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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Deval Patrick and the Supremes

And you thought Deval Patrick challenged the court system to a duel with a budget proposal to take the patronage-laden probation system out of the courts' hands and into his own.

The Herald is reporting the Supreme Judicial Court itself is the target of a pension loophole bill the governor plans to file today. a key provision of a pension reform package. That should spark some interesting discussions high above Pemberton Square.

It seems the state's top judges don't pay into the pension system under a 1970s law. That doesn't mean they don't collect a pension, mind you. Everyone else has to contribute 5 to 11 percent of their salary for the retirement benefit that replaces Social Security among Massachusetts government employees.

One of those helpful unnamed sources tells the Herald:
"It’s basically a question of fairness. We all have to contribute to our pensions.”
It will be interesting to see whether the justices agree.

An obviously less helpful source told the Globe the bill is designed to close the loopholes that lawmakers left in the pension reform legislation approved last year. The proposal would cap the amount a retiree can bring in annually and put an end to bills that benefit specific individuals by name unless they include a detailed cost analysis from state and local pension officials.

The courts as personal employment agencies and nice pension arrangements have traditionally been two of the perks of legislative service. Lawmakers swallowed a lot of things they didn't like in last year's bill but drew a proverbial line in the sand at some sacred traditions -- like sucking up to the courts.

It will be interesting to see if this bill sees the light of day anywhere -- except the campaign trail.

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Blogger Readwriteblue said...

“…the bill is designed to close the loopholes that lawmakers left in the pension reform legislation…”

Are you saying that there are still loopholes in the Pension reform that our governor championed and signed last year? To me it would seem that our Governor is only giving lip service to Pension and Ethics reform. Considering that we have seen a parade of convictions of state legislators from the Federal courts, perhaps the Governor could urge his Attorney General to investigate what is going on in the State House. As a citizen of the Commonwealth I don’t remember hearing about new enforcement initiatives stemming from the Pension and Ethics reform. I do remember that the Governor and the Attorney General were able to work together on the issue of utility regulation.


But those that suffered for weeks with out electricity after the 2008 Ice Storm don’t feel they were well served by their Government. Sunshine could be a solution to our ethics problems as well as our energy problems.

January 26, 2010 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its not that the Governor didn't try to end pension abuse. But in order to get it passed you have to get it by 180 people (40 Senators/ 140 Representatives) who are against hurting their friends and family enjoying great pension beenfits at the expense of the taxpayer.

January 26, 2010 6:34 PM  

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