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CLT UPDATE
[Friday, February 17, Year]

Happy Birthday Barbara!

DeLeo reverses tax hikes again "off the table"


These hacks on Beacon Hill are utterly out of control. And now the last fig leaf is gone — the payroll patriots have finally started talking about tax increases to support their cash jones.

Have they no shame? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

This tax talk is a trial balloon, except that trial balloons are usually sent up when the payroll Charlies suspect that their scheme could be shot down. Who’s going to stop these tax hikes? The RINO governor, Charlie “Tall Deval” Baker? Get serious.

Tall Deval is part of the cabal. This is like the old Winter Hill Gang. Zip Connolly was the FBI agent who was supposed to keep tabs on serial killers Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, but they owned him. They made Zip come crawling to them when he needed cash....

This was proposed by state Sen. Mark Montigny of New Bedford, who under the new rules just scored $50,000 in pay increases — as “assistant majority leader” he went from an extra $15,000 to $35,000, plus his stipends for being chairman of two phony-baloney committees, Senate Rules and Senate Joint Rules, each doubled from $7,500 to $15,000....

So now to add up the votes, the Senate has a president, a president pro tem, a majority leader, three assistant majority leaders, a majority whip and two assistant majority whips.

What exactly are all these hacks counting, other than their own ill-gotten gains? Everybody’s going to vote the way they’re told to, if they don’t want to lose their own extra $20,000-$50,000.

All power in the Legislature is centralized now. The committee chairmen have no clout whatsoever. So each committee must now have a “vice chairman” to help the “chairman” with his arduous non-duties. That way, they’ve created another “leadership” position that they can use as a payoff.

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
First pay hike, then a tax hike – surprised?
By Howie Carr


Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo yesterday said he would not push any “broad-based” tax hikes, just days after his refusal to rule them out drew heavy flak in the wake of the controversial multimillion-dollar pay raise package lawmakers awarded themselves.

“Those aren’t going to be part of the House budget,” DeLeo told reporters yesterday, clarifying that any “broad-based” proposals to raise the sales tax or income tax “will not be included.”

DeLeo, who has repeatedly pledged no new taxes in past budget cycles, has for months left them on the table for the next fiscal year, including on Monday when he said he was “not ruling out the possibility of any increase in taxes.”

Those words drew fire after he and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg rapidly passed the bill that hiked their pay by nearly 50 percent to $142,500, as well as the pay of dozens of other legislative leaders, the state’s constitutional officers and judges.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, February 16, 2017
DeLeo walks back talk of new taxes


One additional state senator will be able to take home an extra $35,000 in pay after the Senate on Monday voted during a lightly attended informal session to expand its already saturated leadership ranks.

The move came less than two weeks after lawmakers overrode Gov. Charlie Baker's veto of an $18 million pay raise package that included significant stipend increases for legislative leaders, along with sizeable raises for judges and the state's six constitutional officers.

After holding its session open for hours, the Senate late Monday afternoon adopted an order allowing Senate President Stanley Rosenberg to name an additional assistant majority whip. The Senate's rules now charge the president with nominating committee chairs, a majority leader, up to three assistant majority leaders, a majority whip, two assistant majority whips and a president pro tempore.

There are 34 Democrats in the 40-seat Senate and they all are expected to hold one or more leadership or committee chair assignments.

State House News Service
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Senate adds one more leadership post, with a $35,000 stipend


The state Senate has added a second assistant majority whip position that’ll let another lucky Democratic member pull down a $35,000 leadership stipend — riling Republicans and government watchdogs who called the new post a “taxpayer-funded gift” to political insiders.

The move to create the new position, which has yet to be assigned to a senator for this legislative session, will add $35,000 to a member’s $62,500 base salary — and comes less than two weeks after an $18 million boost for leadership stipends following Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto was overridden by House and Senate majorities.

“It’s hard to believe that Democrats could top the level of deceit they achieved when they rushed this pay hike through with barely any public debate,” Massachusetts GOP spokesman Terry MacCormack said. “But the Senate president has done just that, with this underhanded move to retroactively add another Democrat to the insider crew that will benefit the most from this taxpayer-funded gift.”

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
New plum Senate position ridiculed as ‘taxpayer-funded gift’ by critics


Fresh from their triumphal override of the governor’s veto of that $18 million pay raise bill, the Massachusetts Senate decided to cut in one more of its members on the gravy train.

