Monday, September 01, 2008

Carla Howell and "Waste"

I hate to say it, but I'm just plain-old forced to question her intelligence.

Carla Howell, of the Committee for Small Government, who put both the 2002 question and the current tax measure on the ballot, said it would finally force state lawmakers to cut waste and inefficiency from state spending.

"It is normal to find waste in just about every government budget," Howell said.

Normal? Well, it's certainly not extraordinary to find a little waste here and there. However, the average town has pared its budget down to nearly nothing at this point. The state's done a lot of paring, too.

But all of that's missing the point. If people want to debate whether or not there's a lot of waste in the government, it's the losing discussion - no matter the answer. It's allowing Carla Howell and her allies to dictate the parameters of the debate. It's the kind of discussion that could enable this to be a fiercely close ballot question.

Here's the better question: if Carla Howell maintains that there's waste in "just about every government budget," why does she think there will cease to be waste by cutting the income tax? If there will always be waste in budgets, that's not going to suddenly stop after the income tax stops. Do New Hampshire voters think they're free of waste, since they have no income tax? Or Texas?

The truth is this question isn't about waste, it's about people who just don't want to pay taxes on their income. That's it. If this question was truly about waste, we'd be voting to create citizen panels who could axe waste from the budget and override the legislature - or something along those lines. The truth of the matter is that people like Carla Howell think spending their money on roads, schools and bridges is wasteful.

If she truly cared about government waste, she wouldn't force this stupid ballot question on us - a question that will cost this state hundreds of thousands just to put on the ballot, only to lose one way or the other. In fact, Carla Howell is a waste. For all that is holy, I wish she'd stop wasting this state's time and energy.


Anonymous said...

She's got the winning ticket her my friend. Between the ethically challenged leaders in the statehouse and the offensive level of patronage, waste, and corruption I say vote yes on Q 1. Have you seen Speaker DiMasi lately?

Anonymous said...

Multiple choice

Who has no chance of finishing this calendar year as Speaker

a) Sen Murray
b) Duval P (he's going to DC)
c) Sal DiMasi
d) none of the above

If you guessed c you win a prize.

Anonymous said...

It's time for a good old fashioned Boston Tea Party. Thank you Carla.

Ryan Adams said...

Waste? Governor Patrick just nixed pension expansion and executive pay.

And, as I made exceedingly clear, how would cutting income taxes eliminate waste? What little waste there is will stay, it's the schools, roads and bridges that will be gutted.

You're barking up the tree in following Ms. Howell.

Anonymous said...

I am not following Carla. Where was the outrage over the "earmark" orgy that went on at the end of the budget cycle? Your own local Rep was right in the middle of the scrum for special favors from Sal and Robbie DeLeo (the capo to Sal the Godfather). There is waste everywhere. Mass H'way, Pike, Massport, every f****in where my naive idealistic silly boy. At least Howell is attempting to bring the light of day to a government that is soooo very out of control. Your gang are f****n thieves.

Quriltai said...

It is normal to find insects inside every home. Does that mean we should tear down every wall we can find, and blame every homeowner for being too sloppy to take care of their abode? Or do we just buy some bleach and do our best to give it a good scrubbing once in a while?

Partial credit for this comment goes to the fruit fly zigzagging in front of the monitor at the moment. Don't tell Carla.

Anonymous said...

Carla Howell is advocating for that "good scrubbing." Bring it on!I hope I have not offended Ry's people.

Ryan Adams said...

Anon 6:26,

You don't have to tell me. Some of these things, unfortunately, take some time to fix. I fully expect that by the end of the Governor's term, we're going to see some reorganization of beaurocracies in Massachusetts that will save millions. It's just that it's going to be a battle. If that's what you'd like to see, this income tax proposition is a complete distraction. If Carla cared about waste in the highway system of this state, for example, why not offer up a ballot question on that subject? As I said, she's not interested in "waste," she's using it as a mask to hide the fact she just doesn't want to pay income taxes.

On the local scene - if you think helping Marblehead pay for a new school heater and make other necessary fixes is "waste" I guess you're right. If you think "waste" is making sure that the walkways literally tens of thousands of people use at the beach should be lit well at night, then I guess you're right. The funds Swampscott and Marblehead have recieved in this budget aren't wasteful, they're projects that should have been done 10-15 years ago - and would have been done, if we had strong leadership then.

