Monday, April 09, 2007

Yo, Sal: Step Away From the Purse Strings

The math ain't in your favor, buddy. Turn over the keys, Mr. Speaker, and give Team Deval a turn at the wheels on this one.

Massachusetts residents appear to favor Governor Deval Patrick's proposals for raising revenues to bridge the state budget gap and ease the property tax burden, with a small majority expressing support for closing what he described as corporate tax loopholes, and for giving communities the right to impose a local tax on meals and hotels, according to a new Globe poll.

Closing corporate tax loopholes seemed like a good idea to 56 percent of residents, despite arguments from the business community....

The fact is that an even larger majority of this state want to see improvements in schools - or heck, just the avoidance of all these property tax hikes and school closings (which sadly seems inevitable in Swampscott, my hometown, but that has as much to do with politics as money). Without repealing unfair, corporate tax loopholes and without allowing towns the option of having a very small meals and hotel tax, there's no way to even maintain the status quo in educational quality.

If the Speaker of the House blocks these extremely important - and fair - measures, the public would do well to remember just who is responsible for their kids never again going through the doors of their favorite school - because it was shut down for lack of funds. If parents are angry that their children's art and music programs got slashed to nothing, they should remember it was Sal DiMasi who was holding the state's purse strings. If high school students are pissed that sports and activities were cut - or that their fees were raised to even higher astronomical levels - they should know just who is to blame: the Speaker of our House, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's second most powerful politician. All of us would do well to remember that he answers to us and us alone, not Verizon.

So what is it going to be, Mr. Speaker? In the words of another big friend of Corporate America, "are you with us or against us?"

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