CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gov vetoes pork-laden spending bills


Stressing a need for fiscal discipline and lashing into the state Legislature for drawing money from the state's rainy day fund for special projects in their districts, Gov. Mitt Romney Saturday vetoed $225 million from a pair of spending bills lawmakers sent him last week.

"First and foremost, they spend too much money," Romney said of the bills at a morning press conference at the State House, outlining his problems with the bills....

"If we withdrew $700 million from the rainy day fund, we would be putting Massachusetts on the road to ruin. We've been there before; we cannot go there again," he said. "It is fiscally unconscionable to spend rainy day money when record revenues are coming in our door."

State House News Service
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Romney vetoes $225 million from stimulus,
supplemental bills


Governor Mitt Romney, setting up an election-year battle with Democrats, yesterday vetoed $225 million from two Beacon Hill spending bills, eliminating dozens of pet projects, slashing pay raises for judges, and abolishing $10 million for research in the life sciences....

"If we drew $700 million from the rainy day fund, we would be putting Massachusetts on the road to ruin," Romney said at a State House press conference. "We've been there before. We cannot go there again."

But legislative leaders said the spending items had been crafted to boost the economy and respond to the needs of cities and towns. They bristled at Romney's suggestion that many of the local items represented wasteful spending. Democratic leaders, who control the House and Senate, vowed to muster the two-thirds support needed to turn back the vetoes.

The Boston Globe
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Romney vetoes $225m in spending
Democratic leaders vow to override cuts


Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday took a swipe at the Democratic-controlled Legislature by vetoing a pay hike for judges and so-called pet projects packed into two spending plans worth $600 million during a rare weekend State House ceremony.

The Boston Herald
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Mittís vetoes good for gazebos, bad for judges


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

Some time ago, when speaking with someone from the Romney administration, Barbara laid down CLT's strategy for dealing with the retroactive capital gains tax, or any of our issues.  She said that a strategy of doing the right thing for the right reason can never go wrong.  Barbara was correct, and the retroactive capital gains tax was repealed.

Governor Romney has vetoed much of the pork-spending in the Legislature's over-bloated budget, for all the correct reasons.  It won't go wrong either -- though his veto might well be overridden in a Democrat-controlled Legislature.  All one can do is the right thing for the right reason and hope for the best.

If the Legislature is intent on spending the state into its next "fiscal" crisis again, there is little that can be done but to elect a new Legislature in November.  The pickings might be slim, but we can still send a message where some of us have an option on our ballot.

Chip Ford


State House News Service
Saturday, June 24, 2006

Romney vetoes $225 million from stimulus,
supplemental bills
By Gintautas Dumcius


Stressing a need for fiscal discipline and lashing into the state Legislature for drawing money from the state's rainy day fund for special projects in their districts, Gov. Mitt Romney Saturday vetoed $225 million from a pair of spending bills lawmakers sent him last week.

"First and foremost, they spend too much money," Romney said of the bills at a morning press conference at the State House, outlining his problems with the bills.

Both chambers approved the $302 million capital supplemental and $437 million economic stimulus bills last week.

Romney said he respected their efforts, but the various projects would take $256 million out of the $1.7 billion stabilization fund, Romney said.

When combined with the bills lawmakers are considering in both chambers for the budget, the withdrawal from the reserve account would total $700 million, bringing the fund's total down to $1 billion, he said.

"If we withdrew $700 million from the rainy day fund, we would be putting Massachusetts on the road to ruin. We've been there before; we cannot go there again," he said. "It is fiscally unconscionable to spend rainy day money when record revenues are coming in our door."

Romney also reduced raises for judges, judicial clerks, and sheriffs to 4.1 percent, down from the 15 percent, and vetoed a historic rehabilitation income tax credit, which would have allowed a cap of $50 million, up from $15 million, for developers to rehabilitate old buildings. The tax credit would have cost the state $44 million a year, Romney said.

