Yesterday the Massachusetts Republican Party sent out this statement by Chairman Hughes about the lack of transparency in the budget process.
Democrats on Beacon Hill owe the taxpayers of Massachusetts a more open and accountable budget process. The majority’s lack of transparency on this multi-billion dollar budget is just another example of the excesses of one-party rule in the Legislature. Speaker DeLeo should move debate into the public eye, and let taxpayers see how their money will be spent.”
One of the great equalizers that Republicans have as the minority party is the ability to keep their amendments out of consolidation, and to call for roll calls. It only takes a little less than half of the Republican minority to stand for a roll call, that’s 16 members, in order for a roll call to be recorded.
That is why when you read the fine print on this State House News Story (via the Lowell Sun) you have to scratch your head.
Rep. Geoff Diehl sponsored an amendment to prevent tax dollars from being used “to procure, host, aid, further or remediate the effects of, the 2024 Olympics.” The amendment permitted transportation investments “even if such expenditures may also facilitate procuring, hosting, aiding, furthering, or remediating the effects of, the 2024 Olympics.”
“What we’re trying to avoid is having the taxpayers on the hook for overruns. I urge the membership to pass this amendment so we don’t have to wait for the ballot question to come about and have it passed for us,” said Diehl, whose amendment calling for a privately-funded Olympics surfaced after 8 p.m. Monday.
When Diehl asked for a roll call vote, an insufficient number of both his Democratic and Republican colleagues rose to meet the threshold for a recorded vote. His amendment was then defeated on a voice vote.
Sources tell Red Mass Group that about ten Republican members stood for the Diehl Amendment. Why would Republican members not want to get the body on record on the use of taxpayer money for the Olympics. Polling shows that the public supports Diehl’s conservative approach.
Why did Minority Leader Brad Jones, once again, not have the caucus stand for a conservative’s common-sense budget amendment? Especially when the leader of the Party Kirsten Hughes is calling for more transparency.
The more things change, the more they really stay the same.