Ryan Adams said...

By the way - someone just got hit by a car at the beach tonight. If only we could have "wasted" all those funds earlier on the streetscape lights and street, we could have saved someone from serious injury or worse. There are consequences to labelling necessary projects as "waste" and delaying their construction by years or decades. Major streets and areas that thousands of people walk each day need to be lit well - it's a matter of safety.

Anonymous said...

Brought to you by the Committee to Elect Lori E. I'm on that road all the time and lighting is not the issue. Shitty driving! Waste is all about priorities and we piss away more money in this state than seems possible. Go Carla.

Ryan Adams said...

Lighting is certainly an issue for people walking on the walkway, as are the streets. For starters, there's danger for the people who are actually walking the beach at night - in the dark - because the lamps that are there are for cars and not the actual walkway.

Even more important than that - and what could have helped avoid the man-on-car collision - would be more areas where people could safety cross the street: buttons that would stop traffic or even just walkways that lit up when people walk on them, a la what they installed back when I was in college after someone was hit by a car there.

The improvements that will be made, rest assured, will be paid for many times over by more people using our Swampscott beach and downtown area - and infusing money into the local economy. They are improvements and safety measures that should have been made a decade ago... and, quite frankly, it's really pennies that we're talking about being used for a worthy and important project.

Anonymous said...

Why is it going to take years to clean up the beaurocracies, the Dems have complete control of the government. If they are truly the saviour of the working man they could clean up all waste and excess in one legislative term. Oh wait maybe they're part of the problem. Then the only way to slay the beast is to cut off it's food. The beast, Beacon Hill: the food, our taxes.

Anonymous said...

Citizen panels to axe waste and override the Legislature, a new branch of government? What do we elect the legislators for in the first place, put waste in.

Anonymous said...

Ryan lives in Disney Land. Wake up dude!

Anonymous said...

There is no incentive to cut budgets, to reduce government responsibility in our lives, or to reduce government spending. In fact, there is incentive to continue to increase the role of government in our lives. Passing this measure does two things. First, it shuts off the money supply to the state government, forcing them to either cut budgets or find new funding sources. Either way, it disrupts the spending spree. Second, if local property taxes are increased as a result, this increase happens on a local level where commonwealth residents have a greater opportunity to scrutinize, control and direct the collection, amount and use of these funds. Putting funding of local services at a state level introduces one more layer of bureaucracy between the taxpayer and how his money is being spent.

Anonymous said...

Ryan: Why can't people be expected to keep themselves safe? Was the accident victim wearing reflective clothing? Carrying a flashlight? Maybe she should have walked during daylight hours, or in a place where there was no traffic.

Just how much money should the government take from the taxpayer? At present, when you take into account taxes, fees, fines, and the cost of government built into products, we pay between 50 and 75% of our paychecks in taxes. Just how much more are we supposed to pay? The government has ballooned out of control, breeding like a Tribble in an edition of Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

Taxation in the US is generally less than a) what the taxpayer in the US paid shortly after the turn of the 20th century until Reagan ( ) and b) what his/her peers in other Westernized countries pay ( ). Moreover, the middle income brackets in the US have watched their taxation increase over time with the highest brackets decrease (with now very little difference between middle-class incomes and the top income earners). Finally, not only do more in the US (not the middle class) avoid paying any taxes at all compared with only a few years ago ( ), but corporations in the US also enjoy the lowest taxation rate since the 1950s (and many do not pay any tax at all, ).

The best policy would dump a flat tax (which does not take into account actual income) and tax the wealthy versus the middle & lower class (including reducing the payroll tax).

Abolishing income tax puts greater reliance on other more regressive tax incomes (like sales tax and property taxes which, again, do not take into account actual income). Middle and lower class people are deeply affected by such regressive policies since they depend on the roads, bridges, schools, and other public infrastructures to conduct their businesses and advance their lives.

Howell is a silly person who advances a dangerous idea. She should be seen as the charlatan that she is attempting to watch our cities and towns go bankrupt and curtail sometimes-vital public services (that protect people from harm or enhance the common person's life).

Redirecting 'wasteful' tax monies to benefit the public doesn't start by starving ourselves of essential services or reserving these services to only those who can afford it.

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