Mass Fiscal Alliance Highlights Key Amendments to 2015 House Budget

(I am covering this live today. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

Group urges House members to take public votes and pass all these taxpayer-friendly changes

Boston, MA: The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which advocates for right-of-center fiscal, economic, and good-government policies, released today a list of taxpayer-friendly amendments to the  FY2015 House budget, for which debate starts next week, and encouraged House members to support them. The group also announced that it would score all roll call votes cast on those amendments. The MassFiscal scorecard can be viewed here.

“This bipartisan group of amendments, introduced by 10 representatives from across the Commonwealth, deal with a wide range of topics, including the MBTA, the Pacheco Law, the Health Connector, and tax rates,” stated Paul Craney, the group’s executive director. “However, all of the amendments have one thing in common: their inclusion in the budget would represent a meaningful step forward toward achieving cost savings for taxpayers and more honest government for all residents of the Commonwealth.”

The amendments, the full list of which appears below the jump, represent a tiny fraction of the 1,175 filed. This year’s amendment process was marred by a series of new leadership-backed rules preventing members from offering proposals to raise local aid levels and providing less than 3 days to draft any amendments at all.

“Despite House leadership’s best efforts, those representatives who favor better and more effective government were still able to offer several positive changes. We do regret that they weren’t able to have more time to propose more ideas along the same lines,” Craney concluded.

Full List of Amendments Referenced

#2 (Jones) Health Connector Cost Study: Calls for a review of the financial impact of the failure of the Health Connector website

#46 (Jones) Highly Paid State Employee Compensation Study: Calls for a study and report on state employees’ compensation, with a focus on those collecting a salary over $100,000

#129 (Fattman) An Amendment to abolish the death tax: Massachusetts is one of only 19 states in the country that collects such a tax. This would eliminate it.

#131 (Fattman) An Amendment to stop the practice of paying for legislators gas to drive to work: This would abolish the per diem for newly elected legislators beginning with the next General Court.

#237 (Michlewitz) MBTA Pension Fund Information: This will make available all retirement information for all current, former, and future MBTA employees and retirees.

#575 (Beaton) Gas Tax Display: Require a clear and visible statement of the current taxes included in the price of gas at all dispensaries.

#576 (Kuros) CORI Checks for ACA Navigators: Call for CORI Checks for Obamacare Navigators.

#786 (O’Connell) One-year adjustment period for new regulations: This would provide a year grace period before any new regulation can be enforced.

#823 (O’Connell) Yearly Audit of Taxpayer Funded Programs: Requires an annual audit of DTA

#834 (Cole) Require Five Public Hearings Before A Tax Increase: This would require the legislature to hold five public hearings before passing a tax increase.

#845 (O’Connell) Relative to auditing state issued credit cards: Directs the state auditor to conduct an audit on all state-issued credit cards.

#1081 (Howitt) Municipalities Regarding the Pacheco Law: Exempts municipalities from the Pacheco Law

when local money is being used for the project.

#1123 (Kuros) An Amendment Encouraging Business Growth: This proposes that the business filing fee and annual report fee be lowered to $125.

#194, #195, #594, #596 (Lombardo and Lyons) These amendments call to roll back the income and sales tax to

5% as voted on by the taxpayers in 2000.

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