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

CLT&G Update
Tuesday, September 1, 1998

This is the "Bacon Hill" action to watch in the days ahead:

Imagine, you're caught red-handed stealing cookies from Mom's cookie jar. She scowls, tapping her foot. Putting on your most innocent face, you look up and plead, "Mom, if you don't punish me this time, I promise I'll never do it again, honest."

But when she catches you elbow-deep in the jar a week later, cookie crumbs all over your chin, you implore: "I know I promised, mom, but it's different this time."

In December of 1994, in a lame-duck, post-election session, "The Best Legislature Money Can Buy" took for itself an outrageous 55 percent pay raise.

The next year, threatened by our initiative petition for "A Law to Encourage a Citizen Legislature Accountable to the People" (aka, the CLT&G Payraise Repeal), the Legislature took immediate steps in a propaganda campaign to defuse our plan to cut not only their pay but the legislative session in half as well, to six months.

Having achieved one of the highest salaries of any state legislature in the nation, the Legislature is proposing a constitutional amendment that will forever lock in the ill-gotten pay increase, automatically adjust it to the economy every two years, and enshrine it in the state Constitution, safeguarding it forever from being tampered with by the voters.

That proposed constitutional amendment will be Question 1 on the November ballot. If approved by enough foolish voters, it will make our legislators the only human beings in the history of the world to have a constitutionally mandated and protected salary and perpetual pay raises. (More on this later.)

But the other action they took in their attempt to deflect our criticism was to establish joint legislative rules that ended formal sessions in election years not later than July 31st, before legislators could get their hands on election-year goodies or become "lame ducks" immune from voter retribution. We were all supposed to be impressed.

But we knew then that, as soon as us "stupid voters" were supposed to forget or looked the other way the hands would be right back in the cookie jar and the excuse would be, "But mom, things are different now."

Was there any reason whatsoever that we should have believed them? Any reason at all? These are the same two-faced jackals who "promised" with such sincerity that the tax rate increase would be only "temporary."

As the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

After the "deep soul-searching," after "struggling" with their "consciences" over the value of their words and their credibility with the voters, after deciding on the best rationalization and spin, the Legislature will do as it always does.

It will do whatever most benefits the politicians.

Even if that again means breaking a promise and faith with their constituents.

Because that is their nature.

Chip Ford --

The Boston Globe
Tuesday, September 1, 1998
Metro | Region

Finneran is urged to clear way
for overrides of Cellucci's vetoes

By Tina Cassidy
Globe Staff

Lawmakers yesterday attempted to publicly pressure House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran to skirt legislative rules, call a special session after the Sept. 15 primary, and override $200 million worth of Acting Governor Paul Cellucci's vetoes.

At a news conference yesterday, legislators and constituents urged Finneran to call back the House -- Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham has already indicated he is willing to call back his members - and vote to restore funding out of the budget surplus for such things as library improvements and economic development projects.

"The vetoes cut to the heart of our ability to keep the public safe, to protect the environment, to educate our children and provide services to people in need," said Representative James Marzilli, an Arlington Democrat. "This is not an attempt to subvert the rules of the House."

Finneran, initially opposed to bending the rules to allow veto overrides after the July 31 end of formal sessions, has softened his stance recently to say he would consider the idea. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Cellucci said the Legislature was in a "feeding frenzy" to spend money.

"I said. 'No.' It's my job as governor to impose fiscal discipline on the state Legislature and on state government. A lot of the projects I vetoed might make it through that capital planning process, but they should be subjected to it," Cellucci said. "We need to make sure these projects are worthy."

Cellucci's vetoes -- including a $2.25 million Pittsfield Redevelopment Fund, $3 million for Fitchburg's proposed technology mall, $2.9 million for the Brockton Public Library, $3 million for refitting or closing a North Andover trash burning plant, and $3 million for an economic development center on the New Bedford waterfront -- have caused an uproar from constituents across the state.

