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

CLT&G Update
Thursday, August 13, 1998

"This isn't pork. This is investing in our children's future."

So decrees Democratic gubernatorial candidate Patricia McGovern of what Boston Herald columnist Rachelle Cohen calls "$200 million in some of the worst pork-barrel spending ever proposed," which Gov. Cellucci has vetoed.

Gag me with a spoon.

Hey Patty, invest in "our children's future" by giving their parents back their tax over-payment so they can invest in their own kids' future as they best see fit!


"We have already done $1 billion in tax cuts," State Senator Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford) said. "Why not spend some money in areas that have not been lifted by the economic boom?"


Have you no shame, Senator?

Does your stomach churn, like mine does? Do you feel the anger spreading into the rage-zone? Has the frustration level got you punching the walls yet?

We knew this would happen if we did not remove our tax over-payment from the clutches of the Bacon Hill Cabal, didn't we. We knew they could not be trusted, that taking-and-spending is their nature and taking it back was the only way to keep them from blowing it.

We predicted precisely this scenario two years ago, even before proposing the forced roll back of the "temporary" income tax rate hike by initiative petition.

We really do have to start considering another "Promise to Keep: 5%" petition drive next year.

The Bacon Hill Cabal has left us with no alternative. It is out of control with spending lust.

Chip Ford --

The Boston Herald
Thursday, August 13, 1998

Op-Ed: Your tax dollars at work, play
By Rachelle G. Cohen

In the dead of night I awake with worrisome thoughts about what all those little fish will do without all those ladders -- $475,000 worth of them -- vetoed by that skinflint in the Corner Office.

I picture fish in the Charles River (now that's a horrifying thought right there) and in Pembroke and in Kingston doing whatever it is that fish do without their little ladders, or worse yet, with broken and poorly maintained ladders.

Oh, let all those little fishy lives be on your head, Paul Cellucci! Let's see if you can get through the night with thoughts of the poor creatures gasping for breath because you, you vetoed those ladders...

Well, you get the idea.

The acting governor this week vetoed $200 million in some of the worst pork-barrel spending ever proposed in a $390 million capital budget, and somehow the world will not fall apart, fish will swim, birds will fly and weeds may even be cut in Carver without a new $185,000 brush breaker.

Of course courthouse employees in Franklin County are already grumbling because $118,000 to air condition the Superior Court was among the vetoes (never mind that a $600 million courthouse bond bill had earlier been approved which ought to take care of stuff like that). But some folks need any excuse to be grumpy.

"He's [Cellucci] not going to get his tax cut out of this, but in the meantime people in my district are irate," state Rep. John F. Merrigan (D-Greenfield) told the Associated Press. Guess Cellucci is also apparently to blame for the hot weather.

The fact of the matter is that the Legislature couldn't bear the thought of returning more money to the taxpayers and so attempted to spend as many of those tax dollars as quickly as possible on as many cockamamie projects as possible.

It was a totally shameless effort, unless of course, you think taxpayers from Boston to Brockton to the Berkshires have an interest in forking over $40,000 to restore a mural at Saugus Town Hall, or $3 million to acquire 70 acres for a "passive recreation" area in Belmont, or $150,000 for a demonstration project on "the merits of biomass heating systems at the proposed Warwick Elementary school," or $40,000 for a heating and cooling system for the Shea Theater in Montague (not surprisingly in the district of Senate Ways and means Chairman Stan Rosenberg).

In his veto message Cellucci noted that some of the projects "may, in fact, make sense, but they should be required to compete with other capital spending proposals as part of our annual capital allocation process. One-page proposals and high concept papers do not justify allocating millions of dollars to new state spending."

Now maybe there's a reason for the Metropolitan District Commission, which was supposed to be privatizing its existing assets, to build a new rink or pool -- but $19 million worth of them, in a process determined not by merit but by who sat on the budget committee?

Right now the Cellucci vetoes mean there's a $290 million pile of cash sitting on Beacon Hill. If taxpayers don't call and write and demand its return in the form of a one-time tax cut, it's only a matter of time before you will be paying for that Saugus mural and the Carver brush breaker and the fish ladders and the piers and boathouses and rinks and pools and every gosh-darned other project conceived by lawmakers.

Your dollars are burning a hole in their pockets. You might just want to propose a solution to that problem.

Boston Herald Letters to the Editor

The Boston Globe
Thursday, August 13, 1998
Metro | Region

Action urged on Cellucci vetoes
By Scot Lehigh
Globe Staff

Reflecting simmering frustration in communities across the state, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday called for the Legislature to return to formal session to take up Acting Governor Paul Cellucci's vetoes of $200 million in funding for scores of local projects.