The Senate voted Monday to create one more assistant majority whip, meaning an additional $35,000 pay boost on top of the base pay of $62,547 and bringing the total number of Senate Democratic “leaders” to nine for the 34 Democrats in the upper branch (that doesn’t count committee chairs who also get a whopping raise).

Of course, the not-so-dirty-little secret is that no one in the Senate really has to be “whipped” into voting the leadership’s way. They follow meekly — already bought and paid for.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Editorial:  Send in the ‘leaders’


The Baker administration is abandoning efforts to change or eliminate a tax credit for films made in the Bay State after unsuccessfully trying for the past two years.

The tax credit, available to productions that set up shop in Massachusetts, had been a target of the Baker administration in each of the past two years, but ran into stiff opposition from the film industry and never passed the Legislature.

The tax credit is a 25-percent rebate originally established in 2006 if productions spend more than $50,000 in the state.

A report released at the beginning of the year commissioned by the Department of Revenue found the state only received 75 cents back for every dollar it gave in tax credits in 2014, the most recent data available. The author of the report called the tax credit “a bum deal” at the time....

In 2015, Baker proposed scrapping the credit altogether and using the money to expand the earned income tax credit, and in 2016 proposed new limitations. Neither was passed by the Legislature.

The credit has helped attract high-profile films to the Bay State, including “Manchester by the Sea” and “Black Mass.” The studio producing “Manchester by the Sea” received $1.38 million in rebates and the studio that made “Black Mass” received $12 million.

The Boston Herald
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Gov. Charlie Baker abandons effort to repeal movie tax credit


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

Today would have been Barbara Anderson's 74th birthday, if she hadn't passed away last April and handed off the taxpayer advocacy baton to us.  I'm sure she'd have appreciated House Speaker DeLeo's abrupt reversal on "broad-based" tax hikes.
 
I'm equally confident that Gov. Baker also appreciates not having to confront the Speaker-for-Life over any tax increases, or worse, wearing tax hikes around his neck when he runs for re-election next year.
 
It would seem that Speaker-for-Life DeLeo quickly came to his senses after a wave of opprobrium crested above him following his callous comment on tax hikes, which followed immediately on the heels of the Legislature's obscene pay grab.  He backstroked fast, at least for now.
 
House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg have handed out the recently plundered graft to their toadies.  This week they named those "leaders" who will (retroactively) be rewarded for unfailing sycophancy and unquestioned fealty to their lords.  When there wasn't sufficient positions to further spread the taxpayer plunder, Sen. Rosenberg simply created a new one out of thin air.

House and Senate "Leadership" Assignments/Pay Hikes

House "Leaders" and Committees Senate "Leaders" and Committees
The Boston Herald reported:  "The studio producing 'Manchester by the Sea' received $1.38 million in rebates and the studio that made 'Black Mass' received $12 million."  Just those two productions alone "cost" the state over $13 million in "foregone revenue."  That's the very reason the traditional "sales tax-free weekend" was rejected last year:  the alleged "cost" to the state of "foregone revenue" it wouldn't receive.  Tax cuts for Hollywood moguls, good; tax cuts for state taxpayers, no can do.
 
Repealing the unproductive film tax credit could pay for the Legislature's unproductive, obscene pay grab, instead of it being extracted from taxpayers.  But they'd prefer rewarding the likes of Casey Affleck and Johnny Depp more than mere taxpayers like us, "the forgotten men and women."
 

Chip Ford
Executive Director


 
The Boston Herald
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

First pay hike, then a tax hike – surprised?
By Howie Carr


House Speaker Bob DeLeo had the operation on his stomach to take away his appetite — for food, that is.

His craving for taxpayer dollars, on the other hand, has gone totally out of control. He keeps gorging and gorging and gorging himself. He’s a greedy glutton for gelt.

He burps and he belches and then he grabs another wad of our cash with his hands and stuffs it into his bulging cheeks. Mistah Speakah can’t help himself, nor can his counterpart in the Senate, President Stanley Rosenberg.

It’s not so much an eating disorder as a stealing disorder. What’s going on right now at the State House is a full-blown epidemic of kleptomania.

These hacks on Beacon Hill are utterly out of control. And now the last fig leaf is gone — the payroll patriots have finally started talking about tax increases to support their cash jones.

Have they no shame? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

This tax talk is a trial balloon, except that trial balloons are usually sent up when the payroll Charlies suspect that their scheme could be shot down. Who’s going to stop these tax hikes? The RINO governor, Charlie “Tall Deval” Baker? Get serious.