Some accused Cellucci of being penny foolish.

"We need money in order to leverage local donations," said Diane Pacheco, director of the Brockton Public Library, a facility more than 80 years old in need of updating.

Robert Moroney, director of public works for Manchester-by-the-Sea, said $3 million in funding cuts for a solid waste facility could result in North Shore residents spending "four times the state average" for trash removal.

Those who have spoken with Finneran say he is gauging the sentiment of the House and may be willing to suspend a three-year-old rule that prohibits extending controversial business beyond the July 31 deadline for formal sessions.

Monday, August 31, 1998



SHNS ... TH ... AUGUST 31, 1998 ... A dozen legislators led by Rep. James Marzilli today asked House Speaker Thomas Finneran to support a return to formal legislative sessions to override acting Gov. Paul Cellucci's vetoes of $200 million worth of local projects.

At a noon press conference, Marzilli (D-Arlington) said the Legislature unwittingly ceded power to the governor under rules adopted three years ago that were intended to prevent lame-duck decisions in which the business of lawmaking was influenced by elections.

The rules prohibit the Legislature from meeting in formal sessions after July 31st in an election year. That means no roll calls, which are required for bond authorizations, land takings or veto overrides.

But the Legislature has a constitutional duty to review gubernatorial vetoes, Marzilli said, arguing the Legislature should return to exercise its power despite its in-house rules.

"This is not an attempt to subvert the rules of the House," Marzilli said. "This is an attempt to use the rules of the House to enforce the constitutional authority that has been vested in us. We're not here today to suggest we take up any new things."

While Senate President Thomas Birmingham said his colleagues would return "in a nanosecond" to take up the veto overrides if the House agreed to do the same, Finneran has expressed opposition to the idea and more recently, a neutral stance.

Finneran could not be reached for comment today, although his aides attended the event.

Cellucci vetoed the $200 million capital supplemental budget on Aug. 10, and said legislators should only blame themselves for not getting to override the vetoes, since they knew about the July 31st deadline.

The capital budget includes funding for projects ranging from an ice rink on Nantucket to expanded libraries and community development efforts across the state.

Cellucci said many of the projects he vetoed seemed worthy, but should have gone through the capital planning process like everything else. Instead, he said, the Legislature embarked upon an election-year "feeding frenzy" by trying to spend surplus revenues instead of returning them to taxpayers.

Legislators today retorted that Cellucci staged a "veto frenzy" to appear fiscally conservative against right-wing challenges from state Treasurer Joseph Malone, his Republican primary opponent.

Rep. Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge) said the projects had been fully screened. "These were things the leadership considered very carefully," she said.

"This is about the quality of life in Massachusetts," Marzilli added. "These vetoes threaten the very stability of life in our commonwealth."

Marzilli said he has about 30 supporters, but said many legislators are on vacation or on the campaign trails. Asked if he would try and force Finneran's hand, Marzilli replied: "One step at a time."

In a letter distributed this afternoon, House Minority Leader David Peters (R-Charlton) said he opposed returning to formal sessions because he wanted to preserve the integrity of the House. Peters also indicated Finneran does not intend to call the House back.

"Bringing back the legislature will open the floodgates to lame-duck election year politics at its worst, and we should avoid the feeding frenzy that would result," Peters wrote. "Not only is the integrity of the rules at stake, but the integrity of the House and its members. Following our rules is crucial to maintaining public confidence in the legislative process."

Other legislators who supported the return to formal sessions today include Reps. John Businger of Brookline, Paul Demakis of Boston, Louis Kafka of Sharon, Jay Kaufman of Lexington, Thomas Kennedy of Brockton, Kay Khan of Newton, John Stasik of Framingham, and Kathleen Teahan of Whitman. Also joining the lawmakers were Geoffrey Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Michael Ripple of the Mass. Council of Human Service Providers.

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. For more information go to:

Return to Updates page