CLT Update
Friday, December 15, 2000

The greed continues unabated

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.

And recently the apparently other Attleboro Sun Chronicle discovered -- maybe tripped over? -- the Massachusetts Teachers Association's naked greed! It must be a different Sun Chronicle from the one which railed against Question 4 on Nov. 1st [excerpts below] ... or it is suffering from schizophrenia, at least a severe case of memory loss.

Funny, isn't it, how the other Sun Chronicle based its independent opposition on information provided by ... what a coincidence, the so-called Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Are we really supposed to take either of them seriously?

Chip Ford

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
Attleboro, Mass.
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 graduation requirement.

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 presentations.

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
Attleboro, Mass.
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.

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