Attention Westford residents… The EPA is MANDATING increased funding for “Stormwater Management”. How should this be funded? Through a TAX or FEE? Listen to the difference between the two. Who should have jurisdiction over taxation? The Selectman or We the People?
The Green “New Steal” is here. Like a stealthy, aggressive weed it will be creeping into the municipal budgets of all 350 cities and towns in this Commonwealth and will soon start sucking the financial lifeblood out of taxpayers. Most of them won’t even know it. Like a famished lamprey, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will be directly attaching itself to each and every municipal budget in the Commonwealth, forcing local officials to pay for compliance with its storm-water management mandates. Under the Clean Water Act, the federal government has the authority to hold municipalities responsible for the purity of water run-off, that flows into lakes, rivers and streams after it rains.
What happened to federalism you say, the principle that keeps the federal government out of our backyard ? Your ever progressive state legislature opened the door to direct EPA oversight back in 2013 by declining a state option to take over storm-water compliance, making Massachusetts only one of four states to do so. The legislature refused to assume this responsibility, which would have allowed for more flexibility in compliance and a far less financial impact on municipalities. They rejected it because it would have entailed a 9.5M state budget commitment. They had better things to do with your tax money, than to ensure clean water. That decision subjected your city and town to direct oversight by the EPA, something that generally happens only by court order.
As the program rolls out, it is being met by a wide range of responses. As to be expected, Milton and Brookline happily coughed up the money. Lowell and Franklin, however, raised objections and are appealing the assessment of the EPA. The Dracut Town Meeting approved an enterprise fund for compliance, but failed to put any money in it. Many cities and towns aren’t even aware of the assessments yet.
One of the most surreptitious compliance schemes offered thus far, is that undertaken by the Town of Westford MA. They intend to fund the compliance effort through the imposition of mandatory fees on every property owner, who maintains a roof over their head, or a hardtop driveway in their yard. This approach makes King George III’s “tea tax” appear whimpish. To get out of the tea tax, all you had to do was give up tea. To get out of Westford’s “rain tax”, you have tear up your driveway and remove the roof on your home.
In an upcoming fall town meeting, the Westford selectmen will roll out a fee schedule, that will pro-rate assessments based upon estimated units of “impervious surface”, which is the total amount of hardtop and roofing on a particular property. This wily approach is fraught with some risk. The most obvious is that the fee scheme may actually be a de-facto property tax, which would by law require the selectmen to move forward utilizing the proposition 2 ½ override process. The Westford selectmen don’t want to go through that, because they fear the measure might not pass. Instead, they have decided to portray their financial imposition as a fee, which allows them not only to circumvent the proposition 2 ½ process, but leaves the Town Meeting out of the rate setting discussion altogether, hence taxation without representation.
This gambit runs the risk that their fee scheme may be challenged under the Emerson Rule, a decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which requires among other things that fees be voluntary. Those assessed must have a chance to opt out. The selectmen claim that they meet this legal standard because they are willing to grant reductions to property owners for improvements that reduce storm water flow on any particular property. Their argument is illusionary however, because they have admitted that the amount of credits they can grant is limited. At some point a financial wall will be met, where the granting of credits will undermine the funding for the compliance effort, and no further deferments can be given.
To gain a deferment, property owners would have to make significant investments to reconstruct their driveways and roofs, which for many would be cost prohibitive. If the selectmen lose this gambit and someone successfully sues, a state court could order the return of all the revenue gained, putting the town in a financial world of hurt.
And what will this new revenue pay for ? Based on a roll out of anticipated expenditures in Westford, about 25% of the new funds will be earmarked for new staff and administrative equipment to issue compliance reports to the federal government. Another 25% will go to relieve current financial commitments on infrastructure bonds. The rest will be directed to actual operations, which involve purchasing street sweepers, up-scaling culverts and mains, and installing electronic leak detection equipment. Municipal Department heads love this proposal because it will free previously encumbered general fund revenue for redistribution in the town budget making this in effect a backdoor proposition 2 ½ override.
