This week, our latest advocacy campaign began hitting mailboxes across the state.
Following the 2016 election, the very first thing legislators did was vote themselves an average 40% pay increase. Then Senate President Rosenberg saw his pay go up by some 62%, while some lawmakers saw an increase of as much as 130%!
To top it all off, they filed the pay bill as “emergency” legislation so they could begin collecting their raises immediately.
There’s no shortage of critical issues facing our state in recent years, but the House and Senate decided to make this issue their number one priority. We think this was the wrong approach for the legislature to take and if it weren’t for our advocacy, constituents would be left in the dark.
When completed, over 500,000 households across 18 different legislative districts will have received this mailing.
Here is a sample of one mailer from this week:
Thank you for being a supporter of MassFiscal. If it weren’t for your support and grassroots advocacy, the public would have forgotten about this important vote.
This morning, members of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance team were at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) to testify against changes to existing OCPF regulations.
OCPF has proposed changes to current rules that would give it broad discretion to require donor disclosure. None of the proposed changes would impact MassFiscal and MassFiscal will never disclose the generous support of its members.
One provision would give OCPF the authority to make a unilateral determination — without ever speaking to a donor — that the donor “had reason to know” how their donation would be used by the recipient organization, and to order disclosure of that donor’s name and address as a result. Another provision proposes eliminating the existing right of donors to present evidence and facts to OCPF as to why disclosure should not be required.
MassFiscal believe a revision of this magnitude, which greatly expands OCPF’s purview, exceeds the original intent of OCPF’s authorizing legislation. A change like the one proposed should be made by the Legislature, not through a bureaucratic regulatory change.
Our Spokesman, Paul D. Craney, outlines our case against these changes in an Op-Ed at Commonwealth Magazine which you can read by clicking here. Our attorney, Tad Heuer offered written and oral testimony, which you may download here.
Did you see that legislative leaders on Beacon Hill are already floating another borrowing bill?
Eight months ago, the S&P Global Ratings lowered the Commonwealth’s bond rating to AA from AA+. Among the chief concerns cited by the credit agency were Massachusetts’s “elevated debt levels, and below-average pension funded ratio.” The most glaring practical effect of this downgrade is that it is now more expensive for our state to borrow money.
In this last budget alone, Governor Baker was forced to allocate $2.66 billion on debt service. One would think that now would be a good time to quit borrowing so much and begin working down our debts. Not so, Massachusetts!
Legislative leaders continue to stick their fingers in their ears and ignore the problem.
Their insatiable appetite for spending reared its head today as they floated an upcoming $3.5 BILLION bond bill to pay for what they say is basic maintenance on state and local government buildings and “local projects” (See: Pork Barrel Spending). This is on top of the $1.7 billion borrowing bill passed by the House at the end of January.
Our state budget has grown by 60% since 2006, but for Beacon Hill politicians it’s simply not enough. Legislative leaders want to keep borrowing billions of dollars a month to pay for earmark laden projects filled with obscure pork-barrel spending. With all the scandals on Beacon Hill over the last few months, it’s the only way to keep their rank and file members happy. No amount of taxpayer money is too much for them to hang on to power.
We’ll have more on this as it makes its way through the legislative channels. Stay tuned!