The so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is out again with another of its timely studies, only a
month or two after it was mute on if not outright opposed to Question 4. All
of a sudden this "prestigious" think tank has discovered yet another pocket of prosperity of historic level, municipal
surpluses. Remember when the mayors were recently whining that the sky would fall if Question 4 passed? My goodness, I'm
shocked, aren't you?
Maybe the mayors just didn't know how flush their treasuries were, maybe they weren't just lying to the
public to perpetuate their greed. Maybe, just maybe.
State House News Service
Thursday, December 14, 2000
MTF: MUNICIPAL FINANCES IN GOOD SHAPE. Revenues from the
state, property taxes and the construction boom have combined to provide cities and towns with record
amounts of money, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
An MTF report released Thursday concluded that municipal
surpluses are at their highest levels in two decades. Total local revenues grew 13 percent over the last two years and have
averaged 5.2 percent growth since 1992. State aid to cities and towns was up 9.1 percent
over 1999 and municipalities, on average, have received annual boosts in state aid of 9.6
percent since 1994. MTF says a slowing economy and a $1.2 billion income tax cut will have a
cooling effect on the big annual local revenue gains.
The Sun Chronicle
Friday, December 8, 2000
Gimme, gimme, gimme, says state teachers union
The Massachusetts Teachers Association has been reading too
many children's letters to Santa Clause.
The teachers union has compiled a wish list of educational
matters for the next session of the Legislature. Just deliver these things, and all will be well with the schools, they seem
to be telling lawmakers and taxpayers.
What's on the MTA list?
Well, how about a starting salary of $40,000. That's the
minimum teachers deserve, says MTA President Stephen Gorrie.
Then the Legislature has to do away with that nasty MCAS
Instead, the MTA says, schools should award diplomas based
on a teacher's evaluation, student portfolios, tests and -- apparently for those who can't read or write -- oral
But if that horrible MCAS graduation requirement doesn't go
away, then the MTA says the least the state can do is come up with $1,000 to tutor every student who flunks the test.
Since 76,000 students failed either the math or English part
of the 10th-grade test last year, this would cost $76 million, but who's counting.
In fact, the MTA won't say anything about how much its plan
would cost. It would be bad manners to mention money when you're writing Santa, apparently.
There are other big presents on the union's wish list, such
as having no more than 15 pupils in a class up to Grade 3, but frankly we're losing interest.
We suspect many teachers are embarrassed by the childish
selfishness displayed by their union, which seems to want only more, more, more for doing less, less, less.
The (other?) Sun Chronicle
November 1, 2000
Reject tax cuts, meet state's needs
Massachusetts is enjoying record prosperity, and government
is reaping the benefit in the form of mounting tax revenue. Unfortunately, many citizens aren't sharing fully in the good
times, and state and local governments still can't keep up with the demand for services.
Therefore, The Sun Chronicle urges voters to reject the tax
rollback that is on Tuesday's ballot as Question 4....
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says if voters pass
both Question 4 and Question 6, the loss of revenue could not only prevent the state from addressing serious problems, it
could "require major cuts in state programs and services in order to avoid future budgetary deficits."
Those cuts "would fall most heavily on discretionary programs such as education
and social services," the taxpayer group said.
We consider these words to the wise and urge voters to reject Questions 4 and 6. A
well-funded state government will be able to do the most good for the most people.