Thursday, July 19, 2007

DiMasi's Corporate Welfare

How politicians can be so brazen, I don't know, but DiMasi calling Deval Patrick one to support corporate welfare is like a little kid with 15 cavities complaining his parents just never let him have candy after they refused him for the first time. In fact, DiMasi has become downright fat off his corporate friends - wielding his formidable power in a quest to keep Verizon's contribution to Massachusetts's tax base as close to 1% of their entire profits as possible. But it doesn't stop there...

"This investment in the public infrastructure is in line with a number of economic development projects approved by the Legislature in the past," said spokesman Kyle Sullivan. "This is about creating jobs and investing in our communities."

Last year, for instance, the Legislature approved $55 million in
infrastructure improvements around Fenway Park that will benefit the Red Sox and
other businesses and $16 million in ramps for a new YMCA project on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

DiMasi also has been vehement in his opposition to Patrick's proposal to close so-called corporate tax loopholes, which the administration had characterized as $500 million in public giveaways.

Ah, hypocrisy. Really, Speaker DiMasi, this is just too easy. But, in the interest of being fair, I'll throw my Citizen's Journalist Cap on and weigh the situation.

Here's what we know: the project will, indeed, bring several hundred jobs. Most of the state's contributions were slated to be low-interest loans, not true giveaways. Certainly, there will be more taxable income after the project than before it. The project also promises to unite two parts of Boston, which could add to the community in ways immeasurable in dollars.

Here's what we don't know: if the project is worth a 56 million dollar contribution from the state and city of Boston, be it either loans or grants. If the project will be built to the same standards otherwise. If there are other, worthier projects out there.

Back to angry blogger mode: Corporate welfare is, sadly, sometimes a necessary evil. It should be used rarely and sparingly, but the project in and of itself seems interesting. If Speaker DiMasi wanted to hold hearings to judge whether or not this project is worth it, I'd support that. However, he's calling Patrick a supporter of corporate welfare when there's no one in the House more supportive of Corporations and business interests than Speaker DiMasi.

The Speaker, sadly enough, seems more interested in businesses making unreasonable profits than the citizens of Massachusetts, who pay among the highest property taxes in the country and are still struggling to keep their schools afloat. Schools across the state are being shut down in large part because of DiMasi's protection of Verizon and others, so for him to complain about corporate welfare is at the very least insane and asinine. Let's hope he realizes that, skips the demagoguery and looks at his own corporate welfare with the same interest as he has Governor Patrick.

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