Tall Deval is part of the cabal. This is like the old Winter Hill Gang. Zip Connolly was the FBI agent who was supposed to keep tabs on serial killers Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, but they owned him. They made Zip come crawling to them when he needed cash.

At the State House, DeLeo and Rosenberg are Whitey and Stevie, and Tall Deval is Zip, the crooked cop who does what he’s told. Tall Deval is keeping tabs on them all right, wink-wink nudge-nudge.

This was proposed by state Sen. Mark Montigny of New Bedford, who under the new rules just scored $50,000 in pay increases — as “assistant majority leader” he went from an extra $15,000 to $35,000, plus his stipends for being chairman of two phony-baloney committees, Senate Rules and Senate Joint Rules, each doubled from $7,500 to $15,000.

This, by the way, is the same Montigny whose name figured prominently in the 2014 federal corruption trial involving the Probation department. He got his girlfriend, who was 22 years younger than him, a hack job as a probation officer. Her prior job: part-time drawbridge operator.

So now to add up the votes, the Senate has a president, a president pro tem, a majority leader, three assistant majority leaders, a majority whip and two assistant majority whips.

What exactly are all these hacks counting, other than their own ill-gotten gains? Everybody’s going to vote the way they’re told to, if they don’t want to lose their own extra $20,000-$50,000.

All power in the Legislature is centralized now. The committee chairmen have no clout whatsoever. So each committee must now have a “vice chairman” to help the “chairman” with his arduous non-duties. That way, they’ve created another “leadership” position that they can use as a payoff.

As for DeLeo, the former fatty who recently had the bariatric procedure — I’m not sure if he had what’s called the sleeve, or whether it was a gastric bypass.

Gastric bypass, huh? Whatever it was, it worked. Too bad DeLeo didn’t also get the greed bypass. The gastric bypass is good for your blood pressure, the greed bypass for your soul.

Assuming, of course, that any of them up there actually have souls.

You can now pre-order Howie’s new book, “Kennedy Babylon,” at his website, howiecarrshow.com.
 

The Boston Herald
Thursday, February 16, 2017

DeLeo walks back talk of new taxes
By Matt Stout


Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo yesterday said he would not push any “broad-based” tax hikes, just days after his refusal to rule them out drew heavy flak in the wake of the controversial multimillion-dollar pay raise package lawmakers awarded themselves.

“Those aren’t going to be part of the House budget,” DeLeo told reporters yesterday, clarifying that any “broad-based” proposals to raise the sales tax or income tax “will not be included.”

DeLeo, who has repeatedly pledged no new taxes in past budget cycles, has for months left them on the table for the next fiscal year, including on Monday when he said he was “not ruling out the possibility of any increase in taxes.”

Those words drew fire after he and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg rapidly passed the bill that hiked their pay by nearly 50 percent to $142,500, as well as the pay of dozens of other legislative leaders, the state’s constitutional officers and judges.

DeLeo made the comments yesterday after emerging from a lengthy, two-hour caucus where House Democrats focused on responding to policies from President Trump.

Amid several questions about the White House, DeLeo’s spokesman coaxed the Winthrop Democrat to address the tax question.

It’s likely the House budget, like the proposal of Gov. Charlie Baker, will include at least some new taxes, including those on short-term rentals, such as Airbnb. DeLeo also pointed to Baker’s proposed $2,000 per-employee fee on companies whose healthcare don’t meet certain criteria, though it’s unclear if separate proposals could emerge from the House.

“I would say this budget was a little more complicated,” DeLeo said.

The House is expected to release its full proposal this spring.

While not offering specifics, DeLeo also said that pushing back against Trump at the state level will be a priority for him this session.

“They (Democratic lawmakers) want to see action and a statement to our constituents that we hear their concerns, we don’t agree with what’s going on with the Trump administration and we here in Massachusetts, to the best of our power, are going to do something about it,” DeLeo said.


State House News Service
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Senate adds one more leadership post, with a $35,000 stipend
By Katie Lannan

One additional state senator will be able to take home an extra $35,000 in pay after the Senate on Monday voted during a lightly attended informal session to expand its already saturated leadership ranks.

The move came less than two weeks after lawmakers overrode Gov. Charlie Baker's veto of an $18 million pay raise package that included significant stipend increases for legislative leaders, along with sizeable raises for judges and the state's six constitutional officers.

After holding its session open for hours, the Senate late Monday afternoon adopted an order allowing Senate President Stanley Rosenberg to name an additional assistant majority whip. The Senate's rules now charge the president with nominating committee chairs, a majority leader, up to three assistant majority leaders, a majority whip, two assistant majority whips and a president pro tempore.