"We have to show fiscal restraint," Romney said of judges' raises, adding that he has not had any judges withdraw over pay. The 4.1 percent raise is a "good increase," he said.

Among the vetoes in the 40-page packet handed out to reporters: $10 million for a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth life sciences research center, $5 million for a downtown Quincy revitalization initiative, a $150,000 University of Massachusetts study of the winter moth, $100,000 for a Braintree gazebo, and $200,000 for Victorian street lighting in Melrose.

And with private universities, other states, and the private sector were already investing hundreds of millions - and sometimes billions - of dollars in the life sciences field, spending the money on a life sciences center "doesn't make sense," Romney said.

"No one can argue with life science research generally," he said, but $10 million is a "drop in the ocean compared to the investment already being made here."

House Ways and Means Chairman Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), who said he hadn't seen the individual vetoes, called the projects in the cities and towns "long-overdue."

"We're mindful of the spending issues that have been raised by the governor," said DeLeo, noting that both he and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi (D-Boston) have recommended the expected surplus revenues this year be placed into the stabilization fund, to replace what would get taken out in the spending bills and the budget.

"We're still working on the budget aspect," DeLeo said.

Lawmakers plan to release the conference committee report on a $25.4 billion budget this week.

Last week, a DeLeo aide said Administration and Finance Secretary Thomas Trimarco had overinflated the amount the two spending plans withdrew from reserves. Legislators were actually only using $120 million from the fund, DeLeo chief of staff James Eisenberg said.

Sen. Therese Murray (D-Plymouth), chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, could not be reached for comment.

Romney also signed into law $55 million in cash and bonds for the Longwood medical area and Kenmore Square, and $100 million for the University of Massachusetts and other state colleges and universities. Of that, $50 million will go to help repair the deteriorating infrastructure - a garage that holds up most of the campus's buildings - at UMass Boston.

The Longwood-Kenmore plan has drawn criticism for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, but Romney called it a sound investment.

"This is something which our Department of Transportation feels would be very helpful to moving people in and out of the area and also helpful to create additional jobs in the critical Longwood area," Romney said of the cash and bonds.

Romney also approved $1.5 million in the economic stimulus bill for an "In-State Sales Force," which would market Massachusetts to companies across the country, and $200 million in bonds, with $100 million slated to go towards a fund under the Executive Office of Economic Development.

"As you may recall, this is something I've asked for, I believe, each of the last three years, and I'm delighted the next governor will have a sales force," he said..

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The Boston Globe
Sunday, June 25, 2006

Romney vetoes $225m in spending
Democratic leaders vow to override cuts
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff


Governor Mitt Romney, setting up an election-year battle with Democrats, yesterday vetoed $225 million from two Beacon Hill spending bills, eliminating dozens of pet projects, slashing pay raises for judges, and abolishing $10 million for research in the life sciences.

The cuts were extensive and statewide, including $8.3 million for substance abuse treatment and $1.5 million for grants to community health centers, as well as smaller local projects, such as $200,000 to install Victorian-style street lights in Melrose and $100,000 to build a gazebo on Sunset Lake in Braintree. Romney said the state could not afford to fund all of the items, some of which he called "pure pork," by tapping into the state's $1.7 billion stabilization fund, as the Legislature had proposed. Together with two other spending bills currently pending in the Legislature, the total hit to the fund would be $700 million, he said.

"If we drew $700 million from the rainy day fund, we would be putting Massachusetts on the road to ruin," Romney said at a State House press conference. "We've been there before. We cannot go there again."

But legislative leaders said the spending items had been crafted to boost the economy and respond to the needs of cities and towns. They bristled at Romney's suggestion that many of the local items represented wasteful spending. Democratic leaders, who control the House and Senate, vowed to muster the two-thirds support needed to turn back the vetoes.

"We're not going to be afraid in terms of overriding any of these items we feel are necessary and in the best interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- as many as we feel are necessary," said Representative Robert A. DeLeo , chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, speaking by phone yesterday. "The month of July is going to be `Veto Override Month' here in the Legislature."

