Mass. Insanity: Bill will allow Developers to Form their own Governments

If you want a preview of a United States under either a Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama presidency, look no farther than Massachusetts.

After a ballot question to stop abuses by developers under the state's infamous Chapter 40B was kept off the 2008 ballot, developers responded by bringing-back the far worse 40T as S146/H159. Chapter 40B allows developers to override town zoning and build huge, destructive projects in wetlands, farmland, and other rural, resource-poor areas if they promise to include 25% of the units as "low to moderate income." 40B has been a huge failure but, since builders are the number one contributors to Boston politicians' campaigns, the hits just keep on coming. Bad as 40B is, 40T would enable real estate developers to create their own special purpose, private "governments" within cities and towns, without critical public interest protections like transparency, accountability, and public participation in decision-making. These new government-like structures -- run by unelected private property owners -- will enable developers to issue tax-exempt bonds and levy property "assessments" (functionally equivalent to taxes) to subsidize private and potentially unwanted development, and even scoop up invaluable public land inside their districts.

These private sub-municipalities could be formed with the consent of only 80% of landowners/acres. Not only would tenants have no voice in their creation or their decision-making, but they could also be stuck paying the bill for these shaky finance schemes, along with unwitting homeowners.

The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. before the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets at the State House in Boston. Committee co-chairs incolved are Rep. David Flynn and Sen. Mark Montigny.

Further details are available at

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." -- Hillary Clinton, June 29, 2004, San Francisco

"Moments in our nation's history when we shared a common good and a higher interest. That's the change I'm looking for." -- Barack Obama, Souix City, IA, January 3, 2008

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