Thanksgiving in July

Another day, 497 more reasons to be grateful Charlie Baker is our governor.

That's the number of earmarks the governor cut from the FY2017 Budget. Need more reasons? How about over 300 line items he struck?

The special interest groups are going to squawk. We'll hear plenty of belly-aching about how important and complete the Legislature's budget was, and how mean-spirited the vetoes are. But the truth is, the Legislature's budget was packed with pork. Because I know you like the nitty gritty, here are some examples of spending the Governor nixed:

-$50,000 for The Independent Film Society of Boston, Inc., for cultural tourism

-$50,000 for public art displays

-$30,000 for community sculpture

-$200,000 for a skate park

-$100,000 to replace a cast iron fence in Lynn

-$100,000 to repair a carriage house in Beverly

-$75,000 for outdoor furnishings and repairs at Magazine Beach

-$75,000 to study air quality at playing fields in Concord 

-$25,000 to celebrate the oldest man-made waterway

Were resources unlimited, some of these expenditures may make sense. But state government is growing faster than revenue, and good fiscal management demands we choose our projects carefully.

We share the Governor's concern with the stock market's recent poor performance. Revenues are unlikely to meet expenditures, and the administration is wise to plan for belt-tightening. Ultimately, the Governor must implement the budget, and his reasonable, measured revisions ensure a smoother-running ship of state.

MassFiscal's commitment to open government means we'll highlight and make available every single roll call vote taken on the vetoes and spending reductions. 

We’ll keep you posted.

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:


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