Could Fisher College be in violation under a new campaign finance bill?


A placard advertising Fisher College currently displayed on MBTA trains could violate the law under a proposed campaign finance measure.

Because the ad mentions Attleboro State Representative Paul Heroux, who took classes at the school, complying would mean the names of Fisher's top five donors must be listed on the ad itself if it were on display within 90 days of an election. Fisher College would also be required to file a report with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

The bill, H.543, is entitled "An Act relative to disclosure of top contributors for independent expenditures or electioneering communications." The title belies the law's intent, which is to stifle political speech. (Take a look at this article from The Boston Globe.) Its requirements clearly violate the standards of private free speech, as defined over centuries by the Supreme Court. Interestingly, the disclosure requirements proposed also go beyond those in play for politicians themselves.    

If passed, the measure would have a chilling effect on speech and create an avalanche of bureaucratic reporting requirements for non-profit and educational foundations.

To search for the proposed legislation, please click here. To read more about current campaign finance law, please click here.

Support for MBTA Reform

MBTA union bosses are continuing to fight important reforms passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. In particular, they seek to block implementation of reformed procurement procedures.

This coming Monday, July 11, the T's Fiscal and Management Control Board convenes to decide on outsourcing the cash management function at the MBTA. MassFiscal members have been a strong voice supporting the privatization movement in previous meetings. This week, your support is more important than ever.

We urge you to attend the meeting and testify. To make a quality decision, the Board needs to hear from taxpayers and t-riders, not just union bosses. 

If you can attend Monday, let Lindsay Fuce from our team know by clicking here. If you cannot attend the Board Meeting, you can still take action. Use the following link to contact the members of the Fiscal and Management Control Board:

Sunshine on the Senate Energy Bill

Last week, the Senate passed its version of the energy omnibus bill aimed at addressing our state’s pressing energy problems. The bill, entitled “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity” included some truly outrageous provisions.

First, the proposed law requires individuals selling houses to provide the results of energy audits to potential buyers. Proponents say it's like reporting miles per gallon on vehicles, but realtors around the state have quite a different opinion. The provision would create a brand-new level of bureaucracy, drive up costs, and add nothing to the already-common but optional home inspection process.

The Senate bill would also levy a 2.5 cents per gallon tax on home heating oil sales to pay for “energy efficiency measures.” You might remember, the legislature proposed a gas tax last session tied to the rate of inflation which was subsequently repealed by the voters. Thwarted only momentarily, Senate leaders are now pushing a tax on home heating oil.

In its unkindest cut of all, the Senate version of the energy omnibus bill allows Cape Wind to bid on offshore wind contracts. Cape Wind has in the past promised cheap, clean energy, while planning to sell almost 78% of it to power companies for roughly two times the average cost of power generated by U.S. suppliers. And, their advertised price of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour was slated to increase by 3.5 percent in each year of its 15-year contract. The House bill rightfully froze them out of the bidding process. The Senate, apparently, decided to forgive and forget.

A conference committee has been organized between the House and the Senate to iron out differences between the two versions over the coming weeks. Let’s hope they have enough sense to leave out the unnecessary headaches for energy payers.


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