.
No public hearings on the bill(s) were held prior to
passage. Obviously there was no time for such mundane
The preferred House bill, H. 58, doesn’t even pretend to
follow the “Special Commission’s” recommendations. The
Special Commission’s recommendations were projected to cost
“$934,343.” The cost of this pay grab is estimated to cost
over twenty times as much, $18 million.
An “emergency preamble” is attached to the bill, used when
legislation is “necessary for the immediate preservation of
the public peace, health, safety, or convenience” ―
convenience is noted in this case ― that of
legislators alone, not the public’s. This prevents any
repeal referendum from suspending the increases pending a
potential vote by the citizens.
But that ploy turns out to be unnecessary, except to collect
retroactive pay raises immediately, as the bill includes
salary increases for judges. Such an inclusion
constitutionally precludes a referendum repeal of the law by
the citizens of the Commonwealth. No reference to judicial
compensation whatsoever was made in the Special Commission’s
With such careful thought and consideration given to the
mechanics of this legislation, this certainly cannot be
unintentional. It is to insure that this pay grab is
referendum-proof, preventing any kind of citizen input
whatsoever, every step along the way, and beyond.
This obnoxious bill from inception to adoption blitzed
through the House in two days, blazed through the Senate a
day later ― likely an all-time speed record for such
controversial, consequential legislation.
Governor Baker should veto this abomination – or at the very
least return it with the judicial section separated from the
Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited
Taxation, concluded: “These cynical actions demonstrate
that when the leadership and enough beholding members in the
Legislature want something badly enough ― they just take it.
Disguising it as something at all legitimate required a
whole two days.”
Ford added: “There was little if any trickery and
manipulation that didn’t go into this shameless effort on
behalf of legislative leadership and others with much to
A Bill of Particulars
● Only two days between announcing the W&M Committee
hearing and the hearing.
● No public hearings on the actual pay grab bills.
● Ethics/conflict of interest standards were dodged by
stalling appointments of committee leaders prior to vote.
● An emergency preamble is attached preventing a repeal
referendum by the citizens from suspending the pay grab
until voters have their say.
● Pay hikes are made retroactive, and for current
Legislators just elected.
● The cost ($18 million) is over 20-times more than the
“Special Commission’s” cost projection.
● Includes pay hikes for judges, not a recommendation of
the “Special Commission” but constitutionally prevents a
repeal referendum by the citizens.
● Passed by the House in two days, the Senate a day later.
hoping this legislative money-grab is a one-day event, and
lawmakers focus on helping their constituents, instead of
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Push for Beacon Hill pay raises an unseemly grasp for
matter what size pay hike they settle on, lawmakers need to
slow down, allow ample time for the public to voice its
sentiments, and stipulate that any pay hike won’t take
effect until two years hence. If lawmakers don’t abide by
the appropriate process, Governor Charlie Baker should cast
a veto to stop any ill-considered rush for a raise.”
Boston Globe editorial
Friday, January 20, 2017
Lawmakers need to slow down their pay hike push
much for their size as for any other reason, these increases
portray an insulated legislature that has begun a new
session by thinking of themselves - after election season is
safely over. It's not the dollars attached but the
insensitivity of the timing that makes this disturbing.
“Massachusetts lawmakers may think their constituents think
differently than those elsewhere who voted for radical
government change. If they someday discover they were wrong,
they might remember this bill to understand why.”
Springfield Republican editorial
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Legislative raises tone-deaf to public mood
“Baker’s best option is a veto. In addition to being the
right thing to do, who knows, it might even breathe new
fiscally conservative life into the House and Senate two
years from now.”
Boston Herald editorial
Wednesday, January 25, 2017