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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Deval to Press: Pay Up!

It was a throwaway quote is a Statehouse News Service story (subscription required) that no one in the media seemed to pick up on:
Seeking to allay worries about new spending initiatives like the statewide service corps while he is projecting a $1 billion budget gap next fiscal year, Patrick joked to reporters, “No one is interested in wasting money or spending money frivolously. We have to look at everything – including the fact that you don’t pay rent for the space in this building."
Amid all the talk about $1 billion budget gaps -- and "wasteful" spending on the arts -- Patrick trotted out one of the oldest, dirtiest little secrets under the Dome -- the press doesn't pay rent for the space it occupies.

Oh the space certainly is not lavish -- and reporters from my time did our best to keep it that way by preserving the campaign detritus that gave the space its "charm."

But what is lacks in fresh paint it makes up for in accessibility: next to the House gallery; steps from the Senate gallery; and immediately above the governor's office on two floors.

It was a quiet point sometimes noted -- why are "we" getting a free ride, when our colleagues in places like Albany pay rent?

The payments need not be large -- who knows if the Globe and Herald could afford them? But they should be symbolic. The media is working under the taxpayers' roofs doing the taxpayers' business. But they are also using state phone trunk lines and occupying space that could be used for official business.

But most of all, the media is getting a free handout from government. Why not write about that enterprising Herald reporters?

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