Today I tried to amend the supplemental budget to remove $11 million in pay raises for public employees, but the leadership refused to accept the amendment and under the rules of the informal session I was not allowed even to request a roll call. There is something seriously wrong when $400 million in spending can be approved by the Legislature without a single word of debate or a recorded vote.
Over the period of time this bill has been making its way through the building, I have tried to call the public’s attention to the manner in which business is conducted at the State House. Debate is discouraged, all the decisions are made behind closed doors without public participation, and when legitimate questions are raised, threats are issued to close prisons or shut down homeless shelters. Through my actions, I hope I have been able to shine a light on this dysfunctional and irresponsible process.
Now that the bill is moving to Governor Patrick’s desk, I call on him to veto the public employee raises in the bill. Of all the new spending in the bill, the most egregious are the salary increases. Pay raises should not be considered now, when so many of our fellow citizens are either out of work or struggling to make ends meet. The veto is the only mechanism still left to instill responsibility in the process and protect taxpayers from inappropriately-timed spending.