Thursday, 4:30 PM
Travaglini: despite GOP nadir, no new taxes
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
In one of his last acts in office before embarking on a likely presidential bid, Republican Governor Mitt Romney swore in the 200 members of the state Legislature today in what marks a low-point in modern history for the GOP on Beacon Hill.
When Governor-elect Deval Patrick takes office at noon tomorrow, there will be just 24 Republicans legislators in the Capitol. Democrats now hold all six statewide constitutional offices, and roughly 7-to-1 majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.
Democrat Robert E. Travaglini, who was elected for his third term today as Senate president, couldn't resist taking a swipe across the aisle in his inaugural address as he congratulated Senator Richard R. Tisei, the new minority leader.
"The number of Republicans is now small enough to fit into a Volkswagen," Travaglini said, according to a copy of prepared remarks distributed to the media by his office. "And to make matter worse, his party no longer has the corner office behind him as a backstop. Good luck Senator!!!"
Travaglini presides over a 40-member Senate that now has 35 Democrats and five Republicans -- a number that dropped by one when former Republican Minority Leader Brian Lees of East Longmeadow did not run for re-election and Gale Candaras, a Democrat of Wilbraham, won his seat.
In the new House, there are 141 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Despite the Democratic dominance, Travaglini promised that one party rule would not lead to excess.
"Already, we are hearing from critics and naysayers about the disastrous prospects of one party rule on Beacon Hill -- immediate tax increases and unfettered spending," Travaglini said. "Let me be the first to put some of those concerns to rest.
"Over the last two sessions, there has been no appetite in the Senate to increase taxes," Travaglini continued. "After discussions with my colleagues, I can tell you tax hikes are still off the table going into this new legislative year."