Monday, May 18, 2009

Beacon Hill Roll light at the end of the tunnel

None of you or me should be surprised at what happened last week on the Hill. As you've read here and elsewhere, the changes to the ethics laws have been watered down in many critical areas like accepting gifts, etc. All of this moves to the compromise committee at which time some of Deval's, the House and Senates proposals will be either dropped or combined. One thing that was a surprise to me was that the Senate rejected and amendment to increase the time a former state employee, including legislators could become lobbyists. It is now one year, the proposal was to make it two years and even three years. The role call vote was 6 to 33 in favor of rejecting the amendment.

Bad for us.. good for them

The revenue committee heard testimony of a proposal (H2773) to impose a $5.00 dollar a pack tax on rolling papers if you can believe that. In 2002 the House rejected a $10.00 per pack tax.

Bad for us... good for them

And the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture held a hearing on a few interesting bills. Senate Bill S 384 would establish a 5.00 per motor vehicle tire deposit and a return system. And H 770, a bill to prohibit anyone from releasing 10 or more helium balloons in a 24 hour period and imposing a fine of 250.00. The interesting rub on this bill is that many candidates who run for office at outdoor events, have a tank of Helium and distribute balloons with their names on it. If you have been at the Common Concerts over the years, you will see balloons floating of in the air. I personally think it's good idea to stop the balloons from being dropped in waterways and hurting wildlife. There are though, environmentally safe balloons made of biodegradable materials, which I have used in the past. The idea may be sound, but who is going to monitor this? If you find ten balloons with someones name on it.. will you bring them to the local police? Will cops be monitoring events across the State for the amount of balloons released? Will there be a niche business here, where by gun totting residents are paid to shot down balloons? Might be cheaper than paying fines.


At May 18, 2009 at 12:29 PM , Blogger Junior said...

That regulation on time between when an elected official leaves office and when they can become a lobbyist, I think that should be forever. If they knew that running for an elected office and winning meant they could never be a lobbyist, then maybe some of these people with hidden agendas would not even run for office. Most of them seem to use it as a stepping stone to high paying positions that they would never be able to get if they had not been a legislator. Richardson is a perfect example of that. What kind of job could she get shoeing horses that would pay her the salary she is making as a rep?

At May 18, 2009 at 12:58 PM , Blogger SoxFan said...

What’s the deal on the price of gas going up $.25 in the last 2 weeks? Can’t the legisalture look into that? It can’t be because the cost of oil has gone up, that is actually down, and no hurricanes damaging any oil rigs lateley. I mean, if I am going to have to pay $2.50 for a gallon of gas, plus an additional sales tax, I am not going to be going anywhere or buying anything. How is that going to increase that state revenues? I was just barely making it before the gas price went up. Now I have to cut the amount of driving I do since I don’t have more money to spend on gas. That means less trips to stores. And if the things I buy at the stores go up because of the sales tax, it will mean no trips to stores because I won’t be able to buy anything anyway. But hey, that will save money on my gas bill.

At May 18, 2009 at 1:16 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Excatley why we have so much trouble on the Hill.. Junior. Even when they leave office, they still have a stronger voice than you and I do.
Perhaps she could shoe some horses at the State House.. or is that horses asses?

At May 18, 2009 at 1:22 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

SF... the price per barrel is still going back down... it's speculative profit making that continues to reek havoc on our daily lives.

The increase in gas tax will just make matters even worse and I still believe you will see one before July 4th weekend.

Wait till the end of next quarter when the oil companies report sales and profits... it will be still, the largest amount of money a company made to date. And we all will be so pissed at them... again.

At May 18, 2009 at 1:24 PM , Blogger Not my problem said...

Do you think the proposed tax on rolling papers is in reponse to the Wall Street Journal article on the end of the drug wars? They see this as a potential money maker for them. How much do rolling papers cost anyway? Isn’t a $5 tax more than the cost of the papers?

At May 18, 2009 at 2:12 PM , Blogger Angry Voter said...

I see there is a public hearing on the medical marajuana bill. Are there ever hearings on these types of bills that the public can attend? Or is all this stuff done behind closed doors? And if there is not public hearings on these, then why on some bills but not on others?

At May 18, 2009 at 2:22 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

NMP... there're 2 bucks a pack now. The hemp rolling papers that I buy in a 50 pack case are more and I give them away to coinsures. This tax was proposed a few years ago just to be mean.

If they could tax the air we breath, they would. The increase in rolling papers tax is their way of increasing revenue under the guise of reducing tobacco smoking and marijuana use.

Wait until they get wind of the increasing use of vaporizers. Look for a complete ban on these someday soon.

At May 18, 2009 at 2:48 PM , Blogger abby said...

