A Ballot Committee of Citizens for Limited Taxation


Tax Rollback Committee

McCormack Post Office Box 1988 Boston, MA 02105 617.338.2174


October 12, 2000
Contact: John Brockelman, (617) 423-2000

Cellucci Exposes O'Brien's True Record on Debt
in WBZ TV-4 / Boston Globe Debate

In 1990, Standard & Poor's described O'Brien's voting record in the House as one that left Massachusetts with "a legacy of debt for perhaps the next two administrations"

In today's WBZ Ch.4 / Boston Globe debate on Question #4, the initiative to rollback the state's income tax to 5%, Governor Paul Cellucci, while touting tax cuts, exposed Treasurer O'Brien's real record on debt.

Cellucci noted that under Weld-Cellucci-Swift, debt has risen a total of 33% or less than 5% over 8 fiscal years. He also noted that Shannon O'Brien adds the last 2 years of the Dukakis era when labeling the Weld-Cellucci-Swift administration with "almost doubling debt." Cellucci added that under Weld-Cellucci-Swift the state's bond rating has been upgraded 9 times, under O'Brien-Dukakis it was near junk bond status.

Finally, he noted that O'Brien is a newcomer to the cause of debt reduction. When O'Brien was in the Legislature she voted for the $1.8 billion debt bond to pay for Mike Dukakis' fiscal deficit. At the time Standard & Poor's described the Legislature's fiscal policy as one that would leave Massachusetts with "a legacy of debt."

Debt increases

33% increase over 8 years under Weld-Cellucci-Swift: From FY'92 (when Weld-Cellucci took office) to FY'00 state debt has grown from $9.26 billion to $12.29 billion or a total 33% increase over 8 fiscal years. Treasurer O'Brien conveniently adds the last two years of Mike Dukakis' tenure when claiming Weld-Cellucci-Swift have "almost doubled debt."

In fact, a large portion of the increase in debt over the Weld-Cellucci-Swift years came from the Dukakis deficit bonds that Shannon O'Brien voted for which cost the state $1.8 billion from 1990 to 1997 (Roll Call # 306, 7/28/90). The $1.8 billion in deficit bonds would have funded two years worth of capital projects in the state.

125% increase over 4 years under O'Brien-Dukakis: From: FY'88 (when O'Brien took office in the state House of Representatives) to FY'92 (when Weld-Cellucci took office) state debt grew from $4.12 billion to $9.26 billion or a total 125% increase over 4 fiscal years.

Here is what the experts have had to say about both eras:

MTF on Weld-Cellucci-Swift: "(MTF President) Widmer says that slowing the yearly issuance of debt has been one of the signal successes of the Weld-Cellucci years." (Boston Globe, 10/3/98)

Standard & Poors on O'Brien-Dukakis: "'Rapid economic changes resulted in fiscal problems which the state was unwilling to resolve in a timely manner,' the (Standard & Poor's) report declared. 'Legislative inactions over the past two years will leave a legacy of debt for perhaps the next two administrations." (Boston Globe, July 31, 1990)