The issue has come up during the mayoral election because an arbiter just awarded a 25.4 percent pay hike, over six years, to Boston police patrol officers. The Boston City Council is expected to balk at this. Walsh’s bill would let the raises go through without council approval. We find this threatening not only to Boston taxpayers, but to us all, because it would apply to all communities’ negotiations.
Returning to the era of final binding arbitration, with no town meeting or city council approval, would be a major violation of Proposition 21/2 and a guarantee that the next legislative assault will be on the levy limit, as municipal leaders argue that they need higher property taxes to cover the expensive contracts.
Walsh is a longtime union leader; unions have spent at least $872,000 on his race for mayor, according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. He’s denied that he’d place their interests ahead of the taxpayers if he won, arguing that unions would be more inclined to be reasonable if the mayor was one of their own. The usual union dominance of the ground game in an election got him to the finals. Now there is more scrutiny, and we’ve learned about House 2467. If I could vote in Boston, it wouldn’t be for Marty Walsh.
Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.