"The Legislature must come back and deal with some of these vetoes," Menino said. "There are too many issues that need to be addressed by having these vetoes come at such a late point in time."

Unless lawmakers suspend their rules and return, Cellucci's vetoes, which were announced Monday, after legislators had finished formal business for the year, will go unchallenged. Such a result would hold up worthy projects in communities from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, officials said yesterday.

Boston, for example, lost $8 million for renovation at the Boston Public Library, $1 million for flood-control work on the Muddy River, and $1.5 million to demolish abandoned buildings in South Boston.

"I am disturbed that he didn't talk with us about what the effect will be on the quality of life in our neighborhoods," Menino said of Cellucci.

Menino's call for legislative action was echoed by New Bedford Mayor Fred Kalisz, who said Cellucci's vetoes had hurt several projects important to his economically depressed city.

New Bedford lost $3 million for a planned marine science and economic development center for the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth as well as $555,000 to clean up a site for a commuter rail line.

State Senator Mark C. Montigny, a Democrat from New Bedford, said Cellucci's action impedes efforts to spread economic prosperity to southeastern Massachusetts.

"We have already done $1 billion in tax cuts," Montigny said. "Why not spend some money in areas that have not been lifted by the economic boom?"

Word of Cellucci's decision to veto $200 million in spending for small projects -- including libraries, technology centers, road work, building demolition, and even air-conditioning for a sweltering Greenfield courtroom -- has exploded into front-page controversies in newspapers across the state.

Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham said yesterday that the Senate stands ready to suspend the Legislature's rules mandating a July 31 departure date so that lawmakers could vote on whether to override some of Cellucci's vetoes. Suspending the rules and overriding the vetoes would both require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

"If we are not able to invest in libraries and educational technology in these prosperous times, it is hard to imagine we will ever be able to do so," Birmingham said.

Further, the Senate president said, if the Legislature does not take up those vetoes, lawmakers will be ceding power to the governor.

Birmingham, however, acknowledged that House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, holds a different view.

"He seems to feel that the rules are the dominant consideration," Birmingham said. "For me, it is a no-brainer that the constitutional balance of power far outweighs our own internally adopted rules, which are arbitrary in terms of when we go out."

But Cellucci spokesman Jose Juves said calls for veto overrides merely demonstrate a legislative desire to view a surplus as an invitation to spend. "It is an addiction," said Juves. "They can't stop spending the taxpayers' hard-earned money." A better solution, Juves said, would be to heed Cellucci's call for another tax cut, which could be passed in informal session.

Former state senator Patricia McGovern, one of the Democratic candidates for governor, said her travels around the state have convinced her that citizens are angry about Cellucci's vetoes. "They call this pork," she said of the administration's position. "This isn't pork. This is investing in our children's future. People are very upset."

Boston Globe Letters to the Editor

The Boston Globe
Thursday, August 13, 1998

Editorial: Beacon Hill's last-minute loophole

State lawmakers gave the appearance of wrapping up their legislative year on July 31 with a late-night session that included roll calls until midnight and many other trappings of finality. But they didn't go home.

Last week both branches passed a bill to allow construction of a $220 million mall -- the state's largest -- on the site of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station. They also gave final approval to legislation terminating the county governments of Hampshire, Essex, and Berkshire counties.

These actions -- and more that are contemplated -- threaten the spirit of the four-year-old reform under which the Legislature is supposed to finish its business by July 31 in election years and mid-November in off years.

In accepting the reform, legislative leaders opted not for a statute that might be difficult to circumvent but for a highly flexible joint rule. The rule allows for continued "informal" sessions during which even major bills can be considered as long as no one objects. And that provision, which is advertised by the leaders as preventing passage of controversial measures, can be overridden by a vote of both branches to suspend the rule.

Some members are urging more legislative action this summer or fall, including consideration of a bill regulating HMOs and votes to override a number of Acting Governor Cellucci's budget vetoes. In particular, Senate President Thomas Birmingham has suggested that the Legislature's constitutional role as an equal branch of government, in responding to the vetoes, is more important than adhering to an internal rule.

But the rule is a healthy one and should not be violated except for reasons of real moment. In order to make sure it has time to vote on vetoes, the Legislature should pass its budgets more than 10 days before formal sessions are due to end. It has no one but itself to blame for running out of time.

The worst thing would be for the Legislature to come back after the elections -- either the general election or the Sept. 15 primaries -- and have lame-duck members voting. This would violate one major reason the rule was implemented.

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