EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


May 26, 2013

Editorial: State's investment strategy: Take more of our money

What a week it was on Beacon Hill.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, the personification of the nonessential state worker, announces he is decamping to his native Worcester, taking with him the real story of his 108-mph, predawn crash in his state car.

State Rep. John Fresolo, a fellow Democrat and Worcesterite, abruptly quits amid reports he is the target of a House Ethics Committee investigation for unspecified Statehouse shenanigans.

Stephen W. Doran, the former Democratic chairman of the aforementioned Ethics Committee, is arrested as he leaves the Boston school where he now teaches on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine.

Did we miss anyone? Never mind. The real skulduggery on Beacon Hill last week was being committed both in plain sight and behind closed doors as the Legislature pushed ahead with a juggernaut $34 billion budget and accompanying $500 million tax increase.

Together, they threaten to flatten the Bay State’s still struggling economy.

The Senate approved the $34 billion spending plan late Thursday, one month after the House passed a budget with a similar bottom line but different details.

The two bodies will spend June trying to bring the two plans into alignment and deciding how best to pick the pockets of their unsuspecting constituents. By the time the budget goes into effect July 1, those constituents will be in full summertime-and-the-living-is-easy mode.

The tax-and-spend plan will nickel, dime and dollar them at a time when many are hard-pressed to support their own households, never mind their insatiable state government.

And we do mean “nickel.” The Senate budget would extend the five-cent bottle deposit to water and sports drinks.

Increases in taxes on gasoline, tobacco and businesses are also in the mix. We don’t know the details yet because the tax proposal is being hammered out in secret after a six-member Senate and House conference committee closed its deliberations to the public.

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