SOSMass

Save Our State of Massachusetts

Hold our legislators accountable!

Red Mass Group provided a nice roundup of last week’s vote in the house, and more people must start paying attention to what is going on.  Just the mere snippets of results from the role call of house votes show to what depths we are routinely dis-served by our legislators, and the disconnect and dysfunction in our government no matter what party you’re in.  Yes, it’s true that people generally feel our public servants fail to serve “us”, but a closer scrutiny of the day to day behaviors would really provide an awakening.

In perhaps the least egregious example of how callous and careless our legislators are with our money or struggles would be that Representative Bastien (R-Gardner) submitted an amendment to reduce the inspection fee for vehicles to $25.  If this were really about mandatory inspections for safety, which is the basis for which it was originally implemented, then, particularly in these difficult times, legislators would make this FREE except to simply cover the 5 -10 minutes it takes for service stations to perform these inspections.  (Though many rightly complain of the exorbitant cost of the equipment they must purchase to even provide inspections, and that is just another example of government and regulations adversely affecting small businesses, and citizens).  The amendment failed by a vote of 33 – 120 with 4 members not casting a vote.  All Republicans, and one (1) Democratic, Dykema (D-Holliston) voted for the Amendment.  Joe citizen and both small and large businesses that have to maintain company cars, or fleets of cars lose again, and then ultimately that too gets passed along to Joe citizen, through higher prices, still adversely impacting Joe citizen in the purse…AGAIN.

Another seemingly reasonable amendment that failed by a vote of 34 – 117, was Representative Winslow (R-Norfolk), and several other Republicans’ amendment tying the release of funds for the MBTA Bailout to the release of Chapter 90 funding for road improvements.  All 32 house Republicans that were present voted for the amendment, this time joined by not one, but two Democrats, (Pignatelli and DiNatale).

But it gets worse, far worse, as anyone can clearly see, if only more people were watching.  An amendment to publish the names of every MBTA retiree in the open checkbook system, which of course, would provide the transparency all those paying these public employees salaries and pensions should be entitled to, was submitted by Representative O’Connell (R-Taunton).  The chair ruled this amendment out of order which was hardly the case and the chair’s decision was upheld 121Y-32N.  Once again all 32 Republicans present voted against the chair’s ruling, but if more people paid attention then surely the outrage would be deafening.

Next came the defeat of one of the more obvious sensible amendments, that of Representatives Jones (R-North Reading), Peterson (R-Grafton), Hill (R-Ipswich), Poirier (R-North Attleboro), and deMacedo (R-Plymouth) which failed 33 – 121.  It was submitted as amendment #13 requiring that the MBTA conduct a cost analysis before proceeding with any new services or routes.  What or who in the private sector would even contemplate not doing this, yet only one (1) Democrat joined all the other 32 Republicans supporting the amendment.

But the biggest outrage had to be the passing of what, by all standards, was a “band-aid” as Representative Marc Lombardo voices in his opposition to the $51 Million bailout for the MBTA.  Noting the lack of reforms in the agency, Lombardo explains that in fiscal years 10, 11, and 12, the state has given half a billion to the MBTA, and that two out of every three dollars it spends comes from taxpayers while it continues to operate in the red.  MOST outrageous about the passing of this bill is that in February the Inspector General offered the MBTA a way to save $60 Million annually just by making what Lombardo claims are common sense reforms.  How can any legislator, in good conscience, pass this bill for $51 million of taxpayer money without first demanding that the $60 Million in cost savings first be exhausted?

Below are the REPUBLICANS that should answer for this vote.  The others simply have far too many votes to answer for.  No money should be given to this, or any other agency without reforms made first.  Common sense is, as Lombardo says, NO REVENUE WITHOUT REFORM.  Why is that such a hard concept for our legislators to comprehend?  REFORM is needed in every aspect of our dysfunctional government, and we, the people, better start demanding it!

The following eight Republicans voted for the MBTA bailout bill, and should be asked WHY?

Peterson (R-Grafton),

Poirier (R-North Attleboro),

Barrows (R-Mansfield),

D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater),

Diehl (R-Whitman),

Howitt (R-Seekonk),

O’Connell (R-Taunton)

Ross (R-Attleboro)

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