SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

November 28, 2012

Our view: Statehouse raises ill-timed

Massachusetts’ economic recovery has slowed and state revenues are lagging $256 million behind budget, scuttling 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.

Pretty soon, Massachusetts lawmakers are going to tell you they need to raise taxes. When they do, make sure to remember moves such as this.

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