October 19, 2005
The Honorable Mitt Romney
Governor of Massachusetts
State House, Room 360
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Governor Romney:
The Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and defending individual freedoms and rights enshrined in the U.S. and state constitutions. As you know, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts affords many protections to its citizens and upholds the notion that government is instituted for the common good.
Our organization, which has more than 10,000 supporters in Massachusetts, has been a champion of policies that apply constitutional freedoms and protections to emerging areas of technology. We recently joined other business and public policy organizations in opposing excessive new regulations on wireless services that are being considered by Massachusetts. We are now writing to voice similarly strong concerns about the Commonwealth's new Information Domain - Enterprise Technical Reference Model, particularly its mandate that all state agencies utilize only technologies built around Open Document formats.
The Constitution of the Commonwealth clearly states that government action should not serve any specific private interest. By initiating procurement favoritism, the new technology policy in fact serves those few companies and organizations that support your mandated technology. An unbiased, constitutional policy would allow free and fair competition, based on product merit and price. In fact, it is astounding to hear that your former Secretary of Administration and Finance Eric Kriss said that cost was not a factor in instituting this policy. We cannot understand how control cost -- one of the hallmarks of responsible governing -- did not factor into your administration's policy-making.
The new policy effectively places an unnecessary and costly burden on Massachusetts' citizens and businesses. At the most primary level, taxpaying citizens and businesses are now required to shoulder the costs for purchasing new information technology systems. In many instances, new systems will replace systems that are now entirely functional, thereby creating duplicative costs. Furthermore, by limiting competition, your policy will drive up costs and may require the development of new customized software to meet the state's arbitrary requirements.
As important, citizens and businesses may themselves have to purchase and install new software in order to communicate with the Commonwealth and even meet other regulatory burdens (such as e-filing of legal and tax forms). Your policy does not seem to account for these additional burdens at all. It seems in many respects to be government policy that takes little if any heed of the citizens that it is meant to serve.
We recognize that you now have new leadership in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. We strongly urge you and Secretary Thomas Trimarco to amend this policy so that it truly fulfills the spirit of your state's Constitution by taking the citizens' interests to heart.
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