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CLT&G Update
Tuesday, June 2, 1998

Greetings activists and supporters;

Today the state Senate begins debating its version of next year's $19.5 billion state budget. The one dependable voice for the taxpayers, Sen Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth), will again be leading the lonely charge against all odds.

Sen. Hedlund today will again fight against the obscene raid on the "rainy day" stabilization fund (which earned him the CLT&G Activist News "Hero of the Month" award in the May '97 issue).

This year, he has proposed a simple and straightforward amendment to an inevitable raid on the Legislature's slush-fund: No more backroom deals.

Before the "rainy day" fund -- which will likely be more than a $1 billion slush-fund if House Speaker Finneran has his way, and when doesn't he? -- can be spent, the raid must be filed as a separate bill and have a public hearing.

That's it. Plain and simple. So why does he have so little support -- even among his colleagues in the minority party?

You don't suppose they know something they're not telling us about, now do you?

Hey, maybe they'll PROMISE us they won't touch it without first justifying the need to us -- after all, we'll have a "new" Legislature of all the same Good Ole Boys and Girls -- who then won't have to keep the PROMISE made by a "previous" Legislature!

[We're learning, Mr. Speaker! You advised us to never "attach legitimacy to a comment made in the hall, in a hearing, or even on the House floor," so we'll never again trust a legislator's good intentions, right, Mr. Speaker? You have convinced us that all of you will lie through your teeth whenever it serves your best interests, and that we're fools if we believe. We thank you for that hard lesson and are putting it to good use.]

Do you wonder why Sen. Bob Hedlund is one of only three in the Senate who does not receive extra "bonus" pay? His obstinate integrity and defense of the taxpayers is even an obstacle, an embarrassment, to his fellow "Republican" senators, the "loyal" opposition -- too often loyal first to the Beacon Hill Cabal!

In addition, the Boston Herald article, which follows our memo (below), reports that Sen. Hedlund once again is also taking on the "Finneran's Favorites" pay raises.

Will we see any support for Sen. Bob Hedlund's efforts -- even from his six "Republican" Beacon Hill colleagues? Stay tuned . . . we'll let you know tomorrow!

Poor Sen. Bob has never learned to "go along to get along." His is a very rare and lonely voice on Beacon Hill. Doing the right thing comes with a steep price-tag, and Bob has willingly accepted it.

Last Sunday morning, WBZ-TV4's John Henning interviewed gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General L. Scott Harshbarger. Barbara and I cracked up over and over again when every fourth word out of Luther's mouth was "working families." He must have used the mantra forty-seven times in the five minute interview!

As "For the Children" loses its cachet, its pull, as it becomes a worn out joke, the liberals have turned to what they do best and have coined a new mantra: "Working Families." Watch for it in the days ahead.

CLT&G added its "For the Children" Education Project to our mission and our web-page recently, and now has taken on the CLT&G "Working Families" Project and added it too to this website. As fast as they can create them, we'll try to knock them down.

Below is the CLT&G memo we hand-delivered to each State Senator yesterday.

Chip Ford --

To: Members of the Massachusetts Senate
June 1, 1998
Re: The Stabilization Fund and
Working Families

Since it is clear that the Legislature will never keep its promise to rollback the income tax rate to 5 percent, let's talk about the personal exemption increase.

This would be a nice tax cut if you weren't using it to blackmail the voters into rejecting the petition to equalize the tax on so-called unearned income, and if you wouldn't decrease the exemption again once you have achieved this objective and no one is looking.

The way to tell if a legislator means it when he votes for an increase in the personal exemption is to see how he votes on Senator Hedlund's stabilization fund amendment.

The stabilization fund law already increases the personal exemption when a state surplus overflows the rainy-day fund. Last year you voted to raise the cap on the rainy-day fund before the overflow could happen. This year the House is trying to raise the cap again. Meanwhile, most of the revenue surplus is being spent rather than giving it back to working families.

Rather than hope for the best in conference committee, a legislator who was sincere about wanting to give tax cuts to
working families would ensure that the cap is not quietly raised when no one is looking, or as part of a busy budget debate. He can do this by voting for an amendment that would not allow a change in the rainy-day fund/tax reduction fund formula unless the change is filed as a separate bill and has a public hearing.

Why would any legislator want to avoid a public hearing on a tax cut for
working families? Who would vote against an amendment to require attention be paid to any provision taking a tax cut away from working families?

This week, we may know. We would appreciate having another good-government, working-family vote to add to our 1998 CLT&G rating.

Thank you.

The Boston Herald
Tuesday, June 2, 1998

Raises for House brass challenged

The Republican state senator who blocked House leaders' raises last summer is trying to do it again.

"It's taxpayers' money," state Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), said of the $7,500 bonuses that House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran (D-Mattapan) wants to pay 10 of his top lieutenants.

Hedlund said he wasn't trying to pick on Finneran and was equally opposed to the number of bonus-pay positions in the Senate.

"I don't think this is good for the system," said Hedlund, who is one of only three senators who doesn't get extra pay.

In July, Hedlund managed to block the raises by calling attention to the fact that the House had never voted on them. So last month, the House voted to add the pay raises to their version of the $19.5 billion fiscal 1999 state budget.

Today the Senate takes up its version of the budget and Hedlund is hoping to get votes on two amendments that would void those raises. The first would make it illegal to offer retroactive raises. The House bill would give Finneran's favorites back pay of up to $11,250. The second would require that a bonus pay position be eliminated every time a new one is created.

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