You use to put up things here that were useful to people, about food pantrys and utility programs. Now it is just about politics, which I guess is fine, but I came here for those other helpful ideas you have not posted much on lately. Do you know anyplace else on the web I can find information about what hours food pantrys are open, what programs are available to keep my electricity and gas on if I can’t pay the bill, and anything about help for foreclosures.

At May 18, 2009 at 3:19 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


check Nov 27th posting for food pantries.

The Salvation Army in Framingham is an excellent resource for help in many ways.

Foreclosure help is still with your bank. They are supposed to offer any programs that will help you stay in your home.

Unfortunately, lousy politics is why we have so many problems in this Town, State and country and I can only write about this stuff when it is happening. Come July when they all leave for the summer, nothing will happen at the State House and thus, my political information will cease.

At May 18, 2009 at 3:34 PM , Blogger Jamie said...

Good information but how about some comment on what we can do about it? Knowing what is going on is important, but being able to influence the outcome is more important. Could be there is really nothing we can do, and if that is the case, would you mind just stating that? And if there is something we can do, then tell us that also. I just don’t know any other way to find this stuff out besides asking you. Sorry to put the burden on you this way. But thanks for all you do.

At May 18, 2009 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


On the right side of this blog is the State House web address.

page down until you see the section called "Legislative Hearings".

This is updated weekly and gives you an idea on how many bills and what they mean, and which committee hears them.

It's a full time job to keep up. The list is of all public hearings. And while each and every one bill is to be made public, some are adopted and passed in the middle of the night with hardly a member around. Many things have snuck in this way and is another shinning example of what's wrong with our State House. It's been like this for decades and is only now, that we face the most serious financial times in our lives, do we look so hard at this now.

At May 18, 2009 at 3:52 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Jamie.. Ok.. will do.

Anyone interested in the Medical MJ Bill, please send a note, hand written or other wise to both the addressee saying you would hope, for the sick and dying here in Massachusetts, you would find it in your hearts to allow doctors to prescribe a useful, non toxic, non habit forming medicine that has been proven effective for thousands of years.

At May 19, 2009 at 10:14 AM , Blogger Frank S. said...

If reading about the state of MA politics does not depress you then you have a pretty strong constitution. The more I read, the more discouraged I get, and the more fearful I get about the situation. Gas prices going up for who knows what reason, food prices going up because of the cost of gas to get the product to the grocery store, electric prices going up because of the increased cost to generate and upgrade the infrastructure which is falling apart, tolls going up because the big dig cost so much and the roads and bridges need repairs, sales tax going up because other tax revenue has gone down. You know, private industry is expected to figure all of these items into their budgets every year, and determine what they need to do to pay for these out of their money. Why is it the state of MA thinks they do not have to do what all other businesses have to do, they just get to ask someone for more money when their cost of doing business goes up. The Federal Government told us last October in no uncertain terms that we were in a very deep economic crisis and that we had to plan accordingly. Why are the people at the state house in MA so surprised by the effects of something they were told about 7 months ago? Either they are dumb as a doorknob, or they were not listening. Either option makes me think they are the wrong people to be in office.

At May 19, 2009 at 4:57 PM , Blogger Derek said...

This is no tunnel, we are on a one way trip to the depths of hell and our state politicians are driving the train.

At May 19, 2009 at 6:51 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

And of coarse, the Senate has just taken a sales tax off the table, in favor of an excise tax... Deval was on TV4 and said he favored a few taxes. Flooding the State House with wheelchairs takes it's toll and is very persuasive. There are those in the Senate that seem to be thinking what I'm thinking. They voted down 28 to 11 You can only tax us so much.. in this economy, while not perusing every reasonable money saving idea, is what I think most people might feel.

Peter and Mary of Peter Paul and Mary.. .sang.... this land is your Land... Help me Rhonda... we have just looked back on 1968. Pass the cross, we're heading home.

Many good things can be said for helping the less fortunate, most reasonable people want to help, as I do and so many of you. But to continue to pay for representation that thinks only of it's self importance and refuses to play fair... is against my better judgment.

I pay.. you pay.. we all pay... for them to represent us... but they don't. If Quinn is being funded and Pacheco not done away with... we are in trouble, tax wise.

These increases in any of the proposed taxes... will never go away. Anything we agree to now... is for the rest of my life. And so will the perks that Beacon Hill has.. that I and the majority of you pay for.

At May 19, 2009 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Clarification.. The senate has taken income tax off the table in favor of the sales tax...


The ultimate in shell games

My I have an increase in taxes for 1 billion ..... please Alex?

Sales Tax... wrong answer
Gas tax.. wrong answer again
Candy, alcahol and tolls.. oh no
All of them....
yes.. we have a winner.


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