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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Promises, promises

Hey Deval. I hope you got the promise from Tim Cahill not to run against you in writing. And that it wasn't in disappearing ink.

Because Treasurer Tim certainly seems like a man with another agenda as he plots a course that is consistent only in that it is diametrically opposite to that of the governor.

Cahill's latest head scratcher is a decision to speak on behalf of the state pension trustees in rejecting Patrick's proposal that the fund invest in Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority bonds to help raise cash for student loans.

Cahill proposes instead that the Legislature come back in special session to pledge $450 million in taxpayers fund to back the bond sale planned within the next two weeks.

And that is a complete reversal of the stand he took in opposing Patrick's plan to use the taxpayers "full faith and credit" to back Massachusetts Turnpike Authority debts.

Cahill says the investment of pension funds in bonds issued by a state authority would be "imprudent." But putting taxpayers dollars behind them is not. A flip, if you will, from the Turnpike Authority situation.

The logic escapes me, but I'm not into high finance.

What doesn't escape me is that Cahill appears to be speaking for a nine-member board that apparently hasn't discussed this issue. And given the make-up of the board, it appears to be a panel that is likely evenly split, at worst:

"It will help struggling families, and it's a good investment for members of the [pension] system," said Theresa McGoldrick, who represents employee unions on the board.

She said investment in the bonds seemed to fit the criteria of a community fund Cahill fought to establish in 2003 that supports local businesses and community interests. The fund provides investments that generally produce slightly lower returns in order to provide broader social and economic benefits.

Has the board met on the issue? Did it vote? I would presume that its actions are public.

Oh, I see. No need to debate this one -- Thus Spake Timmie.

Let's remember this is the same treasurer whose "working group" on ending abuses in the system that allow "terminated" employees to collect immediately is still working on the issue, four years later.

Better check that pledge governor. It carries the full faith and credit of the treasurer.

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