and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Friday, May 19, 2006

For the record:
In Mass., promises are made only to be broken . . .
and, what’s with all the UFO sightings?

In 1985, when the state’s first mandatory seat belt law was enacted – and throughout the 1986 referendum campaign which ultimately repealed it – we were promised over and over that secondary enforcement would never ever be expanded to primary.

When, despite voters’ rejection, the law was resurrected in 1994 – and throughout the ensuing ballot campaign to repeal it again, that time unsuccessfully – we were continually assured again that secondary enforcement would be permanent, never to be expanded to primary enforcement.

We opponents asserted that primary enforcement would inevitably follow down the road, but were pooh-poohed by the law’s zealots. Soon after they won that ballot campaign, they started lobbying for primary enforcement. Twenty years later, here we are – correct again as usual. Just as inevitable, as we warned even back then, failure to wear a seat belt next will become an insurance surchargeable offense down the road. This has always been the end-game.

And what’s with this unquestioned, unchallenged epidemic of motorists allegedly being ejected all over the Commonwealth from their cars? “‘It's a great day for Massachusetts, because our seat belt rate is so low; it's six people being thrown from their vehicles every day,’ said Gloria Craven, coordinator of the Seatbelts Are For Everyone Coalition.” (Boston Globe, May 19). Are pedestrians at risk of being unexpectedly struck by UFOs (unbuckled flying occupants); should other motorists be prepared to take evasive action as the UFOs come flying at them? (Sproing, sproing, sproing . . .)

In 1989 we were promised by the Legislature that its income tax hike would be only “temporary” until that “fiscal crisis” receded. We warned seventeen years ago that there is no such thing as a “temporary” tax increase. That promise too was simply a ruse to get controversial legislation passed. The lies could and would and did follow.

People must learn never to trust the Massachusetts Legislature’s shallow promises; they are made only to get something done, then they’re broken. The media should remind voters of these earlier commitments during these recurring policy debates.

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