Some Good News On The Massachusetts State Budget

According to today’s Boston Herald, there is actually some good news in the 2014 Massachusetts State Budget. Thanks to the efforts of Sen. William Brownsberger (D-Belmont), Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton) and several others, MBTA pension data will now be subject to the public records law.

The article reports:

But the MBTA’s share of pension contributions increased 42 percent between 2007 and 2011, from $30 million to $52.3 million. Those “contributions” come from you, dear T rider or state taxpayer. Don’t you think you have a right to know what your money is buying?

If Gov. Deval Patrick signs the budget provision as written, you will.

Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton) has been the leader on several taxpayer-friendly legislative initiatives since she has been in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She has worked to end fraud in the electronic benefit transfer card program (EBT) and to eliminate fraud in the Mass Health medical assistance program.

The article reminds us that subjecting the MBTA pension program to the public records law is a step forward, but it also suggests that the governor and legislature should also be subject to that law.


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All Politics Is Local

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill is credited with the quote “All politics is local.” I will admit to having a tendency not to follow local politics, but tonight there was a local political event that was a tribute to both the Democrat and Republican parties.

Tonight was Plainville Candidates Night. The event was sponsored by the Plainville Democratic and Republican Town Committees and was a shining example of successful bi-partisanship.

Representatives for two of the Republican candidates for the U. S. Senate seat spoke at the meeting. Bill Rivers, who represented Michael Sullivan, emphasized Michael Sullivan’s experience as the Plymouth Country District Attorney, U. S. Attorney and with the ATF.  Mr. Rivers pointed out that Michael Sullivan had prosecuted both the shoe bomber and and former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Tom Finneran. Michael Sullivan is tough on crime, and while a U. S. Attorney started a bureau to investigate healthcare fraud. The economy and jobs are his primary issue, and he supports a balanced budget.

Dan Winslow was represented by Justin Henson. Dan Winslow currently serves in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Representative Winslow has served as a Wrentham district judge and as chief legal counsel for Governor Romney. Representative Winslow has been endorsed by Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation. He supports revising the tax code and lowering tax rates. Representative Winslow supports the Second Amendment and has an A+ rating from the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) in Massachusetts.

The evening continued with local candidates–some running unopposed and some running opposed. The evening culminated with the four candidates for the Board of Selectmen–Andrea Soucy, Mark Blinten, Clinton Crocker, and John Mutascio. The final question to each candidate was, “Why You?” There were four distinct answers:

Andrea Soucy–‘Institutional Memory’–experience in negotiating for the town, “knows where the bodies are buried”–knows the organizations in town.

Mark Blinten–young person with new thoughts and new outlooks that could be beneficial–change can be a good thing–wants to bring community together–town needs fresh ideas and new opportunities.

Clinton Crocker–read recommendations and evaluations from two former Wood School principals–interacts and communicates effectively.

John Mutascio–has worked in town and met many residents–volunteered in Plainville–served on the Planning Board for more than a year.

Candidates night was recorded for Cable TV and will be broadcast on Plainville’s local access cable channel. If you are a resident of the town, I strongly suggest you watch the program to learn more about the candidates.


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Hope For Massachusetts

Shaunna O'ConnellLast night I had the pleasure of meeting Massachusetts State Representative Shaunna O’Connell. Shaunna represents the Third Bristol District, which includes most of her hometown of Taunton and Precinct 6 in Easton. Shaunna was elected in 2010. Since taking office she has worked to reform the Electronic Benefits Program (EBT) in Massachusetts, which has been rife with fraud. She has worked for more accountability to the taxpayers of Massachusetts and more transparency in how taxpayer money is spent. We definitely could use more Representatives like Shaunna in Boston.

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