News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
15th May 2009

You can’t have it both ways: no revenue=more pain

posted in Money Matters, State Concerns, Youth |

On Easter evening, we sat in horrible traffic on 128 heading home from Peabody. We were probably 20 miles north of the Mass Turnpike, yet we suffered from the state’s attempt to save money by limiting holiday toll workers. I also mourned the loss of lights on the Zakim Bridge to save money—albeit a cosmetic rather than critical expense. And last week, I listened to cafeteria workers and their supporters tell the Lowell School Committee about the “unfairness” of possibly losing their jobs. Believe me, I felt their pain. It’s unfair that the schools must cut between $5 and $10 million, and it’s unfair that the city may face even deeper cuts. It’s unfair that people are losing their homes and jobs. And it is unfair that the Senate’s proposed budget cuts even further than the House or Governor into human service programs that impact the neediest in our state. Yet, no one wants more taxes, and who can blame them? The reality is we are in a global economic crisis, and budgets must be tightened at all levels. Yet, there are some cuts that are simply too shortsighted and too deep to make sense, and that’s where the case for additional revenue must be made. No matter how you look at it, increasing taxes is nasty business, especially these days. But whether it’s the Governor’s gas and candy tax, the House sales tax, or another revenue-building scheme (such as closing corporate communication loopholes and municipal relief options), something must be done. We cannot sustain the level of cuts the Senate is currently proposing without severe impacts to our collective quality of life in the Commonwealth—not only because it will harm those most vulnerable, but because the losses will be far-reaching, long-lasting and in the end, more costly to recover. (The impact on youth program cuts alone—from gutting the Shannon Grant, DPH, and jobs for kids—will be felt for years in terms of increased crime and gang violence, more dropouts, drug abuse, and other related, costly ills.) As unpopular as it is, I stand for increased revenues along with smart belt tightening and sensible, much-needed reforms. Without it, there will be a lot more outrage and pain, and the road to recovery that much harder to find.

Comments are closed.

  • Blogroll

  • Contact Us

  • Education Links

  • Local Groups

  • Local media