If You Were Massachusetts
Governor Deval Patrick has announced his latest round of tax increases because, as he repeats ad infinitum, we're facing a $1 billion deficit he "inherited" from his predecessor." We're broke, the Cadillac of Governors says, because the people and businesses of Massachusetts just aren't ponying up our fair share.
We're losing money! We're going broke! We need new taxes! H-e-e-l-l-p-p!
Actually, the people and businesses of Massachusetts have given the commonwealth more money year after year, every year, for just about forever. Since 2002, Massachusetts' government has gotten an average yearly raise of 6.2%. At the same time, the number of citizens (i.e. "customers) has actually fallen. More money, but fewer people using state services.
In the private sector, that's called "good news." In Massachusetts, we're told it's a disaster.
The problem with numbers like this is that it's hard for the average person to understand what they mean. So try this: Imagine YOU are Massachusetts.
Let's say that you were earning $60,000 a year in 2002--slightly above the average household income for the commonwealth. If you were the state of Massachusetts with your annual 6.2% raises, your paychecks would have looked like this:
2003: $63, 720
How could this possibly be a fiscal crisis? Only if you're spending the money even faster than it's coming in. Only if you have ridiculous pensions for politicians, or are giving away money to illegal immigrants.
Anyone who tells you Massachusetts needs more money is simply not telling the truth. We just need less spending. But from the $58,000 DPW worker who doesn't work; to the $200,000 cop earning overtime to watch construction workers filling in holes; to the $114,000 pension for the part-time city pol; to the $72,000 personal secretary for the governor's wife--all we are doing is spend, spend, spend.
Which is why the Cadillac of Governors must tax, tax and tax.