Wednesday, February 19, 2020

State Rep David Nangle charged with corruption

The big news on Beacon Hill yesterday was actually huge news: The arrest of state Rep. David Nangle, a top House leader and a member of the Ethics Committee, on a long, long list of corruption charges that add up to a “systemic pattern of theft and fraud,” as U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office announced. CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) have more on the charges, allegedly and ultimately tied to the Lowell Democrat’s “extensive gambling” debts.

Here’s a sampling of some of the headlines: “Nangle spent over $111K in campaign funds at three restaurants to conceal debts he owed them” (MassLive) and “Cash withdrawals, casino trips and golf club memberships” (also MassLive). From the Lowell Sun: “Nangle arrives in federal courtroom in handcuffs and shackles, pleads not-guilty.” Meanwhile, from CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “DeLeo calls Nangle allegations ‘serious and troubling.’”

Needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr is having a field day. And the Globe’s editorial board argues “it shouldn’t always take the Feds to fight corruption at the state level."

The Globe did a great piece on Nangle as well. Basically, he is charged with two dozen charges of alleged fraud dating back to 2014.  From what I can read, Nangle has a gambling habit and used campaign money (70K) to fund his addiction as well as bilking 300,000 in loan money he wasn't qualified to recieve. And of coarse cheated the IRS out of their money. He is also one of Bob DeLeo's floor bosses and is also on the Ethics Committee.

One point that everyone should get from this is, it's the Feds who are prosecuting Nangle, not our own AG Maura Healey, the Globe's lead editorial today makes this point clear.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mass Cannabis tax revenue. not going where it was intended.

I'm sure our readers are tired of me writing about pot and the failure of our elected leaders to abide by the will of the voter, but I had to write about this:

The Globe reports that the excise tax revenue from pot sales (81 million) would be split between 5 causes, public health, public safety, municipal police training, illness prevention and assistance for communities hit hard by the drug war. The law is vague in how the money is divided up among all 5 and it appears that most of the money is going to the state's Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, including treatment for the uninsured, criminal defendants and impaired-driving offenders.

Like the gas tax and cigarette tax which was supposed to go to specific causes like road repair and tobacco cessation programs, part of the pot excise tax that was ear marked for communities ravaged by the drug war is being used elsewhere.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Remember the Bottle Bill... is it time to expand it?

This subject has now been put on the front burner of the recycling crisis. Environmentalists and others are asking Beacon Hill to include other bottles now not covered by the bottle bill of years ago. They want to add wine and nips, bottle water and sports drinks. Some of you might remember back in 014 when there was a ballot question, to expand the bottle bill and you may also remember it being defeated, mainly over the bottling industry who spent 9 million in opposition advertising.
 I would vote in favor of expanding the bottle bill, including making the deposit a .10 fee.
Both sides have testified before the appropriate committees, but I don't have a sense where the bills will end up.
One point of the recycling crisis is the number of redeemable bottles that are not going back to the stores or redemption centers. The original bottle bill mandated bottle manufactures to kick in 3 cents for every bottle made, to the redemption centers and another 2 cents to package stores. The updated bottle bill would go from 5 cents to 10 cents.
We are just tossing redeemable bottles in the recycle bins and losing money from the State. If the bottles are not going back to be redeemed, the State keeps the money. For those of you who need proof that we are tossing our redeemable s in the recycle carts, just watch for the bottle lady with huge bags of redeemable bottles blocking the streets of Framingham as she heads toward the redemption facility in downtown.
An elected official or officials need to take charge of this recycling problem and take radical steps in finding solutions to this issue. Or before we tax payers know it, the cost of recycling will be 1 million dollars a year, perhaps even its own enterprise fund, like water and sewer bills that we get every quarter.