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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, February 13, 2008

Mr. Speaker Speaks

And on the 12th day of the second month, the inner sanctum opened and thus was heard:
"He should take this as a victory; they should be very happy."
House Speaker Sal DMasi has finally found a revenue solution he can live with to deal with the state's fiscal problems.

Actually it is more than an "olive branch" as the Globe describe it, less than "DiMasi bows to gov" as the Herald weighs in. And it is a solid foundation for a compromise, if for no other reason than the Herald editorial page is squirming.

"It" is a proposal to make changes in the corporate tax structure, dropping the rate to 7 percent over the next three years while tightening loopholes that enable some firms to avoid paying their fair share. No word yet from Verizon on their opinion.

DiMasi is also calling for a $1 per pack increase in the sales tax on cigarettes to close the gap on the money needed to finance health care reforms. He would also freeze unemployment insurance rates, a victory for business.

It is indeed heartening to hear DiMasi finally offer some concrete alternatives to the proposals put forward by Patrick from the municipal partnership to casino gambling. But I'm not sure I agree with the Globe that it's time to sing Kumbaya, because of the tone of King Sal's remarks.

DiMasi has been taking some heat (at least in this corner) for the leisurely pace of House business and his publicly disdainful attitude to our rookie governor. The compromise proposal he offered yesterday is just that, a compromise and not the tablets from on high. It is still subject to revision by the Senate, agreement by a conference committee and signature by the governor.

However welcome this move away from stalemate is, it isn't the last word, no matter the fact the Speaker has offered his own view that Patrick has "won." The ultimate winner needs to be the taxpayers who all pay their fair share.

Hey, can't well all just get along?

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