Here is the link: http://masslegislature.tv/?l=h…
This broadcast is not as clear, or easy to hear and follow as the former video coverage. I often learned from watching the “rostrum conferences” and other interactions. It helps that I am somewhat of a lip reader and have an excellent, nearly professional lip reader in my household [ due to an exotic hearing disorder called “deaf against ground” ].
As to my own comments on the budget:
1. Local option taxes are long overdue.
Local option taxes are both nimble, and capable of being tailored to local conditions. Legislative micromanagement of cities and towns has the problem of not being as responsive to local conditions and needs as a local option tax handled by local government – responsive to local voters – would be. Micromanagement from Boston is also not the best use of governance resources.
2. Putting all the “eggs” in the sales tax basket is fundamentally unwise.
We have all seen the horrific impact of over reliance on the capital gains tax. In a deepening recession/depression, with neighboring states without sales taxes, we both hurt local business and repeat the “too many eggs in one basket” approach, thereby undermining the real work done by Chairman Murphy of Ways and Means and the timely effort to restructure revenue generation/taxation/the general fund. Lets learn from our mistakes and create a multi-pronged set of new revenue streams, please.
3. Progressive taxation, done correctly, is less vulnerable to economic swings and cycles.
My favorite so far was Rep. Brownsberger’s approach in which the “earned income tax” was used to create a progressive buffer in an increased income tax as this does not require a constitutional amendment to bring immediate restructuring to fruition.
The reason “progressive taxation” is less vulnerable is that, frankly, the very rich have gotten so much into their grasp that their incomes are very stable, as are their assets, while those dependent on employment in the lower and middle ranges are experiencing loss of buying power each year, thereby rendering sales taxes and fees vulnerable.
4. Holding all tax reform “hostage” to universal reform will only hurt the most vulnerable.
Clearly, economic activity must be increased or the downward spiral will continue. I am no fan of hereditary government employment, unfair pensions, or those who game the system. However, economic activity begets economic activity and inactivity in ensuring jobs and the ability of municipalities to avoid layoffs will only lead to a faster downward spiral.