This is a snapshot of the turmoil that has arisen due to the decision by our state legislature to defer jurisdiction over federal storm-water compliance. Perhaps what is most unfair, is the fact that state roads and highways are perhaps the most significant contributors to storm water runoff. Rather than assume their rightful financial responsibility for this, our legislature decided to push this onto local taxpayers. If you are interested in how this matter is being handled by your city or town, contact the person in charge of your municipal water infrastructure, or your assessor and ask them. Some municipalities have levied the assessment administratively, without anyone even knowing. If you notice that your family budget is missing a few hundred dollars at the end of the year, it’s a good bet it was probably appropriated by the “Green New Steal”.
– Dennis Galvin
On September 10, 2019, there was a hearing on House Bill 3841, titled “An Act to require public universities to provide medication abortion.” This bill would require all of our public college and university campuses to fund abortion centers for chemically-induced abortions.
There is significant concern over the safety of chemically-induced abortions. This can be a grueling multi-day process where a drug is given orally at the first office visit. The pill causes the lining of the uterus to break down. Then, tablets are taken orally or inserted vaginally about 36 to 72 hours after the first pill. The tablets cause contractions that expel a dead baby. Painful and risky side effects include cramping, contractions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy bleeding, hemorrhage, and infection. The procedure is unsuccessful up to 10% of the time with the potential of requiring an additional, risky surgical procedure. This terrible process that girls and young women go through can make them feel ashamed, frightened, alone, and forsaken. To call these facilities “health centers” is a misnomer, unless you think that killing infant human beings and forcing mothers to go through dangerous multi-day procedures is health.
This Bill would lead to more abortion-industry PROFIT without regard for the suffering of our young mothers and the condemning-to-death of babies growing in the womb. To the abortion industry, chemical abortions are a quick, cheap product they can sell, requiring no surgical equipment, doctor, or hospital. Our college students, who are unsuspecting consumers, are given every reason under the sun to go through with abortion. What mothers really need are resources to help them financially, emotionally, and physically to have the baby and keep it or give it up for adoption to a loving family. Fortunately, there are many such pregnancy centers throughout Massachusetts to help mothers in need.
With this proposed law, tuition and fees would be used to fund abortions. College administrators would have no recourse or ability to adjust to parental concerns. As if tuition and fees aren’t already high enough, now they would be increased along with your added tax dollars to pay for abortions. In effect, this bill turns public university and college health centers into abortion mills. Our daughters deserve better than the horror being pushed by the abortion industry. You will see the reality of chemical (and surgical) abortions by watching the movie, Unplanned, which depicts the personal and career life of Abby Johnson a past Planned Parenthood Director. Challenge your legislators to go see Unplanned HERE. Let them know you are opposed to colleges and universities being made into abortion mills as depicted so well in the movie.
There is a ballot initiative happening right now to help stop taxpayer funded abortion. 100,000 signatures are needed by November 20, 2019 to get this measure on the 2022 ballot. Please sign up to volunteer HERE. You can find more information at StopTaxpayerAbortion.org.
– Kathy Lynch
I have decided to run for re-election as your representative to the Massachusetts Republican State Committee. Since 2016, when I was first elected, a lot has happened in our nation and state. Confidence in our Federal government has eroded, following an attempt to remove our elected President from office, through rogue actions of the FBI, CIA and Justice Department. Our President has faced vicious personal attacks on a daily basis intended to undermine his efforts to bring security and prosperity to our people. Our state government finds itself in crisis as recent revelations about the MBTA, the Mass State Police and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, demonstrate massive incompetence and corruption. Radicals are espousing the curtailment of our basic rights, and in some case are encouraging violence to intimidate our citizens from expressing themselves, and from participating in our democracy. The Republican party has become their primary target.
I have been very active trying to meet the challenges we face as a society and as a party. Our first order of business must be to organize and develop an effective party organization that can hold government accountable, and defend against the assaults we are facing daily. The Massachusetts Republican Party has for the last decade been unable to do this, consequently your liberty, prosperity, safety and security are at risk.
