Limited Taxation & Government
Post Office Box 408    Peabody, Massachusetts   01960     (617) 248-0022
E-Mail:       Web-page:

CLT&G Update
Sunday, August 9, 1998

I'll bet you thought "The Best Legislature Money Can Buy" had gone home on its extended 5-month taxpayer-paid vacation, that it was safe to kick back and enjoy the summer, that your liberty and property -- at least what little they've left you with -- was secure for the rest of the year.

If so, you'd be wrong.

While it's "members" are off playing hookey for the rest of the year, "Imperious Maximus" Finneran and "El Presidente" Birmingham now have cleared away what passed for any political opposition on "Bacon Hill" and need no longer even pretend that this is a representative democracy. (Remember, when the Legislature is not in formal session -- as it is now -- all it takes is one member's objection to prevent passage of anything.)

For starters, on Thursday they eliminated county government.

The Salem Evening News
Friday, August 7, 1998

Bell tolls for Essex County government
Ottaway News Service

BOSTON--The Legislature yesterday voted final approval for the elimination of Essex County government. . .

The House and the Senate yesterday approved the county elimination during informal meetings, which are normally only for issues that are not controversial. The bill, which calls for abolishing county government by next July 1, was sent to the desk of Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci, who is expected to sign it.

The measure was approved faster than expected, considering it stalled at midnight last Friday, the last day for formal meetings for the Legislature. . . .

Under the rules of informal sessions, the bill could have been blocked by any lawmaker....

The bill also calls for abolishing Hampshire County by Jan. 1 and Berkshire County by Jan 1, 2000. . .

Maybe next week the two will eliminate the Office of Governor, after all, who'd miss it?

The Boston Sunday Herald
August 9, 1998
Pols & Politics

Voting Rights

Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci can't even get fellow Republicans to get on board when he is driving the train.

Last week, the state Senate overrode Cellucci's budget vetoes 19 times. Eleven times, not even a single Republican joined with Cellucci to sustain the veto. No more than four of the seven GOP senators ever voted with Cellucci and two never voted with him.

Actually, why not eliminate the entire Legislature and stop pretending -- just accept government by royal decree of the Finneran/Birmingham co-monarchy and save the outrageous salaries of the other 198 yes-men "members" and a governor who is either alone and powerless or will be just another yes-man puppet, a team "member," after November?

Would you like to know where your $1 billion-plus tax over-payment is being spent this year? Probably not, but you really should be aware of some of the "unmet needs" that are now going to be generously met.

The Salem Evening News
Friday, August 7, 1998

Local projects could be felled by Cellucci pen
Ottaway News Service

BOSTON -- A program for fish farming would become a key part of Salem's waterfront, replacing an empty state laboratory.

In downtown Ipswich, a new walkway along the Ipswich River would be a draw for tourism. And the Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute in Danvers would give students more access to computers, new classrooms and other improvements.

These are just a few of the local projects in a bill that would exhaust more than a third of the state's $1 billion budget surplus. The big catch: Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci wants to free money for a one-time tax cut by slashing up to $300 million from the $405 million bill.

"That's excessive," Cellucci said after the Legislature passed the bill last week. "I intend to make some significant vetoes. They are spending too much."

Barbara Anderson, co-director of Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government, is urging the acting governor to veto virtually the entire bill. Like Cellucci, Anderson believes the money should go for tax cuts, not pork-barrel.

Anderson said the Legislature's intent is clear. "They are getting rid of money. They are spending down the surplus. They are sopping up the surplus -- our money -- by sending it around the state to any place where there is a landing pad."

Cellucci's promise of vetoes is leaving some local officials on pins and needles.

Anthony Cotoia, an executive assistant at Salem State College, is watching the fate of nearly $600,000 in the bill for purchasing tanks, filters and other equipment for an aquaculture program on the Salem waterfront.

The state spent $822,000 to upgrade the former Cat Cove lab last year, but Cotoia said it needs to be equipped.

"If that money doesn't come in, we would have a real good building that is renovated, but not functioning," Cotoia said. Gustave Olson, superintendent of the Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute, said he could accomplish a lot with the $1.5 million in the bill for his school.

Olson wants to repair a leaky roof, expand connections to the Internet, make improvements for the handicapped and lease some portable classrooms.

But Olson fears Cellucci's veto pen.

"I lobby every week," he said. "I lobby everybody I know. But I don't have high hopes. We'll probably be one of the first to go."

Other local projects facing vetoes:

  • $3 million for equipment to control air pollution at a trash-to-energy plant used by Peabody, Hamilton, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Wenham and 19 other communities.

  • $140,000 for a walkway along Ipswich River.

  • $650,000 for designing improvements to a sea wall along the causeway that leads to Marblehead Neck.

  • $23.5 million for grants for library construction including a new regional library in Hamilton and Wenham.

  • $300,000 to remove asbestos at the Coffin School in Marblehead.

  • $1.2 million for a new police station in Swampscott.

Cellucci could veto the items any time between now and next Tuesday. In the meantime, local officials and state lawmakers are writing letters and lobbying the acting governor to preserve their favorite projects.

Ipswich Selectman Patrick McNally said he is hoping that Cellucci will spare the $140,000 for the proposed walkway along the Ipswich River near the community's downtown.

"It would be a great thing to have in Ipswich," McNally said. "It's something that is going to get people walking in the downtown. It will bring people together. It's a pretty cheap investment in something I think will come out pretty nice."

Robert Moroney, director of the Department of Public Works in Manchester-by-the-Sea, said the bill contains $3 million that would help communities that use the incinerator in North Andover. It's going to cost $55 million to install anti-pollution equipment on the plant.

Communities are now paying twice the statewide average for disposal of waste, Moroney said. It's hard to say if the acting governor will veto the money, he said. "He's going to make up his own mind one way or the other," Moroney said. "It was a feather in the cap to get it passed."

You might as well enjoy the summer, friends. Your "members" in the House and Senate certainly are, on their $46,410 a year base salaries (and some-80 of them get additional "leadership" bonuses of at least $7,500)!

Chip Ford --

PS.  Do you know any of the few candidates challenging them for their seats who are receiving $19,337.50 ($46,410 annual base pay, divided by 12 months, multiplied by the next 5 months) from us taxpayers, and the next five months off from their productive jobs in the Real World so that they too can campaign full-time for the job?

Gee, I wonder why there are so few candidates . . . ?

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.

Return to Updates page