hugged your state legislator today?
have said something before the Fourth of July weekend, when you
might have run into him or her around town. But I didn't think of it
until I read the request in the Saturday Globe from the House Ways &
Means chairman, Rep. Charles Murphy, D-Burlington: "Feel free to pat
us on the back, for the love of God," he said, because the
Legislature passed the state budget before the July 1 deadline.
wow! They did their job! They did what they get paid to do!
never too late. Pat them on the back for getting the fiscal year
2010 budget passed in time for the beginning of fiscal year 2010.
Then pat your mail delivery person on the back for putting your mail
in the mailbox. Pat your bank teller for depositing your paycheck
and handing you the requested cash. Pat the trash collector for
picking up your trash on trash pickup day. Pat the pilot next time
you land safely. Pat the grocer for stocking bread and milk. Pat the
cat, pat the bunny. Go Pats.
suppose they also want a pat on the back for passing "reforms" that
put an end to only the most egregious pension abuses, finally
address some of the decades-old transportation system excesses, and
give in to public pressure to stop some major ethics abuses — all in
order to get the governor to sign off on the second largest tax
increase in state history. Pat-pat-pattycake.
patted, can we now kick them in the pants for the years they refused
to address these abuses, while leaving so many intact? For
continuing to exclude themselves from audits, wiretaps and the open
meeting law? For spending the state into yet another fiscal crisis?
For ignoring infrastructure maintenance?
kick them for betraying supporters of the state health care bill by
adding more expensive benefits, while cutting coverage, because
there's not enough money? For fearing the AARP more than they
deplore the deaths and injuries that elderly drivers cause? For
fearing the public employee unions, period?
wanted a pat for "not having increased the sales tax in over 30
years," as if it doesn't increase every time prices go up. How about
a big kick for increasing the sales-tax rate now, including the
meals-tax rate, while still ignoring the voters' order to cut the
income-tax rate? For making us all pay more for less? For getting a
pay raise in the middle of their employers' recession?
don't want to get physical with our politicians. No real pats on the
back or even on the head ("good dog, you used the newspaper"), and,
of course, no real kicking. The only allowed and useful kick is the
booting from office.
only one way to get control of our commonwealth, and that is to
defeat the incumbents who have been part of the commonwealth's
the early '90s, there was a popular petition drive for term limits.
Activists collected sufficient signatures, but this constitutional
amendment also required 25 percent of the Legislature to vote for it
in order for it to get on the ballot.
majority of the Legislature simply refused to vote, arguing that "we
already have term limits — they're called elections."
Let's limit lots of them in 2010.
activists are talking about doing another petition drive on the
suspect that this project is being encouraged behind the scenes by
some politicians who do not want angry 2010 voters to do the "term
limit election" thing.
want activists to squander money, time and other resources on a
petition drive that will distract voters and diffuse their anger
through the coming election cycle, after which the re-elected
incumbents will kill the petition again.
the Legislature enthusiastically supported a 1998 constitutional
amendment to give it automatic pay raises. And it supported the 1978
proposal from the League of Women Voters to cut the size of the
told the latter would save money, foolishly changed the Constitution
and concentrated legislative power in the House leadership (it was
already concentrated in the smaller Senate).
thought there were a chance to get a constitutional amendment on the
ballot, I'd try to reverse this decision and make our Legislature as
large as New Hampshire's, with a requirement that legislators go
home to their real jobs after six months in session.
wouldn't do it now. Before citizens spend time working on ballot
questions, they must remind legislators who's their boss, and who
can fire them.
way, mine was a perfect Fourth of July.
usual, I drove down the Pike with friends to the traditional
Independence Day party held at the home of my former boss, Don Feder,
one of the founders of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Invited
center-right activists discuss, debate, and dine well each year
before reading the Declaration of Independence aloud.
Meanwhile, a few blocks from the Esplanade celebration in Boston,
hundreds of patriotic activists held another Tea Party on Boston
Common to protest government bailouts, nationalized health care, a
new energy tax and the growing national debt.
pat for those patriots.