The Lies and Broken Promises Continue

Our tax rollback of the "temporary" income tax increase has been assigned to the ballot as Question Four.

Vote YES on QUESTION 4 if you want to Keep the Promise!

You can now vote on Question 4 on Dick Morris's VOTE.COM website. If you want to cast your vote, go to the site and select MA from the state menu on the left. So far the total is:

Day 7, (July 20, 2000) 09:54 AM EST:

Total Votes: 2,007
Yes (1,416) - (71%)
No (591) - (29%)

Closing out the fiscal year, the Department of Revenue last week announced that, "revenues for FY2000 were $15.700 billion, up $1.409 billion or 9.9 percent from FY1999" (see news release). That's one-and-a-half-billion-dollars of over-taxation that we're talking about, over and above last year's record over-taxation surplus!

Yet the Gimme Lobby is still crying that we "can't afford a risky 'tax cut'"!

Gimme a break!

How about those sleazy Bacon Hill pols, slipping themselves yet another pay raise even after their vows to the contrary! They conned voters into adopting their constitutional amendment for automatic pay raises just so they'd "never have to vote on their own pay raises again"!

Just as we warned voters, if automatic pay raises for pols was carved into the constitution, the pols would simply find other ways to line their pockets. Their greed and behavior is just so darned predictable. Will voters ever learn?

Back in 1986, and again in 1994, we warned that if the Legislature's mandatory seat belt law was not repealed by the voters, it was only a matter of time before it became "primary enforcement" -- where a motorist could be pulled over just because the police thought you were not wearing a seat belt, and fined if they were correct.

"Oh no, never!" we were promised. "Secondary enforcement only!" the mandatory seat belt law zealots pledged. "You have to be stopped by the police for something else!"

The voters didn't buy it in 1986 and voted to repeal the law. In 1994, the voters weakened, they foolishly bought the promise and voted to keep the law.

As always -- ALWAYS! -- the pols' promise has been broken and the voters betrayed. As soon as the incrementalist figured that the public had sufficiently forgotten the promise and had adjusted enough to the further loss of personal freedom, they flipped us the bird again.

Some have asked if I'll fight the just-adopted new primary enforcement seat belt law, try to repeal it. Nope, not a chance. The voters decided in 1994, they chose to be patted on the head, kissed on the cheek, and buckled-up by Big Brother. They ignored our warnings and protestations. They've got the government they deserve - the very one we predicted.

They'll have to learn the hard way, when they start paying their fines -- fines which they could easily have avoided when they had the opportunity but chose to reject it.

One more prediction from the past that I continue to stand on: Within the next few years, failure to use a seat belt will count as a surchargeable offense against your auto insurance, raising your rate. It's the only-too-obvious next step, though again we're promised "never." Anyone want to bet against me?

In November -- at long last -- we have the opportunity and the means to MAKE the politicians keep AT LEAST ONE promise:

Vote YES on QUESTION 4 and KEEP THE PROMISE they have again and again thumbed their collective noses at while flipping us the bird.

Vote YES ON QUESTION 4 and -- just like the greedy Bacon Hill Cabal ... GIVE YOURSELF A PAY RAISE!!!

Chip Ford

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Lawmakers abandon pledge, hike pay
by Ellen J. Silberman

House members yesterday broke a 17-year-old pledge not to raise their own pay during an election year, padding their paychecks by as much as $12,000 a year.

Without even a roll-call vote, lawmakers changed their rules just long enough to give every member of the Legislature a $3,600 backdoor pay raise by doubling their office expense budgets. Lawmakers legally can pocket any expense money they don't use.

Lawmakers also doubled their "per diem" travel expenses, which could hike the pay of lawmakers who live far from the State House by another $9,000 a year. Lawmakers who live in the Boston area could pocket an extra $1,000 this year to cover travel expenses.

Rep. James Marzilli (D-Arlington), who tried and failed to force a roll-call vote on the rules change, called the raise "a travesty."

He was the only lawmaker in either chamber to speak publicly against the raise, which is retroactive to July 1. House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Haley (D-Weymouth) defended the expense increase saying lawmakers needed the twin hikes to pay for such new expenses as car phones.

Lawmakers put the extra cash in their own pockets as part of the $21.6 billion fiscal 2001 budget, which also makes changes to the state's special-education rules that could drop 30,000 children and save taxpayers as much as $157 million a year.

The contrast left some lawmakers wondering how the House leadership could abandon "children in wheelchairs" while padding their own pay checks.

The raises, which could cost taxpayers $1 million a year, come less than two years after voters approved a Constitutional amendment that automatically increases lawmakers' salaries every two years. If the economy continues to grow at the current rate, rank-and-file members will see their pay jump in January more than $3,000 to $49,000-a-year.

House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran (D-Mattapan) and Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham (D-Chelsea) could see their salaries soar to $85,000 a year in January.

Campaign finance reform advocates originally proposed padding the expense checks to help lawmakers abide by voluntary campaign spending limits that would effectively end the practice of using campaign funds to pay office expenses. But the advocates quickly backed away from the House-hatched plan to double office expenses without requiring any accounting -- or requiring lawmakers to abide by the spending limits to get the extra cash.

Internal House rules bar lawmakers from increasing their own compensation once it's too late for an opponent to file election papers. That deadline is long past and most lawmakers are running unopposed this fall. The Senate also approved the salary increases without debate.

Karen E. Crummy contributed to this report.

The Boston Herald
Wednesday, July 19, 2000
A Boston Herald editorial

No end to spending

Gov. Paul Cellucci is looking over the new state budget for items to veto. The place to start is education.

The budget increases funds for education by a whopping $425 million. Some is needed, like the doubling of special MCAS help to $40 million, or the additional $27 million for early childhood education.

The major extravagance is in regular no-strings aid to cities and towns, which the Legislature wants to increase by almost 7 percent ($187 million) to $2.948 billion. The governor should cut by $55 million, back to what he proposed.

With all the new special help they're getting, the cities and towns could find it hard to spend the regular checks. Yes, we know, the Legislature will override the governor's veto, just as it did last year, but that's no reason not to make the point that money is burning a hole in the Legislature's pocket.

Which is why we're disappointed that the budget drops the House-passed provision for cuts in the state income tax rate after 2002, tied to growth in personal income as the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation proposed. This could have served as a backup to the restoration of the 5 percent rate the governor is supporting in a ballot question this fall. Voters now have a greater incentive to pass it.

The governor should not lack targets for his pen. Among them is a raise for members of the Governor's Council from $15,600 a year to $25,000. For a job that takes about an hour a week, the councilors already make too much.

The new budget is 7 percent higher than the old one. It contains major initiatives that will be under constant pressure to grow. One is the new senior pharmacy program, whose initial $32 million outlay will more than triple within three years. Our Legislature still has to learn that trees do not grow to the sky.

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