However, there is cause for hope. In January of 2019, following the most disastrous political year the party has ever experienced, I along with other reformers were able to elect former state representative Jim Lyons as chair. Since taking office, he has worked tirelessly to identify and correct problems within the party, which have impeded its effectiveness. He is facing serious challenges in his effort to do this and will need strong support from the state committee membership. I intend to provide that support. He has included me on his reform team. I have recently been appointed as chair of the by- law committee and I am now a member of the Executive Committee.
After all the struggle, sacrifice and frustration, that we have shared over the course of the many years of our mutual political efforts, there is finally a real opportunity to bring the people of Massachusetts an authentic and competitive Republican party. I need your continued support in order to do my part to make this happen. I am asking for your vote during the Massachusetts Presidential primary in March of 2020. Thank you.
Dennis J. Galvin
Republican State Committee
Kathy Lynch announces candidacy for March 3rd, 2020 Republican State Committeewoman election
Chair of the Westford Republican Town Committee, Kathy Lynch has achieved the necessary certified signatures to join President Trump on the Republican Presidential Primary Ballot on Super Tuesday. Kathy Lynch looks forward to meeting the voters of the First Middlesex District of Lowell, Groton, Tyngsborough, Pepperell, Dunstable, and her hometown of Westford.
Lynch declared, “As a former Republican candidate for State Representative, I understand firsthand the critical need for a strong base of organized Republican activists to break the Democrat super-majority riddling our Commonwealth with corruption and a lack of governmental transparency. Each Republican City and Town committee needs the resources, guidance, and support to grow, and then support Republican candidates up and down the ticket. My experience with multiple Republican campaigns can help other Republican candidates achieve success on Election Day!”
Lynch helped organize and conduct a number of recent political leadership and activist trainings to teach participants how the political process works and to equip and empower them to be effective change agents for life, liberty and overall good government. Recently, Lynch attended rallies at the Boston State House and testified against several bills that threaten the protection of life and go against the rule of law. Said Lynch, “I’m appalled at the utter lack of respect for life and the rule of law that is displayed in this predominantly-leftist legislature. We need more conservatives standing up for what we believe is right and true. I, for one, will do my part to help make that happen.” The vote for Republican State Committeewoman will occur at the 2020 Presidential Primary on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 — just six months from now.
The Republican State Committee is the governing body of the Massachusetts Republican Party and is comprised of one man and one woman from every State Senate District across the Commonwealth. The responsibilities include voting on the party platform and rules, building the party, and recruiting and supporting candidates at every level of government. The Massachusetts Republican Party is now under new leadership with Chairman Jim Lyons, a former State Representative intensely focused on growing the conservative grassroots. Many, including Lynch, are happy with the reform and new direction of the party under his leadership.
Sept. 3, 2019
Selectmen and Finance Committee to Go on Record With Recommendations This August
The discussion about how to fund compliance costs for an EPA imposed management plan continues in earnest this month. The Board of Selectmen have decided to delay their decision on whether to back a fee or a tax approach until their August 27, 2019 meeting. The Finance Committee will also opine on this issue at a meeting scheduled for 7.00PM at Town Hall on Tuesday August 13th. One issue for discussion is town counsel’s recent report, which endorsed imposition of the fee approach. However, the report contained information that would seem to undermine town counsel’s own position.
Town Counsel revealed that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue took issue with the “fee” approach. The Department has apparently informed the town that the proposed “fee” scheme is “a tax not a fee”. Additionally, town counsel’s analysis of the so-called “Emerson Rule”, a rule established by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, to differentiate between fees and taxes, offered substantial ammunition to anyone, who might seek to challenge the “fee”. The analysis presented a three pronged test, established by the state’s highest court, to determine the difference between fees and taxes.
One element of the test is “particularization”. Under this element, the town must show that any fee imposed on a rate payer, goes to support a service, which exclusively benefits the rate payer, and no one else. If it can be shown that the service offers benefits beyond the rate payer, the fee is a tax. Considering the fact that the stated intent of the storm-water program is to ensure clean water for the entire population, not just the rate payers, it would seem that an argument could be made that a fee system would fail this test.
