Massachusetts to Legislators: If the Voters Grow Tired of You, You Should Make More Money

Things to like about Massachusetts: Well, Salem seems pretty cool. And you’ve got to respect the Celtics. I’ve always wanted to tour the Lizzie Borden House, so that’s a plus. Oh, and they have some very sound governmental policies … ok, maybe three out of four ain’t bad.

I’m going to tell you a story; we’ll call it "The Ballad of J. James Marzilli, Jr." Raise your hand when something sounds askew.

A state senator serves the public for over 20 years. He then resigns and announces he won’t seek re-election after he’s arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and accosting a person of the opposite sex. However, his name remains on the ballot and he loses handily — what with all the alleged accosting and whatnot. Yet, he files to double his pension. In doing so, he cites a state law that allows elected officials under 55 with more than 20 years of "creditable" service to upgrade their pensions if they fail to win re-election.

Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation offers the indignation:

"The whole point of being an elected official is to do such a good job that you don’t get thrown out," she said. "So if there’s an incentive that if you do get thrown out and then get rewarded for that, that just kind of scrambles the entire system, which doesn’t work under the best of circumstances, but this just makes it worse."

And for good measure:

"They get an additional pension if their constituents get sick of them and throw them out? Am I hearing that right? Only in Massachusetts…"

Looks like the pension decision is being withheld until a verdict is reached in his court case.

Egat. One has a feeling voters and the taxpaying public of the Commonwealth might like to let Ms. Borden take 40 whacks at this law.