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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, May 30, 2009


Forgive me if I'm skeptical about the prospects for serious legislative reform of pensions and ethics, not when a majority of the Massachusetts Senate can't seem find the resolve to eliminate two Suffolk County holidays and save a paltry $5 million.

Rather we are treated to the histrionic excess of South Boston Democrat Jack Hart taking to the floor to question what treachery lies ahead:
"If we eliminate these holidays today in Suffolk County, then what's next?" asked Senator Jack Hart, a Democrat, during last week's budget debate. "Do we eliminate maybe Presidents' Day? Do we eliminate July Fourth? Why don't we get rid of Thanksgiving? Why don't we think about getting rid of Christmas?"
And not to be outdone by his own excess, Hart threatens Massachusetts Civil War, a challenge to those west of Worcester who are already being asked to pay for the ineptitude of management at the Big Dig and the MBTA.
"I don't know what kind of history you have outside in Ham[p]den and Hampshire [counties], but we have real history here in the city," Hart said. "We have great history here in Suffolk County, and we are not afraid to celebrate it."
On the public's dime.

I never used to get overly worked up over Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day -- even if I was amazed at the purely historic coincidence that the British chose to evacuate Boston on the same day St. Patrick is celebrated from driving the snakes from Ireland. Government employee get paid less than those in private sector, so what's the difference?

But today the state is bleeding cash and many of those same public employees are pulling down pensions those of us in the private sector can only dream about. Lawmakers show no inclination, at this point, of ending their pension perks anytime in the next quarter century.

The difference is now important. These two days reportedly cost about $5 million in salaries and overtime -- and inconvenience if you need to get a driver's license to transact some other form of public business in Suffolk County.

The lack of perspective by Hart -- the current host of the increasingly unfunny St. Patrick's Day breakfast -- is bad enough. The fact that Democrats outside of Suffolk County failed to see the symbolism is just as galling.

I hope we start to see county-specific holidays sprout up across the Commonwealth (although I thought we abolished counties years ago as a cost-saving measure?) For instance, Treasurer Tim can celebrate his Norfolk County roots with a day off to celebrate the birth of John F. Kennedy in Brookline.

Failing that he can move to restore Roxbury and Dorchester to Norfolk County and get into the fun too.

And Hart would also do well to remember a bit of Massachusetts history. After all, Shay's Rebellion was centered in Hampden County. Or was school closed on the day that lesson came up?

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Blogger Readwriteblue said...

It is long past time we did away with these Hack Holidays. Next we need to disprove this malarkey about people in the private sector making more money than those who are employed by the state.

May 31, 2009 9:03 AM  

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