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CLT&G Update
Wednesday, July 30, 1998

"A more blended approach" the Beacon Hill Cabal calls it.

In political parlance, that translates to:  "Add $200 million to the lousy $160 million in scraps we're tossin'em to shut'em up and spend the rest of their billion-plus tax over-payment while we can. It's all ours now and the dummies'll be falling  all over us in gratitude for the crumbs!"

Instead of doing the honest thing -- instead of refunding the hard-working taxpayers' over-payment because of a broken promise -- "hundreds of millions" will be selectively porked out as re-election bait to the legislative leadership's loyal lackeys.

House Speaker Tom "Imperious Maximus" Finneran calls this theft the "intelligent" way to "sop up ... some of the extra cash."

They plan to put an additional $150 million into the burgeoning "rainy day" fund -- and another $150-$200 million will be "reserved for unexpected expenses." Will someone please explain what the difference is?

The only difference I see is that they're creating an entirely new "rainy day" fund that has no ceiling, thus no automatic tax refund trigger mechanism!

And even then, they're going to use another $70 million by passing it over into the 1999 budget!

This brings the total tax over-payment even they can't begin to justify or find ways to squander to a whopping $370-$420 million in excess revenue that should be refunded!

Today the Boston Globe called it "the largest budget in state history."

Treasurer Joe Malone notes that it has grown at three times the rate of inflation, similar to when Michael Dukakis was governor.

Gov. Cellucci announced that he will veto more than $100 million in legislative "pet projects," according to today's Boston Herald. These vetoes include:

  • A $147,000 program for a state forest tree-counting system. (At the risk of giving the pols even more stupid ideas on ways to squander our over-payment, why not also count the number of grains of sand on coastal beaches?)
  • A $25 surcharge on speeding tickets to go toward a fund to help accident victims. (Isn't that why insurance is required?)
  • A $12,000 funding item for a "Here's Looking at You 2000" program. (Is this a new state slogan, after just paying all outdoors for the memorable "Massachusetts: Take a Real Vacation"?)
  • A $150,000 increase to hire two horticulturists and a supervisor on the Esplanade. (Hey, it's a tough job but someone's got to watch all that grass grow, one horticulturist would get awfully lonely by himself, and of course two bureaucrats need supervision!)
  • In the UMass budget, a $275,000 analysis of synthetic drugs; a $25,000 increase for the school's Center for Renaissance Studies, and; about $85,000 for an "interpreter program" -- because this money should come directly from the UMass budget, which was already increased by nearly $40 million!

Imagine how terribly worse things would be if we had another good ole boy Democrat in the corner office -- totally committed to the Cabal and hiding his veto pen!!!

Chip Ford --

The Boston Herald
Thursday, July 30, 1998

Legislators propose $200M tax give-back
By Ellen J. Silberman
and Hilary Krieger

Turning their backs on acting Gov. Paul Cellucci's call for a one-time $650 million tax cut from the state surplus, House and Senate leaders yesterday announced their own plans to hand just $200 million back to taxpayers next April.

House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran and Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham said their plan to spend the state's $1 billion-plus 1998 surplus offered a more "blended approach" than Cellucci's.

The Legislature has already approved approved spending $160 million of the 1998 surplus to help pay for a $770 million permanent tax cut signed into law earlier this year.

The leaders accused Cellucci of election-year pandering by proposing the second massive tax cut by proposing the second massive tax cut.

But election-year politics may have played a part in the Legislature's plan as well.

The largest part of the surplus -- Birmingham (D-Chelsea) and Finneran (D-Mattapan) would only say "hundreds of millions" -- is slated to go to capital projects sprinkled around the House and Senate districts across the commonwealth.

At least $100 million of the capital money will go to road and bridge projects that have been left unfunded because of the demands of the Big Dig.

Finneran described the capital spending as a way to "sop up in an intelligent way some of the extra cash."

Cellucci, who yesterday announced plans to veto $150 million from the $19.5 billion fiscal 1999 budget the Legislature sent him last week, has said he will aggressively wield his veto pen in order to get his full $650 million one-time tax cut.

In addition to the capital spending and tax cut, the legislative leaders said they would:

  • Put $150 million into the state's stabilization fund for use in case of an economic downturn.

  • Use $60 million to establish a "Best and the Brightest" endowment to fund $20,000 bonuses for new teachers and $5,000 pay increases for experienced teachers who agree to become mentors.

  • Reserve $150 million to $200 million for unexpected expenses.

  • Send $60 million in unexpected Lottery revenues to cities and towns.

  • Put $70 million toward the fiscal 1999 budget.

The new House-Senate proposal, expected to be on the governor's desk before the legislative session ends tomorrow, would save every taxpayer in the commonwealth just $50 off their 1998 tax bill.

"This is a step in the fight direction but it is not enough," said Cellucci spokeswoman Ilene Hoffer.

That fact drew criticism from state Treasurer Joseph D. Malone, who is challenging Cellucci for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

"Liberal spenders like Paul Cellucci and Tom Birmingham just don't get it. This surplus should be returned to the people of Massachusetts; it shouldn't be spent by bureaucrats on Beacon Hill," Malone said.

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