Archive for Budget

Four Questions for MA Voters

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MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Baker Budget Podcast

What’s said and unsaid is rarely as pointed as when money is involved. Add a heavy dose of politics and poof! you have budget proposals.

MA’s newish Gov. Charlie Baker made his first and it was pretty good theater. I hit the highlights and some of the things unsaid.

Look at his whole budget proposal here.

On the face of it, this is level funded. It does grow by 3% to $38 billion, but most parts of government will get effective slashes with no inflation or room to hire. Schools through UMASS level, local aid (state revenue sharing), and the MBTA (our subway, commuter rail, bus and such) get a boost. Numerous small sensible programs like Down syndrome pilot and prostate disease research are gone.

Baker doesn’t go for anything hard here. Most notably, he does not attack the terrible underfunding and debt assigned to the MBTA. That’s not surprise as he was a key player in a previous Republican administration that structured all that. Instead, he fashions and repeatedly presents himself as a turn-around manager, a fixer.

I describe where he expects revenues to come from while he keeps his no-new-or-raised-taxes pledge. Some are questionable sources.

This proposal goes to the legislature for each house to reject, refine or reform before the real negotiations head to a July 1 balanced-budget deadline. I see it as a savvy PR and political program by Baker. He repeated told his press conference announcing the budget he inherited a big deficit. He clearly paints himself as a savior and fixer…sounds like someone setting up to run for VP or even Prez in 2020 or 2024.

icon for podpress  Charlie Baker's First Budget [27:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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