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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, December 15, 2010

To the victor go the headaches

Now we know Deval Patrick had 1.5 billion reasons not to take Charlie Baker's challenge to talk about the budget.

It's hardly surprising state officials see yet another miserable budget year ahead despite signs of life in the Massachusetts economy. It's all part of the national Republican mantra that stimulus is a four-letter word and everyone (except Wall Street and defense contractors) needs to share the pain.

The end of the stimulus program for state and local government means the dam holding back the flood of cuts in education, public safety and public works is about to break. The soaring cost of health insurance will also take more solid root, even as conservatives attempt to gut the law designed to start bringing down costs.

It's the ultimate trickle down theory -- with the pain from congressional gamesmanship flowing downhill to states and then communities.

For Massachusetts and its cities and towns, which spend heavily on health care, the only major pots of cash left are local aid and education.

Much of the debate in the coming months will focus on legislation to allow cities and town to set their health care rates for employees without approval from the unions with which they have collectively bargained.

Unions to date have balked, but the time has come for them to make some concessions on this score. After all, their members are the ones to be laid off. The question is simply how many.

If unions balk, it's simply another place for Patrick to spend that newly amassed political capital and embrace legislation making the change.

And it's also time for the "waste, fraud and abuse" set to acknowledge that a fourth straight year of deep cuts means it is unlikely to find much left of their favorite hobbyhorse.

All parties have also said new taxes are off the table. That also puts an extra burden on the newly doubled Republican House caucus to come up with constructive ideas for dealing with a nonpartisan problem.

Another ugly year is setting up on Beacon Hill.

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Blogger Readwriteblue said...

"And it's also time for the "waste, fraud and abuse" set to acknowledge that a fourth straight year of deep cuts means it is unlikely to find much left of their favorite hobbyhorse."

Oh really, then you have a ready answer to the Globe articles about abuse of SSI and its effects. While you are at it, explain away the corruption that has come to light from the parole fiasco or the three-pete indictments speakers or the Big-Dig, or Disability pensions, the list goes on and on. How much corruption will it take to break us?

Our Commonwealth is burdened with a class of corrupt politicians that go along to get along on the gravy train. Until that changes we will continue to lose to other states. We are not at the point of no return yet. But it is fast approaching. If it does no one will be there to help us. And we will have only ourselves to blame.

December 15, 2010 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do need to address things locally and nationally before we have to make draconian cuts and raise fees like the tuition hikes that are causing the riots in Europe. State worker unions should have to feel some pain like we have in the private sector. Then tie their next round of contracts to the CPI or some other inflation index, at least keep them in line a little.

December 15, 2010 2:48 PM  

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