Romney singled out several examples of spending he said were either irresponsible or the result of political favoritism. He eliminated $150,000 for a University of Massachusetts study of the winter moth, which feeds on maples, oaks, crab apples, and other trees. He cut $4 million for a study of the internal combustion engine, $250,000 for the Hopkinton Athletic Association, and $75,000 for the Hyannis Athletic Association.

"There is highly discriminatory spending going on," Romney said. "Favorite sons are being cared for."

Chuckling at the Melrose lighting project, he said: "I think Victorian street lighting is delightful, and I'm sure Melrose would benefit from it. But I don't understand why the state of Massachusetts should select one city or town for Victorian street lighting and not all the rest."

Republican governors routinely eliminate such local items, deriding them as Beacon Hill boondoggles. But yesterday, Democrats cast Romney's vetoes as the actions of a governor so focused on presidential ambitions that he has lost touch with local cities and towns.

"He's been to Kuwait City more than he's been to North Adams," said Representative Daniel E. Bosley , a North Adams Democrat, who was upset that Romney had vetoed $50,000 for the Mohawk Theater in North Adams. "I just don't think he understands how these kinds of things stimulate the local economy."

Romney also cut proposed pay raises for judges, court clerks, and sheriffs from 15 percent to 4.1 percent, a reduction he said would make the raises consistent with those given to elected officials such as the state treasurer and state auditor. He slashed a tax credit proposed to spur the rehabilitation of dilapidated buildings from $50 million to $15 million, saying the state could not afford the cost. And he abolished $10 million for life sciences research, because private firms and universities spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on such research.

Even as Romney issued vetoes yesterday, he also signed into law $630.5 million in spending approved by the Legislature as supplements to the $25 billion budget for fiscal 2006. Among the items approved were $100 million for construction projects at the University of Massachusetts and state and community colleges, $55 million for road and bridge projects statewide, and $55 million to improve transportation near Fenway Park, a measure sought by the Red Sox. That provision will allow the state to refurbish commuter rail and subway stations around Kenmore Square, improve the rotary between Fenway Park and the hospitals, and install new traffic lights on several surrounding streets.

"Many of the provisions which have been brought forward by the Legislature are ones which I requested and therefore appreciate," Romney said.

"Others are, in some cases, as good or perhaps better than some of those I put forward; I appreciate those, as well."

Lawmakers have not set a date to debate Romney's vetoes, but Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos , a Lowell Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said they were eager to get started.

"There was wide support to get these projects through," Panagiotakos said, "and I think there will be wide support in overriding the vetoes.".

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The Boston Herald
Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mittís vetoes good for gazebos, bad for judges
By Laura Crimaldi


Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday took a swipe at the Democratic-controlled Legislature by vetoing a pay hike for judges and so-called pet projects packed into two spending plans worth $600 million during a rare weekend State House ceremony.

The spending vetoes, which total $225 million, could easily be overridden by lawmakers, some of whom criticized Romney for returning to Boston from an out-of-state trip to nix funds set aside for local projects.

"If he took a little more time learning about our cities and towns he may have a different view, instead of saying none of these projects are necessary," said state Rep. Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop), chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Among the governorís vetoes were $150,000 for a UMass study of the winter moth, $250,000 for the Hopkinton Athletic Association, $100,000 for a gazebo on Sunset Lake in Braintree and $4 million to research the "efficiency" of the internal combustion engine, according to a written statement from Romneyís office.

"The winter moth has decimated trees along the coast," said state Sen. Therese Murray (D-Plymouth), chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "Maybe in Belmont he doesnít have the winter moth, but we have it in southeastern Mass. Thatís tourism. Thatís our economy. Thatís our cranberry crop and our farmers."

Romney also reduced a 15 percent pay raise given to judges to a more modest 4.1 percent pay hike.

He did approve $55 million in for infrastructure "improvements" in the Longwood and Kenmore Square sections of Boston, including areas around Fenway Park.

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