Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Night Links

I've had a busy week at work and at home, so I've once again been on a too-light posting schedule lately. Here are a couple of things that I've come across that are worth passing along, but I haven't had the chance to write a full post on.

  • Congressman Barney Frank (D-Newton) leads the pack in number of trips paid for by private entities with 84 trips at a total cost of over $100k. The prize for the costliest travel, however, goes to the former Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) at nearly $221k. When ranked by cost, Frank isn't even in the top 50 (via Political Wire)
  • Below Boston reminds us of the previous remarks of Senator David Vitter (R-LA), frequenter of brothels, in which the Senator trashed "Massachusetts Values" at the same time he was seeing prostitutes.
  • Tomorrow, July 11, Governor Deval Patrick is hosting a Volunteer Expo in the Great Hall at the State House from 11AM to 2PM. Just once, I'd like to see them schedule these sorts of things at times people who work for a living can make it. In any event, they're supposed to be holding more of these around the state in the coming months.
  • Governor Patrick's Insurance Commissioner is reportedly considering deregulating the auto insurance rate-setting process even as insurers ask for lower premiums. This seems counterintuitive to me. If rates are going down for everyone under the current system, why guarantee that they will go up for some people by deregulating? It would make more sense, I would think, to push for deregulation in a time of increasing premiums to give some drivers a break on rates.
  • Former Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross is now seeing an at-large Worcester City Council seat. It will be tough, despite the name recognition she gained from last year's run since all of the incumbents are currently still running. She'd have to knock one of them off. If she does, though, she could find herself Mayor of the city and the highest ranking Green-Rainbow elected official in Massachusetts.
  • The Boston Globe had more examples of why the telecom property tax exemption is bad policy. Telecoms have been abusing the law since a 2005 SJC case decided that telecommunications companies that were organized as limited Liability companies were exempt from taxes on polls, wires and other property. After reorganizing, Verizon Wireless' tax bill in Boston went from $3 million in 2004 to $8,984 in 2005. In Newton, their bill went from $118,000 to just $296.15.