WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the seven candidates running in contested primaries for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).
Below, in his own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Mike McCoy (D-Wilmington).
#11a) Do you feel Massachusetts residents are over-taxed? Yes.
#11b) How will you balance the need to provide government services to the taxpayers and fund the government with most taxpayers’ desire for no tax increases? Can you point to anywhere in the state budget where you believe there is waste, fraud or abuse? What will you do about it?
Just this week I heard a Washington politician say “Cutting taxes is easy, reducing spending is difficult!” There is a lot of truth in that sentence. All of my political career I have been a fiscal conservative. Our State Representatives and Senators are guardians of the public coffers. This is an awesome responsibility. To manager that, we must look our for the best interests of the taxpayers while judiciously spending public funds to ensure proper functioning of the government and the effective and efficient delivery of services to the public. Unfortunately, our legislature has a less than sterling track-record in this arena. Examples of violation of public trust, waste, fraud, and abuse include:
- Three Massachusetts Speakers of the House were convicted for corruption and related charges, one of which served jail time.
- The corruption and bribery convictions of Representative Diane Wilkerson (tucked bribe money into her bra). This betrayal of public public trust short-cuts the system and usually short-changes the taxpayers.
- In December 2017, Senator Brian Joyce (coffee guy) was indicted by a Federal grand jury on charges that he collected over $1 million in bribes and kickbacks that he laundered through his law office and another personal business. The 102-page indictment accuses Joyce of turning his law office into a criminal enterprise, going to far as to accept hundreds of pounds of free coffee from a local Dunkin’ Donuts’ owner. Acting United States Attorney William Weinreb stated ; “Brian Joyce represented over 100,000 Massachusetts citizens in the state Legislature,” he told reporters. “He had a duty to serve them honestly, and he violated that duty by accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his official action.”
- The state’s latest overtime scandal.
- The mismanagement of DCS. Despite extravagant funding, our children are dying from gross incompetence.
- For years the State Legislature has increased the gas tax and maintained the Mass Pike tolls despite a promise to remove them when the Pike was paid off. The reason for this burden on the taxpayer was a commitment to improve roads and bridges. That never happened.
- The “Big-Dig”. Enough said.
- Parking lot attendants at Logan making $100,000 per year.
- Last year the Mass DOT spent $100,000 on a no-bid contract to install a very small bathroom with one small sink and one toilet off of an executive conference room. Just across the hall are large, modern, clean restroom facilities. The reason for this overpriced piece of plumbing was so that the executives could avoid contact with the public during meetings. This was wrong on so many levels.
- Several winters ago, the MBTA experienced multiple and significant system failures despite lavish funding.
These are only a few of the hundreds of embarrassing examples of failure of the legislature and elected officials abandoning their solemn duty to ensure fiscal responsibility. The taxpayers deserve more and have every right to be angry with the status quo.
What would Mike McCoy do to change the system?
- Create legislation that would mandate every state agency to hold a facilitated session with agency officials to brainstorm “Things they can do to cut spending and things they can do to increase revenues.” These lists would be prioritized. Action plans would be created for the ideas with the most potential. These lists will be submitted to and implementation monitored by Administration and Finance.
- Institute a “Whistle-Blower” protection and reward system for people finding and reporting fraud, waste and abuse in state government.
- Make the Comptroller’s Office responsible for actively investigating waste, fraud and abuse and working in concert with the Attorney General’s office for prosecution as appropriate.
- Ensure all agencies have collected any taxes, fees and or fines due to the state.
- Explore combining agencies with similar functions to reduce operations costs without compromising the mission of the organization.
- Create a Federal Grants office with a small staff. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grant monies available to state agencies. There is a lot of fruit on that tree but sadly, much of it goes unharvested. This office would explore grand funding opportunities, connect those opportunities to the right state agencies and professional grant writers would write the grant application. This will lessen the burden on MA taxpayers.
As long as we have examples like the ones cited above, we have no business asking the MA taxpayers to reach deeper into their wallets. Some may call these examples “Problems”. I see them as “Opportunities”. In short, there are plenty of things that government can do to increase revenue, effectiveness and efficiency before we further burden the taxpaying public lets try that before raising anyone’s taxes. It is the responsible thing to do.
Waste, Fraud and Abuse Examples
In my response, I have addressed waste, fraud and abuse. These are government terms. Since we don’t all work for the government, I though that it may be helpful to supply examples of each to ensure understanding:
- A state official gives a high paying job to a family member: This is a clear “ABUSE” of power
- A state official padding an expense submission or using their office in the state house to conduct their own separate personal business on the taxpayer’s dime: This is is “FRAUD”
- Not electing Mike McCoy as your next State Representative would be a “WASTE” of a potentially valuable resource.
#12) Former State Rep. Jim Miceli was known through the district for his extraordinary constituent services. Do you pledge to provide a similar level of constituent services if elected? How will you be responsive to requests for help from residents of Wilmington and Tewksbury?
My Uncle Jim was definitely a legend in Wilmington and Tewksbury and it will take a Herculean effort to fill his shoes. That being said, while no one can every truly fill his shoes, I can say with 200% certainty that I am up to the task to providing his level of constituent service. I have proven unequivocally my commitment to constituent service throughout my 31 years of being a public servant and 28 of those years and still elected to the Board of Selectmen in Wilmington. Believe me folks, that’s no easy task. That alone speaks volumes about my commitment to constituents.
I am not a coat tail candidate; the proof is in the pudding. I am accessible. People know how to get a hold of me. I am a successful businessman who is now retired. I’ve been helping people through the maze of local government throughout my political career for issues such as getting a downed mailbox fixed after a winter storm due to a plow knocking it over and I have also been instrumental in getting a grieving father a water spigot close to his daughter’s grave at the Wildwood Cemetery which helps lots of other families in the vicinity. I have helped more than one resident get a much needed sidewalk in their neighborhood, requested police to do radar in neighborhoods where speeding is an issue and peoples safety is at stake and the list goes on. On the larger end of the spectrum, I was the only Wilmington selectman to testify at a federal hearing to keep New England Transrail from operating on the polluted Olin Superfund site. I am the only Wilmington selectman to support the residents who are fighting against the opening of Global off of West Street. Most recently, I was the lead petitioner who worked with a group of residents known as the Concerned Citizens of Wilmington in North Wilmington and spearheaded Article 2, which was brought to a special town meeting dated December 16, 2017. To get to that point, we went out and collected 1,585 signatures. Of those signatures collected, I got 845 signatures on my own because I understand people have full time jobs, and I was available to go out and do it. The purpose of this special town meeting one week before Christmas was to relocate medical facilities and drug detox centers from all residential districts and business districts to general industrial zones and highway districts. This article won with a resounding 85% of the town meeting attendees. This special town meeting was the last that my uncle Representative Jim Miceli would attend. He got up, walked to the microphone and spoke in favor of Article 2. At the end of the meeting, as people were leaving the auditorium, he beckoned me to him in typical Jim Miceli fashion, put his hand on my arm and said “Good job, nephew.”
How will I be responsive to requests for help from residents of Tewksbury and Wilmington?
This one is the easiest question of all: Call me at 978-657-5495. If my phone rings, I answer it. If I’m not home, leave a message and I will call you back. If I am out and about in the stores and you see me, come up to me and talk. I’ve been doing this for 31 years and I don’t plan on changing. I will also establish office hours available to Tewksbury residents at the Tewksbury Town Hall and will also offer office hours at the Town Hall in Wilmington as well. For those who may not be physically be able to get to me, I will come to you, just like I’ve been doing for 31 years as a Wilmington official.
(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email email@example.com and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)
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