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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, July 02, 2008

Par for the course

The $28 billion state budget -- chock full of money to pay for health care, education and public safety -- is hung up over what to do with a golf course?

You're kidding, right? In a state with more rich and storied weird legislative tales than golf courses, this one may be at the top of the list.

The Senate apparently is looking to literally bail out Ponkapoag Golf Course in Canton, where fairways have apparently turned into swamps under the care and maintenance of the Division of Conservation and Recreation (you remember, the MDC don't you?)

They are also looking to maintain the $25 weekend greens fees.

House Speaker Sal DiMasi, a member of the Ipswich Country Club, is apparently not enchanted with "Ponky."
"Have you ever been to Ponkapoag?" he said, laughing as he repeated the question. "Have you been to Ponkapoag?"
Senate President Therese Murray ain't talking, but her words speak volumes.

Sources who were briefed on the talks said Murray was pushing hardest for a lease of the course. When approached yesterday in a State House hallway, however, Murray adamantly declined comment.

"Who told you that?" she said. "No comment on the Ponkapoag. I don't talk about what goes on in conference."

One full day into the fiscal year -- with a tax package chopped up in a way that created confusion, uncertainty over the future of more than $300 million in federal Medicare dollars and a recession looming on the horizon, these guys are dickering over a golf course lease?

I'm not saying there isn't a need for reasonably priced recreation options. What I am saying is there is a time and place for priorities.

And at this point in this state -- with the major economic pressures that lie ahead -- this is neither the time nor place for rescuing Ponky.

And I suspect voters looking to repeal the state income tax will agree.

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