Friday, June 19, 2009

On brighter note.. no sun screen needed

I know some of us are still not working and it does suck big time. While not wanting to paint a picture of prosperity for everyone, Mass added 2,600 jobs in May, the biggest increase since May of 2007. We are still 111,000 down since May of 2008.

Hang tuff, cut where you can and don't be down on yourselves. It happens, many times, not because of our work ethic, production or talents, but based more on the ideas of huge profits and a throw away society. It's not anyone's fault, be we have contributed to a system that only rewards profit, bad business decisions and a political system that only serves the rich.

Transportation Reform at State House.... is it enough?

The long awaited Transportation Package, in it's 175 page length has been approved by the Senate and is off to Devals desk. At the very same time, a group of BU students discovers flagrant campaign violations where Deval is paying for travel for his wife for non political reasons. He just can't seem to stay out of the media spotlight for a week.

The vote in the Senate reflects a distention 27 - 11 (The House voted 130 - 25) among who is not clear, except for Senator Spilka. I can't wait to see who else voted against it. Pike Board member Mary Connaughton has raised some concerns about exactly how will the big dig debt be paid, now that the State is raising the sales tax and dedicating millions to the Big Dig, it falls short, now and in the future. Even with a gas tax increase I don't see the tolls coming down in my life time.

A few key measures are still not in play but it is refreshing to see that Senator Spilka welcomes the idea of tolls on 93 and 95. In their defense, to study 175 pages of anything as important as transportation reform in less than a day is one reason to question the whole package. If an attorney (Senator Spilka) has trouble digesting the bill, one can only imagine how hard it would be for most of the elected elite to interrupt.

The budget includes a series of tax increase in everything from satellite TV to alcohol, decreases local aid by 15%, eliminate 50 line items, (no word on which ones) and funding for 800 local projects. And still no pay reduction for the Legislature. What wasn't taken off the books was the funding of the Quinn Bill... it now gets 10 million for current employees, but doesn't fund any new hires. Locals will be able to add to the meals and hotel tax to make up for the 15% shortfall in revenue.

In the next 10 days, after all is said and done in secret, we will be faced with the reality of what has already been decided. I am still predicting, a gas tax increase and or a toll increase, if not now, before the end of this year, when it will become clear as a bell, raising a sales tax now is bad for the economy and the revenue projections will be far less than they predicted.