Today was the first time I ever visited and went inside the State House. I participated in the first Tea Party Activist Lobby Day. We meet in the Great Hall of Flags, where each city or town of the Commonwealth is represented by their flags. There was an introduction by Christen Varley of the Greater Boston Tea Party and Empower Massachusetts. State Representatives Paul Adams, Daniel Webster, and Jim Lyons all spoke to the crowd encouraging us to keep involved and working to bring common sense to government. Representative Steven Levy and Marlborough City Councilor Matt Elder spoke about their efforts to bring the Secure Communities Program to Marlborough and the road blocks that Governor Patrick has put in place to stop them.
After lunch and some mingling many of us proceeded to the Gallery to watch the Constitutional Convention. The Constitutional Convention was reconvene on July 13th at about 1:00PM and after some confused activity was adjourned by 1:20PM. The joint session of our legislature was supposed to discuss three important issues. First, raising state income tax from 5.3% to 5.95%, this proposal is aimed at changing our system from a fixed to a variable rate Income tax. Such a move would make it easier for raising taxes and would further weaken fiscal discipline. The second would raise the percentage of signatures needed on citizen amendment petitions from 2% to 6%. This Amendment will reduce the political voice of all the citizens of the Commonwealth. It will make it very expensive and almost impossible for average citizens to use the Initiatives. The third would change the existing Governor's Council in to panel appointed by the Governor. They have been a rubber stamp for the Governors wishes. But since new Councilors who are more independent have been elected those in the “smoke-filled-rooms” want to do away with this voice of the citizens. Taken together these Amendments are a betrayal of democracy and are an obvious attempt to further the control of one political party. These bad ideas are not dead only sleeping until they reconvene. All freedom loving citizens of our Commonwealth need to call your Rep. and Senator about these three Major Amendments that will adversely affect all Massachusetts citizens.
Christen Varley did a superb job of bringing together members of the many Tea Party Groups to bring our concerns and questions to the Legislators of our Commonwealth. After this successful first outing, more events are being planned. Check with your local Tea Party to be informed about future events.