Here is 1,000 words or so on the subject from the Environmental Law Institute “Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008.” (Released September 2009. Hat tip, The Big Picture). Almost half the subsidies for renewables are for corn-based ethanol, which does little reduce global warming.
I know its all been said before and that I am preaching to the choir, but Charlie Baker’s latest criticism of Governor Patrick’s fiscal management is so painfully ridiculous I decided to preach anyway. In the Globe article on Baker’s lame rainy day fund proposal, Baker, without a hint of irony or recognition of reality, says: “Beacon Hill has not had the self-control to ensure that Massachusetts is living within its means and that has led to higher taxes and a depleted Rainy Day Fund,” Baker said in a statement. “This proposed law will protect Massachusetts’ resources and ensure we are not faced with year after year of budget deficits like we have during the past four years.” Its like the GOP begat great recession, which has decimated tax collections, never happened. Its like the tax cuts Baker pledges, which will only make it harder to balance the books, were never proposed. Its like the 4-5% year on year spending increases Mr. Baker signed off when he was Welducci budget chief, were never spent. Its like an alternative universe reported as if it were our own. Thankfully our eminently reasonable and highly talented A and F Sec Jay Gonzalez [...]
Here is a non-exhaustive but personal wish list for what I think would revive the economy and enhance economic recovery: 1. Restoring emergency unemployment extensions; they don’t buy, we self employed types don’t eat. Wonderful song about this 2. Taking a look at serious “job protection against outsourcing” (destroying jobs should cost the firms who outsource big time) as well as job creation (by becoming eligible for more government contracts if you create jobs or at least getting a preference, maybe, no more tax incentives), and 3. A serious examination of jobs for returning veterans, who have an unacceptable level of unemployment; and 4. A “buy American first” incentive for items made in the USA (different tax rate for items made 100% out of the country to eliminate the impact of ‘dumping’ below costs goods to destroy whole industries here in the USA); and 5. Bring back Railroads as the least expensive & “greenest” way to move goods and raw materials and people around in this huge country of ours – Canada and even Mexico leave us gasping in truck fumes and high transport costs. I may sound old fashioned, but supporting and protecting railroads & manufacturing in this country [...]
Here they are: 1. Repeal the alcohol sales tax? 2. Repeal Chapter 40B? 3. Cut the state sales tax from 6.25% to 3%? Pretty simple. No, no, no.
For the third time this week, I got in the car and the radio (tuned to WGBH-FM 89.7) was singing a song of signal-free static. The two earlier static spectaculars came between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Today’s 100% content free experience came between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. After the second dead-air day, I became curious to what was happening. I turned on the sister station (Classical 99.5 WCRB) and the announcer chatted about the music – no mention of problems down the dial. A google search turned up nothing. Today, when I was blessed with my third 89.7 surround sound static session, I called the station. After a few minutes on hold, I learned my radio wasn’t allergic to frequencies between 89.6 and 89.8, and the dead air was a side effect of painting the transmitter tower. Who knew? Well, the voice on the other end of the phone said it was posted on the website, and today I found this little reference in the middle of the main page: Please excuse the interruption 89.7 WGBH will be off the air on Thursday, 7/15, 2pm-4pm due to required maintenance of its broadcast tower. We will continue to stream live online. [...]
He said he’d vote yes, and today he did it. The vote by the Senate was 60 to 39, with three Republicans from the Northeast [including Scott Brown] joining with the Democrats in voting to advance the legislation. Among the bill’s many provisions: It would create a powerful consumer financial protection bureau, to be housed in the Federal Reserve, and widely expand the regulatory authority of the central bank. Overall, the NYT characterizes the bill this way: While the measure does not fully restore the toughest restrictions imposed after the Great Depression, it is a clear turning point, highlighting a new distrust of Wall Street, fear of the increasing complexity of technology-driven markets, and renewed reliance on government to protect the little guy. Kudos (again) to Brown for seeing that this was the right vote. I am, of course, unable to resist pointing out that, back before he was even sworn in, this is exactly what I said he should do: So here is Brown’s big chance: vote with Obama on financial regulation, and specifically on the consumer protection agency. If Brown wants any shot at reelection in 2012, he needs to pick a couple of high-profile issues on which [...]
