Arthur Schaper: “Mister Governor” Patrick’s Final Budget
Friday, January 24, 2014
A couple of givens: Patrick wants to spend more money, even though the Bay State has nothing left. With failing Obamneycare websites, lawsuits abounding, pension problems (though no unprecedented reforms under fire, as in Rhode Island), plus spiraling health care costs, tussles over immigration, and no end to the tax-and-spend culture of the Beacon Hill Democracy, no one should have been surprised.
Adressing education, health care and crime
And yet, the governor wants to increase spending by about five percent. His focuses? Expand early education, close the achievement gap in schools, ensure affordable health care and address violence among young people and in urban areas.
What will Governor Patrick do for early education, when the state as a whole has done so much damage already? The previous year, atheist parents were suing the local school because they did not want their children to recite “Under God”. How about curtailing the frivolous lawsuits against cash-strapped school districts? Go Local Worcester reported on schools with the most misbehaving students, as well as the institutions which have issued the most suspensions. That unruly students are becoming the norm, or rather the rule, in Worcester schools should alarm Worcester residents. Statehouse recriminations and Beacon Hill dollars will not solve that problem, yet public officials, especially those who depend on campaign dollars from teachers’ unions, will be more than happy to extend state-sponsored anything (including education) into every area of the Commonwealth’s citizenry.
Early education? How about removing the incentive for having children yet not raising them? Want to close the achievement gap, Mister Governor? Let the kids who want to learn choose the schools they enroll in, and as for those not so academically inclined? Trade schools, apprenticeships, and a quick tour of a jail cell (for those who cause more trouble than they should).
About ensuring affordable health care, one gets the impression that Patrick copied this idea off of prior Bay State “State of the State” addresses, or at least off of President Obama’s teleprompter. Who doesn’t want affordable health care? Yet the very legislation which was supposed to advance this agenda, the Affordable Care Act, has proven unaffordable, as well as preventing doctors from caring for their patients, as well as contributing to Massachusetts’ dubious distinction as the state with the highest health care costs.
When will liberals in government ever learn? Not any time soon, judging by this latest budget schema (or scheme).
About rising crime from youth in urban areas, a quick review of the cost-effective methods listed above will take care of juvenile delinquency. Of course, removing the ease of welfare fraud and the criminal elements latent within (like the Boston Marathon bombing, provided by taxpayer funded, homegrown terrorists) would stave off crime in the urban regions.
On a positive note, the government (federal, not state) finally put behind bars, and for good, Irish mob hero/thug James “Whitey” Bulger. It’s time to make an example out of organized crime, as in it really doesn’t pay. Now, as for the legal kind (Beacon Hill, Washington D.C.). . .
Hedging his bets
But let’s not lose our focus on “Mister Governor” Patrick’s budget proposals.
There were some examples of restraint. Instead of treating the few tax-paying residents like limitless coffers of gold, the governor rejected prior-repeated attempts to revive raising the state income tax. With so little coming in (in terms of money), and so many people coming out (in terms of leaving the state), Patrick needed to hedge his bets, as far as cashing in on those with any cash left.
And speaking of cashing in and hedging bets, the Governor of Massachusetts played a card all too similar to Rhode Island Governor Chafee: taking into account projected revenues for projects not yet built. Projections with a capital P, the casinos have not yet been built, and with rumblings in Worcester and throughout the state that they like the revenue, but the traffic and trouble associated with it in their hometowns, these potential resources may turn out as one more source of wishful thinking.
Lawmakers rejected the computer cloud tax. Republicans are pushing to end the forever gas tax. Yet other taxing suggestions did sneak into Patrick’s budget, including that ridiculous levy on candy and soda. With one of the highest tax rates on cigarettes in the country, Massachusetts has inadvertently created a black market for tobacco. Will a schoolyard underground add to it Skittles and Coca-Cola, too? So much for bring down youth crime in the urban core. Common sense may fly over lame duck Governor Patrick’s budget hopes and dreams.
Still, with all of its flaws, Governor Patrick declared: ‘‘I'm proud of this budget. It’s a good budget. It’s a sensible budget.’’
No economy, even in self-praise.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.
Related Slideshow: New England Communities With the Most Political Clout 2013
The Sunlight Foundation, in conjunction with Azavea, released data maps this week showing political contribution dollars to federal elections dating back to 1990 -- by county.
GoLocal takes a look at the counties in New England that had the highest per-capita contributions in the 2012 election cycle -- and talked with experts about what that meant for those areas in New Engand, as well as the candidates.
24. Cheshire County, NH
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.88
Total contributions: $759,209
Cheshire is one of the five original counties in New Hampshire and was founded in 1771. The highest point in Cheshire County is located at the top of Mount Monadnock, which was made famous by the poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
21. Hampshire County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.41
Total contributions: $1,664,077
Hampshire County has a total area of 545 square miles and is located in the middle of Massachusetts. Hampshire County is also the only county to be surrounded in all directions by other Massachusetts counties.
20. Barnstable County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.90
Total contributions: $2,348,541
Barnstable County was founded in 1685 and has three national protected areas. Cape Cod National Seashore is the most famous protected area within Barnstable County and brings in a high amount of tourists every year.
19. Berkshire County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $12.49
Total contributions: $1,624,400
Berkshire County is located on the western side of Massachusetts and borders three different neighboring states. Originally the Mahican Native American Tribe inhabited Berkshire County up until the English settlers arrived and bought the land in 1724.
18. Essex County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.22
Total contributions: $9,991,201
Essex is located in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and contains towns such as Salem, Lynn, and Andover. Essex was founded in 1643 and because of Essex historical background, the whole county has been designated as the Essex National Heritage Area.
15. Addison County, VT
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $15.49
Total contributions: $569,299
Located on the west side of Vermont, Addison County has a total area of 808 square miles. Addison's largest town is Middlebury, where the Community College of Vermont and Middlebury College are located.
11. Bristol County, RI
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.91
Total contributions: $1,027,472
Bristol County has a population of 49,144 and is the third smallest county in the United States. Bristol County was originally apart of Massachusetts, but was transferred to Rhode Island in 1746.
10. Grafton County, NH
Contributions, per capita, 2012 :$20.95
Total contributions: $1,868,739
With a population of 89,181, Grafton County is the second largest county in New Hampshire. Home of New Hampshire’s only national forest, White Mountain National Forest takes up about half of Grafton’s total area
7. Middlesex County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $32.81
Total contributions: $50,432,154
Middlesex County has a population of 1,503,085 and has been ranked as the most populous county in New England. The county government was abolished in 1997, but the county boundaries still exists for court jurisdictions and other administrative purposes.
6. Nantucket County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $33.41
Total contributions: $344,021
Nantucket County consists of a couple of small islands and is a major tourist destination in Massachusetts. Normally Nantucket has a population of 10,298, but during the summer months the population can reach up to 50,000.
4. Dukes County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $36.32
Total contributions: $618,960
Consisting of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, Dukes County is one of Massachusetts’ top vacation spots. Originally Dukes County was apart New York, however it was transferred to Massachusetts on October 7, 1691.
3. Suffolk County, MA
Contributions, per capita, 2012: $40.73
Total contributions: $30,323,537
Suffolk County has a population of 744,426 and contains Massachusetts’s largest city, Boston. Although Suffolk’s county government was abolished in the late 1900’s, it still remains as a geographic area.
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