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The Forerunner

Massachusetts State House

By Editorial Staff
Published October 1, 1988

BOSTON, MA (FR) – In response to a major fiscal crisis in the state of Massachusetts, a group of disgruntled business leaders and political analysts recently formed a non-partisan coalition called Massachusetts Committee for Sound Government (MCSG) to alert the nation’s media. Peter Thomas, president of the Foundation for Economic Research and spokesman for the group, said, “We have a serious deficit in our budget since Dukakis has been borrowing to pay our state payroll.”

The legislators who are upset with the Dukakis administration in Massachusetts are not all Republicans, by any means. Some Democratic representatives have gone on record about their disapproval of the way the governor has handled several state-level dilemmas.

Michael Valerio, founder of Papa Gino’s of America Inc., a chain of pizza restaurants, said in a letter that MCSG was formed “to counteract the overwhelming momentum of the well-oiled Dukakis machine and the unprecedented media attention it enjoys …”

Citing New Hampshire Governor John Sununu – who said, “There is no Massachusetts Miracle; it is a mirage” – the group hopes to provide the media with objective, in-depth analyses of all Massachusetts-related issues which have a bearing on the 1988 presidential election. Thomas said, “We don’t feel (Dukakis) has lowered taxes or put forth his record. We want to tell that side of the story.”

“We believe that Gov. Dukakis’s total lack of experience in foreign affairs would seriously undermine his ability to handle sensitive national security issues or deal with complex negotiations involving foreign powers,” Valerio explained. “We feel … that Mr. Dukakis’s approach to state government has displayed an arrogance of power and a disregard of individual rights, which raises serious questions as to his ability to lead.”

One cause for concern among these leaders has been the attempt by Dukakis to stop the state House of Representatives from convening until after the November election. A spokesman from the office of the state’s Speaker of the House said that the governor “would feel a lot better if we didn’t meet until after the election.” Rep. Bob Marsh (R-Wellsley) said Dukakis did not want the legislature to convene because of a $300 million state deficit and a complicated insurance scandal which would receive media attention if the House goes into session.

Currently the Massachusetts legislature is considering amendments to a major insurance “reform measure” which Dukakis developed when he was a legislator. The state House passed a version this past June which is under consideration by the Senate.

The insurance industry in Massachusetts has been dubbed an “industry under state siege,” by Detroit News columnist Thomas Sowell; currently Bay state drivers pay the highest fees in the nation. However, auto insurance companies are losing an estimated million dollars a day insuring Massachusetts drivers at the rates set by the Massachusetts Insurance Commission. Insurance companies are asking the state legislature to raise the fees 19 percent.

Insurance companies have been mandated by the state that unless they sell auto insurance, they will not be permitted to sell life insurance, home insurance or any other kind of insurance in Massachusetts. To make matters worse, the state insurance commissioner, a Dukakis appointee, has renewed all insurance companies’ licenses against their will. Some companies are anxious to get out of the state because of the losses caused by these policies. The Fireman’s Fund negotiated an agreement to donate $45 million to the state’s high-risk auto insurance pool for the “privilege” of being allowed to stop writing any more insurance in Massachusetts.

The Kemper insurance company has paid more than $100 million for the privilege of closing down its auto insurance business in Massachusetts, while continuing to sell other insurance there.


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