The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Media -- Dont Quote Me  |  News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In

Time to wake up

The State Legislature and Boston's big municipal unions are hurting the public
By EDITORIAL  |  April 15, 2009


The news that Massachusetts's finances are in even worse shape than previously thought was not exactly a surprise. Still, the numbers are sobering. Tax receipts are falling. The budget deficit — already projected at $156 million — is expected to grow by another $400 million in the next few months. The whopping $556 million shortfall means that another 750 state jobs will be cut and 5000 unpaid furloughs will be required. This is the third time Patrick has announced emergency budget cuts in seven months. And it will not be the last. State finances are only going to get worse.

All of this makes the legislature's failure to act on tax proposals advanced by Governor Deval Patrick four months ago shameful — almost criminally so, when you consider that Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo had to know this was coming. If they didn't, they are unfit for office. It's time for the ego games that impede action to stop. Vote on Patrick's proposed 19-cent gas-tax increase. Reject it, amend it, or pass it. But do something, so that the state can move forward.

Patrick's political ineptitude continues to draw more fire than the lack of action in the state's House and Senate. He has turned out to be a pitifully easy target. And his flatfooted response to the Easter Sunday traffic jams on the Mass Pike only reinforce that perception.

Shooting spitballs at the governor may take the public's mind off the unfolding crisis in state government. But it won't alter the fact that Massachusetts does not have enough money to pay its bills.

The recession triggered by the crash in the housing market, the implosion on Wall Street, and the meltdown of the banking system is, of course, at the root of Massachusetts's fiscal crisis. But this was a disaster waiting to happen.

If the economic policies of the Bush-Cheney junta were, in effect, socialism for the affluent, then Beacon Hill's management practices for the past 15 or so years have been nothing less than welfare for a relatively small, politically connected middle class. Unsustainable salaries and sweetheart pension deals have had roughly the same negative effect on state finances that the Bush tax cuts had on a national level. The shameful lack of performance goals for government agencies and outside contractors, and the failure to reasonably oversee such transportation systems as the turnpike and the MBTA, plus projects such as the Big Dig, are the intellectual equivalent of Washington's failure to regulate the nation's financial systems.

DeLeo and Murray have been on Beacon Hill far longer than Patrick. It's time for the public to hold them and their legislative colleagues accountable.

Let Boston teachers vote on pay freeze
The deteriorating condition of state finances is bad news for most Massachusetts cities and towns, dependent as they are on state aid to plug their own budget gaps. But it is especially difficult for Boston, since the crunch here is likely to be even worse than expected.

That makes the failure of Boston's three biggest municipal unions, representing firefighters, police, and teachers, to agree to Mayor Thomas Menino's modest proposal for a one-year pay freeze all the more unconscionable.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: That’s what he said, Tax evasion, Burn, baby, burn, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Deval Patrick, Deval Patrick, Massachusetts,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article
HTML Prohibited
Add Comment

Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TRYING TIMES FOR OBAMA  |  January 27, 2010
    It was only a matter of time before President Barack Obama turned into a deficit hawk. But it is a measure of the desperation sparked by Scott Brown's election to Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat that Obama hatched before the conclusion of the 2010 congressional elections and unveiled a spending freeze.
  •   TEA-BAGGER BROWN TRIUMPHS  |  January 20, 2010
    Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley may be a good person and a dedicated public servant, but thanks to her gut-wrenching loss to tea-bagging Republican Scott Brown in the race for the US Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, Coakley is now — quite rightly — a figure of local scorn and national derision.
  •   COAKLEY FOR SENATE  |  January 19, 2010
    When Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a successor to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, they face a choice that is as clear as the difference between black and white.
  •   MENINO'S PROMISE  |  January 06, 2010
    Boston's political tribes checked their traditional hostilities at the door this week when they trooped into Faneuil Hall for the inauguration of Mayor Thomas Menino, who took the oath to serve an unprecedented fifth term.
  •   HOW IS OBAMA DOING?  |  December 16, 2009
    In response to a question from Oprah Winfrey about how he would grade his time in office, President Barack Obama gave himself a "solid B-plus."

 See all articles by: EDITORIAL

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2010 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group