A second test is “voluntariness”. The town must show that the property owners, who are assessed fees, have the opportunity to refuse the service. This is an extremely high bar that the “fee” proponents must clear. Town counsel has advised the Board of Selectmen, that property owners can avoid the fee by removing all impervious surfaces on their properties. Yet, this would be cost prohibitive for many. In order to avoid the fee, property owners would have to tear-up all their hardtop, and make significant modifications to their roofs. On its face this would appear absurd and hardly voluntary. The rate payers would be forced into these expensive modifications, because of a compulsion generated by state action. If the town’s property owners did remove or mitigate their impervious surfaces, and fees were avoided, the storm-water compliance effort would collapse according to Keith Reidling, the town’s consultant. It is obvious that the proponents of the “fee approach” are betting on this subtle, but effective element of economic coercion to fund their program.
The third test is “specific compensation”. According to the Emerson rule all revenue generated from the storm-water fees would have to replace all the funds currently applied out of the general fund to storm-water management. This is the lowest hurdle for storm-water fee advocates. However, it opens some very interesting issues. Under “specific compensation”, the money charged by the fees cannot be used to generate revenue for anything other than the service it purports to provide. The town manager has hinted that the fee based fund would free up approximately 650K in revenue to be applied elsewhere in the town budget. If that re-application were to occur, could the argument be made that the storm-water fee was in fact used to generate general revenue ? Proper deference to the “Emerson Rule” would seem to require a 650K rebate back to the taxpayers.
The Board of Selectmen are getting a bit anxious over this issue. Assurances were made to the town by Selectmen during a Town Meeting discussion last March. At that time the Board expressed their enthusiastic willingness to promote dialogue over this issue. However, at a July 23rd meeting, the Selectmen appeared all in on the fee system. Tom Clay, Scott Hazelton, Elizabeth Almeida, and Andrea Peraner Sweet all expressed their support for the fee system over all other approaches. Member Mark Kost was not at the meeting, but has led the effort to move the fee approach forward. For a moment, it appeared that the Board was going to vote in support of fees, in violation of their pledge to wait until August 15th. Finance committee members, who attended the Board of Selectmen meeting, scrambled to remind them of their commitment to wait until the following month to render a verdict. It was also strongly recommended that an opinion from the Finance Committee be received before the Selectmen take their final vote. This they agreed to do.
The rise of socialism in the US has brought a more radical element to Congress. The poster child is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Her calls for wealth redistribution and her uncompromising confrontations with both moderates and conservatives find their root in Marxist socialism. Unlike the older more utopian forms, which were often Christian based, the contemporary Marxist brand is “scientific”, rooted in materialism. The sworn enemy of religion, it views belief in God as a nefarious social construct intended to oppress mankind. It rejects moral values like honesty and respect for life. Violence, theft and lies are all part of its repertoire. Joseph Gobbles, the propagandist for National Socialist Germany said “tell a lie loud enough and long enough and people will begin to believe it.” The lie is at the heart of socialism.
Socialism’s biggest lie is its claim to be the true voice of the people. All socialist institutions preface their titles with “the people’s this; the people’s that,” but what actually is the voice of the people? In the American tradition, it is a mandate derived from free and continuous elections, where each citizen gets one vote. This voice is implemented through an implied agreement between the voters and a smaller, more organized group of people, called the government, who actually carry out the people’s will. However, history demonstrates, that even in democracies, governments have their own will, which can be at odds with that of the people. Consequently, elections must be continuous to ensure that timely adjustments to the people’s mandate can be made to more approximate its true intent. A true expression of the people’s will demands that each vote be honestly cast by free independent voters, who submit their votes based upon an honest evaluation of the issues, and an honest intent to improve our society. Consequently, elected office holders sometimes lose their jobs.
