Monday, May 11, 2009

Tolls on the Pike, an illegal tax? A famous lawyer has an idea.

Here's something all of you who have paid tolls (in the last 5 years) at 128 or in the City should be aware of. This action seems to be timely and if won, would force the transportation agencies to get tolls booths up on the North and South of the city.

Go to and see what they have to say about this class action law suit.

A trial lawyer made famous by Hollywood is looking to win some change for Bay State toll-payers in a newly filed class-action suit that takes on the embattled Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

Jan R. Schlichtmann - whose local battle against a chemical company was the basis of the book and film “A Civil Action” - is looking for Pike drivers to join his legal quest for a massive refund.

Schlictmann filed a complaint in Middlesex Superior Court Friday in the name of three Pike-weary drivers who maintain the tolls are an “illegal tax.” because the proceeds from the roadway’s tolls are diverted to other projects. The lawsuit contends 58 percent of Pike tolls are used to finance Big Dig roads.

“It is a Big Dig tax,” Schlichtmann said. “This amounts to an unconstitutional expropriation of money. The argument isn’t that it’s not being used for a good purpose. It’s that you can’t lawfully do that.”

State Pensions... the debate begins in the Senate

According to the Globe, the Senate will take up the task of the pension abuses and reforms. This may sound great, but they (the legislature) are the same people who will benefit from leaving everything alone. Under the existing laws, 93 out of 200 members are on track to be eligible for early enhanced pensions. And guess who else weighs in on this?... the Judges. Now here's a fight worth watching. They have come out against anything that would affect them and their pensions, calling it unfair. It shirley is unfair, when elected officials get an enhanced pension when they are terminated or lost an election. And if these guys live to 80, they give over a half a million in retirement. This boils down to whether the reforms should be retroactive and include everyone in the system now as well as the future.

Also this week... the dreaded Senate budget debate begins. What we all should be concerned with is the raiding of the "rainy day fund" and more importantly, the use of stimulus money to shore up next years revenue losses. Deval has pledged to veto anything that does not have the meaningful reforms he's asked for... but as we know from the past few months, he seems to be exempt from the idea.

The House rejected an amendment last week to make it easier for privatization of State Services. 17 to 141. In essence, they are protecting the State employees from reasonable competition. Bad for us.. good for them... and they are the people who vote.

During the week of May 4 to 8, the House met for 27 minutes and the Senate met for 2 hours.