Monday, December 7, 2009

Facts on the Beacon Hill furlough

As Deval wrestles with the House and Senate on whether to come back and get some things done at the Sate House, Speaker Deleo has issued a statement to the House Reps about the mandated furlough. He has asked all 160 members to take 5 unpaid days off, starting now through June of 2010. The Speaker suggests this move would save 620,000 dollars and avoid more lay offs at the State House.

In the speakers memo, he asks for the furloughs to be voluntary, as under state law, they are not required to do so. The memo states that, "under a constitutional amendment passed by voter referendum, legislators salaries are tied to Mass median household income and CANNOT be involuntarily altered".

The facts: According to the Secretary of the State, legislators have always been able to voluntarily choose to take as many unpaid days as they want, without any furlough program in place, as long as they file the necessary paperwork before June 30, 2010.

As of Dec 3, 139 Reps have opted to take a 5 day furlough, 21 have not. 20 D's and 1 R. Richardson, Sannicandro and Linsky have agreed to take the furlough, which means they will loose 1,100.00 out of the 58K plus they draw as a salary.

This move is more about politics than anything else. Deval wants increased power to cut their salaries, to help balance the budget, but DeLeo and Murray are not having it.... making us believe that 5 days off without pay is all the House can do, when in reality, they all need to be paid a part time salary without the perks. At very least, a 20% cut in pay would be in order, considering, there are 507,000 unemployed residents in Mass out of a work force of 3.1 million.


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