Gov. Deval Patrick is going to give away $200 million to developers this year, much of it for shopping malls and parking lots. The apparent motive is to please the construction unions. The cover is that it will not only “create jobs” but “spur $1 billion in private investment.” Neither claim is supported. When Patrick first ran for governor, he said that a business relying on public subsidies is on its way out of business. And the notion that it will spur private investment is thrown in merely as a political announcement by development czar Greg Bialecki. Indeed, economists are quoted saying that this strategy ignores the real problem: the jobs in financial and other sectors are gone; and that’s because the demand for their services is gone. You can build, but they will not come.
Instead of using all that money for long-term investments in structural and intellectual infrastructure, the gov lets the transit system and the education system crumble, dumps park responsibility on private donors, and generally follows the Republican playbook: corporate welfare will lift all boats. Or at least he will claim credit for any boat-lifting that does happen for other reasons.
I’m surprised that this didn’t appear on BMG, since it reveals his betrayal of public services. This $200 million is only part of his corporate give-away, but is especially infuriating coming so soon after he gave Liberty Mutual $22.5 million (thus ratifying a City of Boston give-away to LM of $16 million), for absolutely no reason (LM is not leaving, it’s not going to hire more, it is not in a “blighted area,” and can afford to build its (unlawful) tower from the household checking account).
I think if a Republican governor did this, progressives would be protesting…no?