POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Massachusetts Republicans Look to Gains in State House

by David Trumbull

March 20, 2009

Earlier this month the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus released its vision of A Better Deal for the Commonwealth: An Alternative Voice on Beacon Hill. The agenda has several specific proposals under each of eight areas where Bay State residents deserve a better deal. Some of the proposals put forward are—

Restoring Public Trust in Elected Officials by increasing penalties for violating lobbying laws, for giving or receiving bribes, for participating in a matter in which a state employee has a financial interest, and for violating the conflict of interest law.

Overhauling the Pension Program including preventing any retirement allowance from being more than four times the average retirement in the Commonwealth. This will eliminate extremely exorbitant retirement packages.

Providing an Efficient & Effective Transportation System by merging the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority with Mass Highway, while transferring all assets and personnel to the state. Savings are estimated at $190 million initially with $23 million per year saved in administrative costs and reduction in personnel expenses.

Ensuring Affordable Healthcare by temporarily suspending the Minimum Creditable Coverage requirements until July 1, 2010. Those who have insufficient insurance currently face a tax penalty.

Renew Commitment to Commonwealth Communities by targeting underperforming school districts for charter school expansion, while lowering the annual financial burden on communities.

Rein in Spending & Promote Sustainable Budgeting by repealing the constitutional provision mandating legislator pay raises.

Protect Your Finances While Putting Money Back in Your Pocket by respecting the will of the voters and reduce the state income tax from 5.3% to 5% by 2012.

Stimulate Business in a Tough Economy by providing a tax credit to small businesses that creates at least five new direct jobs in the Commonwealth.

There is no better time than now for people of all parties and ideologies to accept and embrace the core values promoted by the Republican Party. Our state needs to learn the lesson we’ve been preaching for years, which is to live within our means. Last legislative session, the Majority party spent far too much, the Governor vetoed too little and the Legislature overrode too much. The failure of Question 1 last November was not a sign that residents want to be taxed more, but instead a call for Beacon Hill lawmakers to put their tax dollars to good use in the most efficient and transparent manner possible.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]