The Mad Scramble

Last night was quite the night for the State House & Senate. Despite having almost two years to do their job, legislators waited until the last minute on major bills with topics ranging from economic development and health care, to education funding. Here are some highlights of the bills that were passed:

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MassFiscal Calls on Lawmakers to Reject Budget

MassFiscal Calls on Lawmakers to Reject Budget

Most secretive in the country and largest in state history

 

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance issued the following statement today in response to news that House and Senate leaders released their $41.88 billion-dollar budget at 10:04 a.m. and expect lawmakers to approve the budget today. In order to vote on the budget on the same day it’s made available to the public, the legislature needs to suspend its rules, which were intended to bring transparency to the budget process.

“This is just another case of legislative leaders flaunting their ‘Do as we say, not as we do’ attitude. Whether it’s term limits for leadership or ensuring rank and file members have enough time to review legislation, when Rules become inconvenient they are simply ignored,” commented Paul Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

“Only in Massachusetts could two sides head into the negotiating room and come out with more spending than either side originally asked for,” continued Craney. “What is the big secret with this budget? Why the rush? It definitely gives the appearance that they’re trying to hide something. Massachusetts is the last state in the country to have a budget and the day its released, it’s expected to be voted on. Any lawmaker who has a head on their shoulders and pulse should vote against it.”

“It’s the most secretive in the country and largest in state history,” concluded Craney.

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased economic opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth.

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Statement on Supreme Court's Janus Decision

Statement of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance on the Decision of the United States Supreme Court in Janus v. AFCSME 

We applaud the United States Supreme Court for its decision protecting our Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association in their decision Janus v. AFSCME. No one should be forced to pay for a political message with which they do not agree.

For nearly forty years, a series of bureaucratic decisions and court rulings have allowed union bosses to dominate the political discourse of our country and our state. Though national in its scope, today’s ruling has broad implications for the Commonwealth. According to a statement released today by the Pioneer Institute, “18 of the 20 political action committees that contributed the most to candidates for state and county offices were labor organizations, and 85 percent of all PAC contributions went to Democratic candidates.” The Janus decision will finally bring some equity to this situation by allowing people who disagree with the political positions of their unions to opt out of funding that speech, and by forcing union leadership to be more responsive to their members and less beholden to the Beacon Hill political elite.

At a local level, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has an opportunity to continue this trend of bringing fairness to the law in the legal challenge to the Union Loophole currently before them: 1A Auto v. Sullivan (SJC-12413).

Originally filed in 2015 by businesses owned by Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance founder Rick Green and board member Mike Kane, the lawsuit seeks to close the union loophole in Massachusetts campaign finance law. The loophole bans political contributions from employers while allowing unions, including out of state unions, to contribute up to $15,000 to a single state candidate. Individuals can only donate up to $1,000. Unions, under current law, may also contribute via Political Action Committees, while PACs supported by employers are prohibited. Massachusetts is one of only six states with campaign finance laws that advantage unions and the worst state in the country for the way it favors unions over employers.

The union loophole has tainted election after election here in Massachusetts, notably being extensively exploited in Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s 2013 election, and most recently in Paul Feeney’s 2017 run for state senate. Both were close races that were impacted by the hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled in from unions across the country.

“The Janus decision is just a small, but important, step towards restoring balance and fairness,” stated Paul D. Craney, spokesperson of Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “We hope the Massachusetts SJC will continue the trend of protecting our first amendment rights, and bringing equal protection to state campaign finance law as it considers the 1A Auto v. Sullivan case,” concluded Craney.

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Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased economic opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth. 


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