Somehow, it has to be conveyed to these people that public life is not a gluttonous, all-you-can-eat, endless gourmet buffet. As it stands right now in local and state government, their pay packages, perks and pensions are unsustainable. We have to become one America again.
Deval Patrick has an outstanding opportunity to lead this state into a financial revolution whose time has come. Originally, when the Democratic field was crowded with potential gubernatorial candidates, Patrick put the spotlight on himself by repeatedly stating that he had a “magic formula” to cut property taxes across the state. He could actually do that now, simply by limiting compensation to all state workers to a maximum of $100,000, eliminating per diems so public officials could remember what it really takes to live in everyday life (and feel it), and cutting the state $52 billion cash pension fund in half, buying into federal Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare for $26 billion and using the remaining $26 billion for roads, bridges, education, retiring all debt, giving a badly needed injection of funds for mental health and putting any remainder into the rainy day funds. Further, he should cut off all state aid to the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts until they convert their own pay packages and pension funds in conformity with the state plan. This would decrease the cities’ and towns’ appetite for spiraling property taxes.
Besides that, the state government should cut the sales tax in half, cut the income tax in half, eliminate tolls and cut business fees, licensing, and business taxes in half. This would exponentially upgrade the quality of life in this state and make it extremely attractive to do business here. It would be an unbelievable jolt to the state economy because there would be more money in everybody’s pockets.
If there’s going to be any revival meetings around here, let’s make them about why America went to war against the British monarchy in the first place — unreasonable, ever-escalating and unending taxes!
Joseph F. Doyle is a freelance writer based in Salem.