Mass. Budget and Policy Center (emphasis mine):
This week the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual update of State and Local Government Finances, providing national data for Fiscal Year 2008. The amount of state and local taxes paid in Massachusetts as a share of total personal income was 10.3 percent in FY 2008. By this measure, Massachusetts had lower taxes than 30 other states. Measuring taxes as a share of total personal income allows for a meaningful comparison among states.
Facts are facts, folks, and the fact is that taxes in Massachusetts are not especially high. They’re just not. Someone tell Charlie, please.
The good people at MBPC are aware that these 2008 data (which are the latest available) do not take into account recent tax increases such as the sales tax hike. However, they note,
with ongoing revenue shortfalls, 29 other states have enacted tax increases of their own since the start of the recession. Therefore, while nationwide data more current than 2008 are not available, it is likely that Massachusetts’ ranking still remains well below the U.S. average, even given Massachusetts’ recent tax increases.
Check out the spiffy chart on the flip (it’s too big for the front page). And note the freakishly high levels of taxation in … wait for it … Alaska?!
The Herald reported the good news of the unemployment rate drop and job gains within Massachusetts. But one statement that struck me in the article was this by the Baker campaign (emphasis mine): “Today’s jobs numbers are another clear indication that Massachusetts is on the road to recovery,” Patrick said in a statement. “Still, I know that there are too many people looking for work.” But Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker’s campaign accused the Patrick administration of revising May numbers “to show a modest gain in job growth for June.“ This is the best the Baker campaign could come up with to counter the sixth straight month of job growth in the state? Really? But what resonated with me was the charge in itself, he accused the Patrick administration of revising May numbers to show job growth for June. That’s quite a charge. It just so happened that Baker did a noontime chat on Boston.com, so I asked: 12:10 [Comment From johnk:] Do you believe that the Patrick administration is falsifying job information as stated by your campaign? 12:12 Charlie Baker: No. What we said was the data from the prior month – which was still posted on the state’s [...]
View a new video with Mass. gun owners championing the Governor’s one-gun-a-month policy. See the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… It’s a groundbreaking, important step toward moving the debate beyond the extreme, polarizing rhetoric that has dominated it, and kept it stuck, for years. It’s time to pass meaningful anti-crime legislation that represents the reasonable, practical views of mainstream Mass. voters. The Governor’s crime bill is it. For Immediate Release July 15, 2010 Gun owners support Governor Patrick’s crime bill One-gun-a-month policy reasonable, respects 2nd Amendment (Boston) Massachusetts gun owners threw their support behind Governor Patrick’s crime bill in a new video making the rounds on the Internet. The gun owners say the Governor’s proposal to limit gun sales to one-gun-per-month is reasonable and does not conflict with their 2nd Amendment rights. The video was released today by Citizens for Safety, a statewide public safety coalition, as the State Legislature prepares [...]
The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities reminds readers that yesterday in 1959: [T]he nation’s first nuclear-powered cruiser was launched from Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. With its deep and sheltered harbor, Quincy was an ideal site for shipbuilding. Men had been building and launching boats there since the English first settled in the area in 1640. But the industry really boomed in the late nineteenth century when inventor Thomas Watson started a company to make engines for boats. For the next 100 years, life in Quincy revolved around the shipyards, which reached their peak during World War II when employment topped 32,000, including 1,200 women. Although the yard closed in 1986, Quincy’s shipbuilding heritage is kept alive by the U.S. Naval and Shipbuilding Museum on the Fore River site. Once a factory. Now a museum. And therein hangs a tale.