OP-ED: How Huge Is Your State Legislator’s Pay Raise?
Oct 19, 2017 02:45AM
● By Brian Genest
The Democrats on Beacon Hill have made their priorities clear.
Raises for legislators? Yea! A balanced state budget? Nay!
The state budget for fiscal year 2018 is a record $39.4 billion. There’s only one
small problem: the state doesn’t have the money. Or expect to have the money. So, over the summer, Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed $320 million in spending – less than 1% of the total budget.
(Let’s put state spending in perspective. Next year, $2 billion will be shelled out on healthcare for illegal immigrants through Mass Health. Local aid – the tax dollars sent back to the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts for schools, public safety, public works and other critical needs – is expected to be just over $1 billion. In other words, illegal aliens will get about double the amount of money for healthcare that the taxpayers who pay all the bills will get for everything else via local aid. There’s no Democrats like Massachusetts Democrats!)
But fear not. State legislators took swift action during these tough times. They voted themselves a pay raise and cashed in to the tune of $18 million.
State Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) got an 11% raise and State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) got a 62% raise.
In Lowell, State Sen. Eileen Donoghue hauled in an 87% pay raise. Nice “work” if you can get it. State Rep. Tom Golden and State Rep. Dave Nangle both got 60% raises. State Rep. Rady Mom got an 11% raise. But there’s no money for a permanent Rourke Bridge.
Highway robbery? Yea! Less spending? Nay!
Next, Democrat state legislators proceeded to override the governor’s vetoes and spend money the state doesn’t have. So far, the House has restored all $320 million in spending. The Senate has also begun the process and is expected to basically follow suit. They can’t even cut less than 1% from the budget! (MassFiscalScorecard tracks some of the override votes by legislator.)
Colleen Garry was so busy overriding the governor’s vetoes recently, in fact, she didn’t bother to show up for a hearing on the bill she filed to silence free and protected political speech. And the bill was blasted by those of us who did show up.
ICYMI: Barbara L’Italien is busy running for Congress in a district she doesn’t live in. Can you say carpetbagger in high heels?
BTW, overriding the governor’s vetoes to engage in deficit spending isn’t anything new. Legislators took similar actions on the 2017 and 2016 budgets, too. They spend, whether the state has the dough or not.
Who really cares about the numbers? Or the high taxes? After all, when the Democrats keep up their favorite pastime, we all know their hearts are in the right place – and their heads are stuck up their own rear ends.
Here’s an idea: Make legislative raises proportional to local aid increases. Colleen Garry would be able to collect her 11% raise – as soon as she delivers an 11% increase in local aid to Dracut and Tyngsborough.
Why doesn’t Colleen Garry file a bill to make that a law? (More failed Proposition 2 ½ overrides are clearly not the answer to help our schools!)
In the meantime, here’s another idea: Why don’t Colleen Garry and Barbara L’Italien donate their raises to the towns they are supposed to serve? Ditto over in Lowell.
But don’t hold your breath.
There’s only one consistent rule when it comes to the Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature…
Spend away? Yea! Fiscal discipline? Nay!
– Brian Genest is a member of the Dracut Republican Town Committee. His household budget is balanced, just like your family’s.