(Looks like the Caucus is united in this. That is good. Come back to formal session. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
I’m extremely disappointed by the political gamesmanship on display in the House of Representatives this week, but I can’t say I’m surprised.
Sadly, spending hundreds of millions of dollars without debate or the opportunity for amendment appears to have become business as usual on Beacon Hill. This supplemental spending bill includes loads of new spending for agencies beyond what the Legislature approved only 90 days ago. It funds $11 million of pay raises for public employees and it includes over a hundred outside sections setting new policy for our state.
We all know this is not the time to be handing out pay raises, when so many people in the private sector are hurting and struggling to make ends meet. Debating these decisions and reaching a consensus is why we have a Legislature in the first place. But this bill is not open to such treatment. That’s wrong for Massachusetts taxpayers, and it’s bad precedent for our democratic process.
We face a $2 billion budget shortfall next year, and the spending decisions we make right now have a profound effect on our ability to address that gap without new taxes. For the third straight day, I have objected to this half-billion-dollar spending bill moving forward out of deep concern for its effects on Massachusetts taxpayers. I have had discussions with House Ways and Means Chairman Murphy on how to pare back the spending in the bill. Today, I offered to remove my objections to the bill’s passage if the Democrats would agree to defer the collective bargaining agreements. That was rejected.
I have been assured by my Republican colleagues that an objection will be in place for the remainder of the evening and that no action will be taken on the bill tonight. As for tomorrow, I will be back at the Statehouse to continue discussions with my colleagues.