The Globe must be an interesting place to work these days. On the one hand, we get front-pagers like this, chock-full of dire quotes from Michael Widmer about how the whole thing is based on “one-time fixes,” and from silly Republicans claiming that this budget is somehow less transparent than in past years (oh PUH-LEEEEEZ). (Be sure to click the link, though, because the photo of Patrick addressing the Chamber of Commerce is really hilarious.) We also, of course, are treated to the ongoing Vennochi-afertig-Charley smackdown.
And on the other hand, we get the editorial page taking a much longer view, seeing a much bigger picture, and in the process giving some credit to the guy who just won a highly improbable election:
Patrick’s budget relies on $295 million in revenues — $500 million annualized — from closing business loopholes, a proposal that has met with predictable claims that it will harm the business climate. But the fact is that Massachusetts ranks near the bottom among the states in its overall corporate tax burden. If low taxes were the only or even the primary determinant of business success, Massachusetts ought to be booming.
The bigger question for business leaders is how they propose to pay for the worthy government initiatives they desire: investments in a highly educated and trained workforce; lowered housing and healthcare costs; property tax relief; a speedier regulatory process; and a gridlock-free commute. These benefits cost money. As Patrick has said, every line item in the budget has a real person behind it, and that goes for business executives as much as for parents of disabled children.
Ouch! Globe 1, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce 0! Take that, you cheap corporate types who already pay low taxes and would sooner take money out of the pockets of disabled children’s parents than suffer even a modest hit to your own bottom line!
But they’re not done.
The elimination of special-interest line items is long overdue, especially in the courts, where practically every clerk and doorman has his own earmark. But it strikes directly at the heart of legislative prerogative — a tradition House and Senate members are likely to feel strongly about relinquishing. The governor agreed he expects some “pushback” on that one.
Yow!! Globe 2, legislature 0! Take THAT, you earmark-enacting pork-snarfing judicial-hack-job-loving reform-hating legislators!
But wait — there’s more.
Patrick has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want his budget to be dead on arrival. His landslide victory was a mandate for reform. Perhaps the voters who elected him ought to plan a little pushback of their own.
HOLY SH*T!!! Globe 3, entrenched power structure 0! Do my eyes deceive me, or did I just see the Globe editorial page explicitly calling on the grassroots that elected Deval Patrick to rise up in support of his budget proposals to put pressure on the legislature, the Chamber of Commerce, and everyone else who might stand in the way of the new Governor’s agenda? Someone pinch me, quick!
Most likely, such a grassroots uprising will not happen by itself around something like the budget. Someone has to ask for it, and we all know who that someone has to be. And so some have wondered aloud why they, the grassroots that elected the new Governor, haven’t been called upon yet. I think that’s a fair question to ask. I’ve got some thoughts on it, and some information to pass along, but unfortunately I’m out of blogging time now. I’ll try to post more on this later. ‘Til then, kudos to the Globe editorial page.