There are 34 Democrats in the 40-seat Senate and they all are expected to hold one or more leadership or committee chair assignments.

Leadership and committee chair assignments could come after House and Senate lawmakers gather for private caucuses this week.

The assistant whips will receive a $35,000 stipend on top of their base pay of $62,547, a Rosenberg spokesman confirmed Tuesday. Assistant leaders receive the same amount, which was increased from $15,000 under the pay raise law.

The president pro tempore will receive a $50,000 stipend, with the majority and minority leaders receiving $60,000.

When he vetoed the raises, Baker called it "fiscally irresponsible to increase compensation for elected officials given the current fiscal outlook for the state."

Representatives can collect one stipend on top of their base pay, while senators are capped at three.
Sen. Mark Montigny, who chairs a Temporary Rules Committee, offered the order amending the rule that deals with leadership and committee appointments to allow for two assistant majority whips.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport served as assistant majority whip for most of last year. Sen. Ken Donnelly had previously held the post and moved up to become majority whip after Anthony Petruccelli resigned from the Senate.


The Boston Herald
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New plum Senate position ridiculed as ‘taxpayer-funded gift’ by critics
By Brian Dowling


The state Senate has added a second assistant majority whip position that’ll let another lucky Democratic member pull down a $35,000 leadership stipend — riling Republicans and government watchdogs who called the new post a “taxpayer-funded gift” to political insiders.

The move to create the new position, which has yet to be assigned to a senator for this legislative session, will add $35,000 to a member’s $62,500 base salary — and comes less than two weeks after an $18 million boost for leadership stipends following Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto was overridden by House and Senate majorities.

Paul Craney of the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance said, “The only place this doesn’t sound ridiculous is in the State House.”

“The workload hasn’t changed from last year,” Craney said. “They tell you they have your backs, but they really have their hands in your pockets.”

The Senate voted to let Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg name an additional assistant majority whip on Monday.

The 40-seat Senate is dominated by 34 Democrats, and all are expected to draw stipends with one or more leadership or committee chair assignments.

“It’s hard to believe that Democrats could top the level of deceit they achieved when they rushed this pay hike through with barely any public debate,” Massachusetts GOP spokesman Terry MacCormack said. “But the Senate president has done just that, with this underhanded move to retroactively add another Democrat to the insider crew that will benefit the most from this taxpayer-funded gift.”


The Boston Herald
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gov. Charlie Baker abandons effort to repeal movie tax credit
By Jordan Graham


The Baker administration is abandoning efforts to change or eliminate a tax credit for films made in the Bay State after unsuccessfully trying for the past two years.

The tax credit, available to productions that set up shop in Massachusetts, had been a target of the Baker administration in each of the past two years, but ran into stiff opposition from the film industry and never passed the Legislature.

The tax credit is a 25-percent rebate originally established in 2006 if productions spend more than $50,000 in the state.

A report released at the beginning of the year commissioned by the Department of Revenue found the state only received 75 cents back for every dollar it gave in tax credits in 2014, the most recent data available. The author of the report called the tax credit “a bum deal” at the time.

It has also been criticized for being transferable — meaning it can be sold for cash to other entities — and for primarily benefiting out-of-state interests.

In a statement, a Baker spokesman said its fiscal 2018 budget is “fiscally responsible,“ and did not specifically mention the film tax credit.

“The administration files fiscally responsible budgets each year that are balanced and invest in the core priorities of the administration,” Baker spokesman Brendan Moss said.

Although Baker’s new budget doesn’t touch the tax credit, it doesn’t signify a change in opinion on its merits.

In 2015, Baker proposed scrapping the credit altogether and using the money to expand the earned income tax credit, and in 2016 proposed new limitations. Neither was passed by the Legislature.

The credit has helped attract high-profile films to the Bay State, including “Manchester by the Sea” and “Black Mass.” The studio producing “Manchester by the Sea” received $1.38 million in rebates and the studio that made “Black Mass” received $12 million.

The Massachusetts Production Coalition will create a mock film set today in the Great Hall of the State House aimed at showing lawmakers the impact of film productions in Massachusetts. The fake set will include everything from craft services to lighting in an attempt to show how far-reaching the film industry can be.

Although there is no effort to eliminate or change the tax credit, the MPC is trying to get ahead of any future attempts, according to spokesman Andrew Farnitano, who said, “The idea is to give people at the State House a firsthand look at all the different jobs and businesses involved in the film industry in Massachusetts.”

 

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