New England News
6:08 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Conservative Political Group Rates MA Legislators

A Massachusetts group has released their annual ratings of state lawmakers on taxpayer friendliness. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more on how the legislative session stacked-up…

The Citizens for Limited Taxation rate each lawmaker on how they performed, according to the group’s philosophy, on, as Associate Director of CLT and Director of CLT’s political action committee Chip Faulkner says...

That “anything” for 2011 and 2012 included roll call votes on a bill to roll back the state income tax rate,  but also bills that would have an indirect taxpayer were included. In total, 16 roll call votes were rated in the Senate, and 20 in the House. The group’s ratings show conservative lawmakers with much higher scores on taxpayer friendliness than Democrats. Chip Faulkner explains…

Of the 160 members of the Massachusetts House, 33 are Republicans. Only 5 of 40 lawmakers in the Senate are Republicans.

Members of the Berkshire delegation received some of the lowest rankings from the conservative group. Pittsfield Senator Ben Downing received 6% rating, and 3rd Berkshire District Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier’s rating stood at 8%. Rep. Bouvier dismissed the rating and stood by her legislative decisions, including voting for the health care “cost containment bill” which was signed into law, voting against an immigration policy bill, and voting against Electronic Benefit Transfer – or EBT- reform – opposite the CLT’s opinion.

For example, A state commission found that EBT cards were being used to purchase pornography, tattoos, out-of-state travel expenses, and more. A bill introduced by Representative Shauna O’Connell would increase penalties for misuse as part of EBT reform, and a platform was adopted in the House’s annual budget proposal. Rep. Bouvier voted against the bill, saying  previously while she does agree that fraud should be put under control, and supports the penalties included for trafficking EBT cards, she said that the House version did not do enough to control where the cash obtained from withdrawls can go. She mentioned that she would rather go with the s and that she would rather go with the State Commission’s recommendations. Her vote against the measure opposite CLT’s opinion contributed to a lower rating.

The House’s EBT reform plan was rejected in their annual budget proposal by Gov. Deval Patrick.

More information can be found here.