Yesterday afternoon, House Speaker Sal DiMasi said local aid might as much as 10 percent this coming year. Gov. Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray wouldn't commit to that figure, but agree that drastic measures may be forthcoming.
As NoPolitician said here yesterday, this move would be bad for the cities and towns that rely on aid to fund their services. But it's also going to be ugly for taxpayers in more affluent municipalities.
As a compromise, DiMasi said that the Legislature may allow towns to tax telecom companies on telephone poles. Verizon and Comcast will be loathe to lose any of their profits to cities and towns during a recession, so they'll raise rates or create a fee for those who use their service. Therefore, you'll be paying.
DiMasi also suggested that he might allow communities to enact meal taxes. Again, you'll be paying. As will the small business owners who run the restaurants and will see their already-dropping business fall off further when diners see another tax on their bill at the end of the meal.
I understand that every level of government is struggling to make ends meet. But it can't keep asking individuals to shoulder the burden. Maybe our local leaders should take another page from the Obama playbook and ask voters to get together and figure out a solution to the problem that doesn't involve taxing the bejesus out of residents. I'll bring the tequila to get the creative juices flowing.