EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 28, 2012

Editorial: Lawmakers seek more cash to fund their free spending

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Those legislators cannot even control their own free-spending ways in a struggling economy.

The slowing economic recovery in Massachusetts has left state revenues lagging $256 million behind budget. The looming shortfall has scuttled what was supposed to be an automatic income tax deduction. Gov. Deval Patrick has instituted a hiring freeze and killed a planned 2-percent raise for many of the state’s human services workers.

So why is Speaker Robert DeLeo handing out raises to House employees, and why is Senate President Therese Murray giving a similar 3-percent bump to some members of her immediate staff?

We understand that a 3-percent raise isn’t a huge boost for House staffers, who haven’t had a raise in four years. Many private sector workers, however, have gone even longer without an increase, and the state’s human service workers are rightly upset that they have to forgo their more modest raise while those cloistered in the Statehouse get taken care of first.

It’s not just the Legislature — Patrick and Auditor Suzanne Bump have also handed out raises to staffers during the shaky recovery.

The disconnect between Beacon Hill and the rest of the state continues to amaze us.

And these same Massachusetts lawmakers are beginning to talk about a need to raise taxes? Taxpayers should tell them to forget it.

A tax hike now, given legislators’ own wayward behavior, shouldn’t stand a chance.

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