First of all: Tuesday is the primary special election for the US Senate race, so get out and vote! No excuses!
If you still have no idea who to vote for, check out my handy candidate guide in the Region section of this week’s paper and, if you still have questions, visit the candidates’ campaign websites (handy links on the left!).
Speaking of that race, here are a few last-minute endorsements, for those of you who care about such things (which you shouldn’t). Diane Patrick, wife of Governor Deval L. Patrick, has formally endorsed Congressman Michael E. Capuano for US Senate. “Mike’s experience in the House coupled with his passion to fight for what is best for Massachusetts makes him the very best candidate to send to the U.S. Senate,” Ms. Patrick said. “I am proud to endorse Mike today.”
What I have to wonder: was this endorsement in fact Gov. Patrick’s endorsement filtered through his wife?
Former Massachusetts governor Michael “Tank” Dukakis has endorsed Rep. Capuano as well, while the Boston Globe has put its support behind Alan A. Khazei.
Another of the less glamorous jobs in state government might have a race for next year.
Democrat Walter Moniz of Fairhaven filed his paperwork with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance last week as a candidate for governor’s councilor of the first district. That sets up a primary showdown with Carole A. Fiola, assuming she runs for another term.
It’s a slow week this week, so I’m going to take advantage of it to chat a bit about some of the possible questions for the November 2010 ballot. The deadline for organizers to file their signatures with their town and city clerks was last week, and no surprise, proposals pertaining to the state income tax made it to the next step in the process.
This past summer the Legislature hiked the state sales tax from five percent to 6.25 percent and repealed a sales tax exemption on alcohol. The Center for Small Government is backing multiple proposals the reverse course on that former point and reduce the sales tax (by 2.5 percent on the low end, by five percent on the high end). The Massachusetts Package Stores Association is behind a proposal to repeal the repeal and make booze sales tax-free once again.
Assuming these make it onto the ballot, the voter is then faced with a very tough question: to support or not to support? State revenues continue to tank, which has already led to one round of emergency budget cuts in Fiscal Year 2010 and more are almost certainly on their way. State programs will be further slashed, jobs eliminated, and local aid can only dodge so many bullets.
On the other hand, isn’t there someplace within state government our lawmakers haven’t looked for waste, inefficiency, and/or overspending? Maybe, say, legislator salaries?
I don’t for a moment begrudge lawmakers the need to cover expenses, and yeah, they have to make livings too (a claim that is more justifiable for those legislators who actually behave like it’s their full-time job), but they all ostensibly got into this gig in the name of serving the public and making life better for their fellow citizens. I don’t think it unreasonable for these public servants to voluntarily take a cut in their $61,439 base pay – a paycheck we all foot the bill for through our taxes.
Share the pain a little, guys, or else maybe the voting people will finally say “Enough!” and toss more than a few of you out of the State House come November…and I for one don’t think the job market is going to be much better in a year.
Political news and announcements may be sent to Michael Bailey, Region editor and senior political reporter, at email@example.com
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.