Socialism changes this system by multiplying the influence of the government over the people, to the point where it ultimately dictates their will. This is done by controlling and influencing the economy, which is what socialism openly declares it will do. The influence is gained through the extension of benefits, imposition of regulations, awarding of contracts, or by direct government employment. Voters are essentially purchased or coerced. As economic influence expands over an increasing number of voters, the “voice of the people” becomes corrupted through bribery or intimidation. Unlike a free enterprise economy, workers have far less choice over where they can work, because the government either provides or authorizes employment. What happens to citizens, who have a grievance with their government in a socialist society? They keep their mouths shut or risk losing their livelihood or benefits.
Karl Marx openly called for the destruction of democratic institutions and sought a “dictatorship”. He predicted that a vanguard of revolutionaries would rise to represent the will of the people, because “the people” would never recognize their own interest. How are these leaders to be selected? By restricting participation in government until only a small number of connected people have a voice, hence the creation of an aristocracy. Look at the lack of turnover in the Massachusetts statehouse. Socialism’s ultimate goal is to eliminate popular elections for fear of counterrevolution; which is the desire of the people to return to democracy.
Socialists love to exploit the romanticism associated with the American Revolution to support their calls for violent social change. However, their agenda has nothing to do with bringing forth liberty or equality before the law. Their aim is to destroy the legal and social edifices, that have allowed freedom to flourish in our land for 250 years, and to construct a more ruthless and brutal aristocracy, than the one we threw off. Democratic revolution and socialist revolution are two different things. Thomas Jefferson wrote the manifesto for the former declaring “all men to be endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Karl Marx wrote the latter manifesto proclaiming that “ the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle.” One offers hope of social stability and inclusion; the other offers violence and liquidation. One seeks a win-win outcome, the other a zero sum game.
What we are witnessing in Washington today is a political insurrection by a Democratic party inspired in part by Marxist ideas. The rapacious and baseless attacks on our President, are not motivated by a search for truth, they follow Lenin’s stratagem of “vanquishing your opponent”. Whether you like President Trump or not, he has unmasked the truly precarious position of freedom and liberty in America today. The use of vicious and relentless personal attacks; as well as, the government’s intelligence apparatus to identify and harass opponents, is now a political strategy endorsed by today’s Democratic party. This will not end with President Trump. Anyone who dares challenge the Democratic party agenda can expect the same.
Marxism is a hate based ideology. A political party that harnesses hate will never bring stability or security to any society because such a party is in constant need of enemies. Hatred is its’ unifying principle. When one group of opponents has been decimated, the party will find others. Fear will paralyze and isolate those in opposition until ultimately everyone is consumed, and society plunges into complete and utter chaos, look at Venezuela.
A dark chasm divides our nation today created by ignorance and emptiness of soul. Abraham Lincoln warned us that “ we shall live for all time as free men or die by suicide.” Today, our nation stands like a man struggling with his sanity, holding a loaded gun, pointed at his heart. The hand on that trigger belongs to socialist America. Whether the trigger is pulled depends on whether the saner side of our national psyche can prevail.
– Dennis Galvin
July 17, 2019, MassGOP
|July 2, 2019
BOSTON — Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons is calling on lawmakers to read a detailed third-party analysis of legislation that would allow for abortions after 24 weeks.
A brief produced by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, titled Sweeping Away Commonsense Protections for Women and Children, exposes several of the latest proposal’s dangerous provisions.
“The bill would repeal meaningful state protections for unborn children and pregnant women considering abortion and would eliminate explicit protections for children born alive during abortions,” writes the institute’s Mary E. Harned.
“Every member of the state Legislature needs to read this analysis,” Lyons said. “Every member of the state Legislature should know the facts before even considering voting in support of this dangerous proposal.”
During the bill’s formal hearing last month, the vice president of the Massachusetts Medical Society was apparently unaware that Section 12P would be removed from current state law regulating abortion. Specifically, 12P requires doctors to “take all reasonable steps” to “preserve the life and health of the aborted child” in the event of a failed abortion.
“That was a dangerous example of ignorance,” Lyons said. “The fact that the Massachusetts Medical Society was somehow unaware of the most radical provision tucked inside of this bill underscores the need for this in-depth analysis.”