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They Said It!

Here is our collection of some of the more memorable quotes from the ongoing budget debate in Massachusetts. (Quotes were compiled from various media sources.)



“The health care safety net is not only frayed, it is in tatters, and there is no room for further assaults on our health care system. As nurses, we have seen the human toll our lack of investment in health care has taken. It’s time to invest in the well being of our citizens, not to support draconian policies that will harm them.”

– Julie Pinkham, Executive Director, Massachusetts Nurses Association


” There are still a lot of issues that we agree on with the Speaker. He’s a lot more of a Republican than he is a Democrat.”

– Rep. Brad Jones, House Republican Leader, discussing the relationship between House Republicans and House Speaker Thomas Finneran, Boston Phoenix, August 15, 2003


“Today we are taking $110 million and we are saying it’s going to help economic development at the same time the Legislature has passed a budget that will result in the layoffs of thousands of public employees. Municipalities are going to lay off police, firefighters and teachers because of cuts in local aid. Through our actions in the budget, we will be further depressing this economy. Yet we are taking $110 million and giving it to a handful of private companies without any assurance that it will create jobs. . . . If I had $110 million to spend, I would want to make sure every poor person had equal access to justice, that every special needs student had equal access to education. I would call that economic development.”

– Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) on the by the Democratic leadership proposal to give $110m to biotech companies, 6/15/03, State House News Service report


“If this isn’t a proposal for a pro-business governor, then I don’t know what is.”

– Peter Larkin (D-Pittsfield), 7/03, praising a plan by the Legislative leadership to spend $110m of tobacco settlement money on handouts to corporations


“SHAME!”
– sign held at State House rally for a fair budget, 6/30/03


“Governor Romney and the Democratically-controlled Legislature are about to pass a budget for fiscal 2004 that is going to wreak havoc on the people of this state.”

– Chuck Turner, Boston City Counciler, at the State House rally on 6/30/03


“At the State House, poor and working people have no friends and it is reflected in how programs and services are funded at the state level. “

– Horace Small, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, 6/26/03, quoted in the Bay State Banner


“A library closing in Massachusetts is an abomination. We should all be appalled.”

– Krista MacLeod, president of the Massachusetts Library Association, commenting on the closing of the Ashburnham library due to state budget cuts, 6/16/03


“I couldn’t be more pleased that we have a budget coming out of the House of Representatives that has balance… and a tax burden that has been kept level.”

– Gov. Mitt Romney, 5/9/03


“We’re giving businesses a tax break for something they would have done anyway, even while we’re gutting one of the commonwealth’s most important programs for children.”

– Rep. James Marzilli (D-Arlington) on House decision to give a $32 million/year investment tax break given to businesses rather than apply money to restore service cuts, 5/2/03


“Even in tough economic times, snatching health coverage away from the needy is indefensible.”


– Boston Globe editorial, “A sickening system”,Tuesday, April 1, 2003

” It’s a dark day for seniors in the Commonwealth. The governor has abandoned them, and now the House has as well.”


– Deborah Banda, state director of AARP, commenting on the state budget released by the House Ways & Means Committee [Boston Globe, 4/24/03]

“The budget released today by the House Ways and Means Committee undermines health, education and the environment, and represents a triumph of special interests over the urgent needs of the people of Massachusetts.”

– Dr. Jill Stein, President, Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, 4/23/03


“This is a bad news budget for our communities, our schoolchildren, and everyone who cares about police and fire protection, fiscal stability and a good quality of life here in Massachusetts. If these massive local aid cuts go through, people across the state will see their local services decline and their property taxes go up.”

– Geoff Beckwith, Director, Massachusetts Municipal Association, [4/24/03]


“We are pleased to see the House is following our lead.”

– Eric Kriss, Gov. Romney’s Administration and Finance Secretary, [SHNS 4/23/03]


“We will cut spending, and we will cut spending dramatically. . . That is, in fact, the necessity.”

– Speaker Thomas Finneran (D- Mattapan)[SHNS, 4/23/03]


“It’s going to be a bloodbath.”

– Rep. Philip Travis (D-Rehoboth, describing the budget debate that would result under new House rules


“There is absolutely no reason why we today should disallow ourselves to have that debate. How do we serve the people by not allowing that debate to happen? When I raised this question, they said it’s too hard for Ways and Means to organize this. The difficulty this presents the Ways and Means Committee will rob six million state residents their right to have a full budget debate.”

– Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton)speaking against new House rules that would prevent open debate of the FY04 budget by giving more power to the Finneran-controlled Ways and Means Committee. Despite Balser’s plea, the rules limiting debate were approved by a vote of 98-45 on March 26, 2003.


“The current Fiscal Year 2003 budget includes over $1 billion in one-time revenues that can only be addressed by budget cuts in Fiscal Year 2004.”

– Speaker Thomas Finneran (D- Mattapan)[statement on Tom Finneran website]


“You get all these kinds of social problems. . .Poor folks, it’s easy access, it’s very seductive.”

– Diane Kessler, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, expressing concern over Romney Administration proposal to license 7200 new slot machines to raise state revenues, 3/30/03


“They are going to cost society more but they are not necessarily going to cost the state.”

– Douglas Brown, acting commissioner of the state Division of Medical Assistance, referring to the 50,000 people who are losing their Medicaid health insurance due to state budget cuts, 3/25/03


“The savings that we can expect through these efficiencies and reforms will solve only a fraction of the enormous problem. The true difficulty lies in the necessary task of cutting as much as $2 billion in programs, services and aid.”

– John H. Rogers (D-Norwood), Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee, 3/3/03


“There’s some sense that we gave up some authority in order for him to go ahead and be able do things quickly and that he really hasn’t gone far enough. . . One of the reasons we gave him those powers is because with 160 people being a deliberative body, we can’t do things as quickly as he can.”

– Rep. Lida Harkens (D-Needham) expressing dissatisfaction with the fact that Governor Romney did not make enough cuts to balance the FY03 budget after the Legislature ceded this authority to him.


“A cut to local aid is a cut to public education, period.”

– Bob Duffy, spokesman for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, replying to a Romney Administration claim that they were not cutting education, although they were cutting “local aid”, 2/26/03


“If we have to make some difficult decisions on the local aid side, to continue necessary and vital programs for people in crises, we’ll do it. That would be my priority,”

– Senate President Robert Travaglini endorsing the concept of reducing cuts to social services by making deeper cuts to local aid, 2/12/03


“The speaker explained to me in very candid terms that I needed to be with leadership (on votes) more often than I was.”

– Rep. Harriet Stanley (D-West Newbury), discussing why she was thrown off the health care committee and replaced by a Finneran loyalist [Boston Herald, 2/4/02]


“Now we are back at square one with this back-door sleazy attempt to raise salaries without a floor debate or even any public discussion.”

– Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, on move by Speaker Finneran to enact pay raises for his top lieutenants without debate[Boston Herald, 2/4/03]


“I believe in a Legislature where there is no fear.”

– Rep. Byron Rushing, explaining why he decided to run against Rep. Thomas Finneran for Speaker of the House, 12/16/02


“I sent him a note telling him that I felt I had found my ideological soulmate.”

– House Speaker Thomas Finneran (D-Mattapan)on his reaction to hearing Romney aide Eric Kriss outline Romney’s fiscal philosophy, radio interview, David Brudnoy Show, WBZ Radio, 1/10/03

Editors Note: It seems like ex-generals and ex-colonels have taken over the job of news commentary these days. So we’ve included our own cautionary quote from an ex-general, one of the most respected of all who wore the uniform.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. . . This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children.”

– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

  

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