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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do as I say...

Let's see now. Southboro is holding a $100 a plate fund-raiser to buy a fire truck. Saugus is cutting back on snow plowing (no word is they will go to a pay to plow system on individual streets.) Worcester is graduating new police cadets in order to lay them off.

At the same time, the Cape Cod Commission has floated the idea of charging tolls to cross the Sagamore and Bourne bridges while Senate leaders reject the notion of "Boston elites" calling for a 19-cent a gallon hike in the gasoline tax.

Those same Senate (and House) leaders, by the way, who are sitting on a $32 million "reserve" account that shields them and their staffs from the pain taking place elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

Tell me again who the "Boston elites" are Sen. Steven Baddour, D-Methuen.

Comment here and elsewhere raise very valid fears by non-Boston, non-elites about the fairness of paying for the Big Dig and the MBTA (which amount to a dime on the Patrick proposal). The really bad idea of tolls on the Cape Cod bridges are another representation of that unhappiness.

While I would still argue there is a broad-based need to solve a problem that threatens the state's financial stability, I think we need more debate than a snippy remark by a legislator whose constituents have the ability to dodge playing their part by doing business across the state lines.

But more to the point, it requires debate by lawmakers who have to share the overall pain -- and not hide behind "prior appropriations continued" to avoid layoffs.

That $32 million can pay for a lot of fire trucks, and police officers and snow plowing among the non-Boston "elites."

If lawmakers want to talk the talk, the least they can do is walk the walk.

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Blogger Chris Rich said...

Oh boy, a 32 million dollar slush fund. Or is it a 'hedge' fund to hedge bets?

The rest of the Commonwealth is probably long overdue for some sort of fair reallocation while leaving Boston to stew in its Menino made booster juices.

Boston, you had several decades to suck oxygen from the rest of the state and we mainly have decaying glitz to show for it. Your once mighty financial and insurance houses are in semi shambles.

I like the hole downtown where the new bloated Filenes is supposed to be. I like the now bankrupt ownership of the Hancock Tower.

There is capacity and potential sleeping in every corner of the Commonwealth and we will be needing it.

We will want to grow more of our own food, entice emerging eco tech manufacturers to set up shop in the legacy array of half moribund gateway cities and towns and focus on getting the whole state in better shape to meet a changing world.

We have a horrid inventory of poorly insulated energy wasting rental housing, a dysfunctional public transit system that pretends the rest of the state doesn't exist and a legislature loaded with wood so dead, it's going toward rot.

And now the towns have to have bake sales to pay service employees.

Of course there should be a gas tax hike but it should be designed to provide a clear and transparent formula to ensure that the entire strapped commonwealth benefits from it while Boston takes a back seat for a change.

It had it's moment and blew it and the pauperized rest of the Commonwealth is way overdue for its time in the sun.

February 28, 2009 1:35 PM  

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