The House of Representatives loses its appetite for vote-taking

(BOSTON)—The number of votes taken on Beacon Hill in 2015 plummeted over decades past, according to a study commissioned by the watchdog group Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and in conjunction with Insta Track.

A mere 41 significant votes were cast in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, significant votes being all roll call votes which are not unanimous, veto overrises, or procedurally mandated. The number is miniscule when compared with the 149 significant roll calls taken in 2013, the 115 in 2014 or the 20-year average of 110.

A study of voting behavior based on a partial year conducted in September indicated a trend of legislative inaction, but watchers had hoped the House might mend its ways and thus end the year on a high note.

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Paul Craney, executive director of MassFiscal, noted a marked drop in vote taking immediately following the Alliance’s large scale advocacy campaign in which over 2 million pieces of literature were sent into 21 legislative districts. “Our advocacy was effective,” Craney said. “This is an unintended consequence of opening up the goings on of Beacon Hill to public scrutiny.”

“How the business of governing will change as the House loses its institutional memory of voting behavior is something we’re studying carefully,” Craney added. “The House not voting, or rarely voting, is as odd as seeing a circus without animals.”

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

For a complete list of the House data since 1995, click here

 


Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance calls on Brian Joyce to resign his Senate seat in light of ongoing scandal

Today, Executive Director of MassFiscal Paul Craney called on Senator Brian Joyce of Milton to resign his Senate seat in light of a growing scandal surrounding his professional conduct.

“Brian Joyce clearly lacks a moral compass. He has used his Senate office for personal financial gain. No amount of dry cleaning will remove this stain, ” Craney said. “This kind of corruption is intolerable.”

Today’s Boston Globe highlights Joyce’s pressured abuse of a local dry cleaner. Earlier stories have detailed his use of campaign funds for personal expenses, including family parties and cars, and business ties to companies like Energi and Dunkin’ Donuts that cross the sacred divide between his senate office and his personal financial interests, ties that he failed to report on annual ethics filings.

“Accountability and transparency are crucial to good government, and improving Massachusetts’ performance in these areas is central to MassFiscal’s mission,” Craney said. “Joyce’s actions show a blatant disregard for those ideals. He’s the face of old-time strong-arm tactics and back room bargaining. It’s time for him to go.”


MassFiscal reports strong fundraising growth in 2015

(Boston)--The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance raised $853,063 in 2015, a marked increase over the $802,834 raised in 2014.  The number of donations also increased, from 409 in 2014 to 608 in 2015.

"MassFiscal's consistent growth is a natural result of our important work," said executive director Paul D. Craney.  "I expect that growth to continue this year.  The elections and ambitious legislative goals will provide many opportunities to draw attention to cleaning up state finances, increasing accountability, and building a stronger economic climate in Massachusetts."

Craney pointed to the increase in the number of donations as an important measure of the group's success.  "At the year’s end, our political force grew by half. A strong base of support going into 2016 is important, because along with opportunity, an election year brings challenges."

MassFiscal is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization which advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth.


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