By: Christine Morabito – December, 2012
When they came for the millionaires and billionaires I did not speak out because I was neither a millionaire nor billionaire. Now they are coming for those earning $100,000 or more. How long before they target you and me – for payroll tax increases anyway?
A coalition of liberal activists is proposing a new payroll tax on upper-income workers as a solution to the Massachusetts transportation funding shortfall. They claim to represent seniors, students and disabled transit riders – oh, and unions. These groups will be the beneficiaries of the proposed wealth redistribution.
According to Matt Murphy at the State House News Service, the group, otherwise known as Public Transit-Public Good, also calls for the creation of a transportation infrastructure bank (by all means, let’s give them their own bank) and a more equitable fare structure for T riders. Where is the equitable fare structure for those who must rely on cars to get around? When gas prices increase, drivers are forced to pay the going rate. And if Governor Patrick had his way we would be bracing for a new gas tax to boot.
I had to chuckle when I read their claim that this is an example of “thinking outside the box.” Since when is confiscating more and more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money thinking outside the box? Raising taxes is a liberal’s go-to-move and the solution to every problem. Like the Talking Heads lyrics suggest: “same as it ever was.”
This story broke the same day as Joe Battenfeld’s Boston Herald column exposing the state Gaming Commission’s shameless spending spree and breach of taxpayer trust, (“No casino, but $1.6m for taxpayer gamble,” November 29). Transgressions include $47,000 in unknown credit card purchases, $75,000 for recruiters, a $10,000 junket to Las Vegas and hundreds of thousands in consultant fees. That is on top of the generous salaries for 5 board members. In total the commission has spent $1.6 million over nine months, yet is still years away from approving even one casino license. Accountability anyone?
No doubt, our state faces real challenges when it comes to meeting expenses. I am no financial expert, but please accept my humble, creative, outside -the -box suggestion:
STOP WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY!
In private industry, as in our own households, cost containment is a constant concern. Not so when the government is involved. There is one major difference – the government is not using their own money, they are using ours. In a Fox Undercover piece (“Cash-strapped T shrugs off waste complaint, keeps lights burning during the day,” August 29) a conscientious citizen contacted the MBTA regarding wasted electricity from unneeded lights in West Roxbury. After weeks of being ignored, the citizen was erroneously told that the lights were not on MBTA property. Once Fox got involved, there was a public apology and the timer was changed immediately, although the problem persisted at other locations. While such savings may seem small, these kinds of things are an easy fix if they are not mired in bureaucratic molasses. I learned when I was 5 to turn off lights when not using them. All it took was my father asking if I paid the electric bill. We are all paying the MBTA’s electric bill and are left to wonder about other waste, while the agency increases fares and cuts services. An audit last fall showed a $100 million misreporting of cash receipts and missing vault keys. All this from an agency facing a $100 million deficit.
Notice how the political solution to a financial crisis never involves spending cuts? These stories of waste and abuse of tax dollars beautifully illustrates the desperate need for balance on Beacon Hill. We need more taxpayer advocates like Jim Lyons, Shaunna O’Connell and others to balance out the activists for every special interest group that comes down the pike. These community organizers and the legislators who serve them are actually more interested in growing government, and thus their own power, under the guise of compassion.
So when they come for more of your money – and they will – by claiming the state is broke and they are forced to raise the payroll tax, gas tax, transportation tax, candy tax, beverage tax, bottle tax or various and sundry “fees,” remind them that you are Taxed Enough Already. I will certainly do so, and you can bet I will not be using my inside voice.