, Newburyport, MA

July 24, 2013

Patrick's legacy building a disservice

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

In the last stages of his tenure, Gov. Deval Patrick is largely motivated to establishing his legacy. And sadly his legacy aspirations are predicated on social engineering rather than sensible accommodations for the hard-working taxpayers of Massachusetts.

The latest example is his assault against local aid. An astute negotiator and deal-maker, the governor has instilled a brutish tactic in vetoing $417 from the transportation spending and local aid components in the state’s $34 billion spending plan, in order to force a negotiated decision on a separate transportation financing bill. Though likely he understands that a legitimate legacy could not pass muster if the permanent residual effect results in cities’ and towns’ escalating fees and taxes to make up for structural budget shortages, the brinkmanship displayed is very discerning.

To his credit components of his legacy are enlightening. In particular, his consistent focus on bolstering education funding, tuition hike freezes at state schools and new, focused energy and resources directed to early education are commendable. He recently stated, “This budget invests in many of our most important needs as a Commonwealth, especially education.” But, the underbelly of “important needs” is barely visible to most taxpayers and yet it threatens the very underpinnings of the quality of life here in Massachusetts.

Local aid is one of those underpinnings and holding it hostage to support measures such as the one forcibly ushered in by executive order last November requires public outcry and legislative intervention to reverse it. At this critical hour, taxpayers and those inclined to petition their state legislators should be reminded that the governor, by executive order, declared that undocumented aliens should pay the same tuition rates at state colleges and universities as legal Massachusetts residents if they have obtained work permits.

In this caustic environment of a testing of wills, my hope is that our local legislators, with the power of overriding the veto, will establish a new legacy.

Politicians with grandiose schemes of social engineering need not apply here anymore.

Yes, even here in Massachusetts!

Joe D’Amore